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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Tooned out

Don't worry it's not really racist says the race relations Commissioner...

NZ Herald:
The cartoons, by Al Nisbett, have been widely condemned on social networking sites as racist towards Maori and Pacific Islanders.
Dame Susan said at a press conference this afternoon that the cartoons did not breach the level considered to be racist under the Human Rights Act.

One of the drawings published in the Marlborough Express appeared to show a group of brown-skinned adults in school uniforms taking advantage of the breakfast in schools programme to save money for cigarettes, alcohol and pokies.
The other cartoon, printed in The Press showed a Maori or Polynesian family discussing how great the free breakfast programme would be to help them ease their poverty, while sitting in front of lottery tickets, cigarettes and empty beer cans.
But she said it did not reach the high threshold considered to be racist in the Human Rights Act because they did not incite racial disharmony.
"We have the right to freedom of expression and we have the right to freedom of speech and people can say what they like and print what they like, even if we find it really offensive."
A lot of people agreed with the cartoons, Dame Susan said.
"I personally and those at the Commission don't [agree with the cartoons]. We do find it offensive, we find it quite insulting."

I heard Devoy on Radio Live this morning being given a relaxing massage by Sean Plunket - who then concluded she had gone all PC whimpy liberal. Talk-hate radio at its finest. Devoy also couched her response in terms of understanding: 'I can understand where you[racists] are coming from'. That's the problem right there. The "we" is the commission  staff of liberal pointy-heads the conservatives so despise, but what about the "I" of her personal beliefs? There is no way she can have credibility with her track record and with what she has said today.  

From my twitter posts today:

Editor of Malb Exp on Radio Live now: 'will rely on community', ie. approx. 95% white pop of elderly, provincial Malborough. Next...Devoy :/
av. white male cartoonist reaction if they were characatured in KKK robes, seig heiling each other, wanking their tiny dicks? MalbExp meme.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election: Foreshore and seabed test

Part of the reason Parekura Horomia was able to hang on to his seat after he backed the Labour leadership's shameful and unconstitutional foreshore and seabed confiscation in 2004 was that his Ngati Porou supporters trusted him to work around the legislation for them. That was done by way of a bill to recognise the tribe's rights over their East Cape stretch of the coast. The tribe have supported the NZ government - often against other tribes - and could expect more than other Iwi. The government could be expected to give that support because the Iwi's territory is isolated, the Tangata Whenua are in the majority of the population, and the area is of limited economic value - in other words they do not pose a threat to the Crown. Fair for Ngati Porou, but unfair to every other tribe not in that advantageous geo-political circumstance.

In the spending frenzy that marked the last days of the fifth Labour government the Crown signed off on a settlement with them and also for the introduction of a bill: Ngā Rohe Moana o Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Porou Bill. The Bill is yet to be read a first time.

In between then and now the National government passed the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 with the Maori Party having the bill hijacked off them and basically letting the National Party and the Pakeha officials write the law they wanted it - which effectively just re-stated the Foreshore and Seabed Act, but this time the wording opens up the court to decide that Maori have no customary rights. This is incredibly dangerous and the Maori Party should never have acquiesced to this possibility. Today's announcement from Finlayson will be in some ways a part of Horomia's legacy as it is part of the Maori Party's legacy.

NZ government:
Public information sought for East Coast customary marine title enquiry 

The Office of Treaty Settlements is seeking information from the public on their use of parts of the common marine and coastal area (CMCA) on the East Coast, to assist with an enquiry into the existence of customary marine title under the Marine and Coastal Area Act, Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson said today.
The Office is collecting information from the recreational users, commercial operators and the general public, and public records of occupancy and use back to 1840. Te Runanganui O Ngāti Porou is also gathering information about its members’ traditional use of the coastal and marine area.
The Marine and Coastal Area Act sets out a process for determining customary marine title. Customary marine title recognises rights and interests which have existed since 1840 in parts of the marine and coastal area, and does not affect public access, fishing or navigation.
It is a factual enquiry, and is not a negotiation between the Crown and iwi.
The Minister has appointed former High Court Judge, Dame Justice Judith Potter, as an Independent Assessor. The Independent Assessor will provide a non-binding, independent, expert view as to whether the Crown may be satisfied the applicant group meets the requirements in the Act based on the evidence provided to her.
Under the Act, the Minister makes a determination on whether customary marine title or protected customary rights exist in an application area based on whether the evidence demonstrates an applicant group meets the tests laid out in the Act.
The Office of Treaty Settlements would like to hear from members of the public who use any parts of the common marine and coastal area along the East Coast from Potikirua (West of Lottin Point) to the Pouawa Stream, out to three nautical miles offshore.

There will be up to two open days in Gisborne to discuss the enquiry:
Monday 10 June, 12-7pm at the Emerald Hotel; and
Monday 24 June (subject to demand), 12-7pm at the Emerald Hotel.

The problem with the Marine and Confiscation Area Act is that it sets arbitrarily created criteria for customary rights (and lets open the possibility there aren't any at all) and lets in any Tom, Dick, or Harry to cut across those rights and supposedly allows them to extinguish the pre-existing customary rights just on the mere fact they may have also used the same area. This is the white man's law in action. This is why Judge Potter's role is so important and will set a precedent.

With the Iwi having the strongest "claim" under the Act going first it provides the best platform for having Maori rights recognised, but at what thresholds? The process may be judicial in this aspect, however the process is defined by the legislation, so whatever the outcome it may not be satisfactory. As you can see by the public hearings this falls right in the heat of the by-election campaign, so it inevitably will become an issue.

Friday, May 24, 2013


The policewoman Inspector on RNZ this morning has that police officer's unshakeable confidence in their calling and their organisation. This is despite her just having gone through the many inadequacies of the organisation. She had the optimism of a fanatic - and the words to describe her love - police culture. 'Policing is a privilege', she said. 'You take an oath and you do the right thing', she intoned - as she must have a hundred times at police college no doubt. The police do believe they are privileged, they believe they are always right no matter what motive they act on or what harm they cause, and that is precisely the root of all misconduct and failures in the NZ Police.

This pervasive police thinking - or assumption in the context of their arrrogance - that they are effectively beyond or above the law because they are the police and carry some assumed unquestionable trust allowing them to bend it on occasion, has only been reinforced by the law-makers response to each illegality and failure of the NZ Police. The government just passes another bill through parliament to make their unlawful breaches lawful and everything carries on as if they were right all along. To a policeman this is the same sort of sweeping under the mat performed for them by school authorities whenever they fucked up and jeopardised the First XV. The establishment exonerated and emboldened their uniformed thuggery at school and they do so when they migrate to the police force as the over-seer class in the colony. The recent eulogising by the top brass of rogue detectives who did more planting in their career than Eion Scarrow is yet more evidence that dodgy practices are condoned and excused at the highest levels. That is the vaunted police culture for you. Hypocritical and out out of control. There is just a Commissioner and the Ministers with the NZ Police set up remember, there is no board, there is no effective independent oversight of this organistation. The PM appoints the Commissioner and deputies, so it is a closed loop. If that is not the makings - if not the definition - of a police state then what is?

The list of validating legislation to stop prosecutions and judicial actions against police in NZ is a long one. The looting, arson, rapes and massacres ol past police assaults and invasions, when the war they waged against Maori was more overt, is on a continuum with yesterday's whitewash report from the mis-named Independent Police Conduct Authority on the Urewera 'Operation 8' show trial.

Once agiain the NZ government's tactics when dealing with Maori at least are predictable: deny illegality and claim everything is done in good faith, delay the reports to take the heat out and in the meantime pass laws to make the illegality go away. And they will still claim no fault and offer half an apology because the geriatric ciphers like Neazor at the GCSB and Carruthers at the IPCA see there roles as supporting the agencies on behalf of the government, not scrutinising the agencies on behalf of the public. Yes, there was criticism in the IPCA report, but where is the disbelief that the photographing of the villagers in and out of Ruatoki and Taneatua was supposedly spontaneous. Where is the recommendations that heads roll? There are none, and none forthcoming from the police themselves either, naturally. So, things just went wrong and... No-one is to blame. The reason they didn't tell the local Maori cops or any Maori in any position was because the white establishment does not trust any Maori. That won't change through any revision of written protocols.

And the cops, fresh from a dose of Brute and an earful of ZB to wash off the media liberals, can dish themselves out some medals for their bravery... And the NZ Herald can write editorials like masked police terrorising villages and pointing guns at children and illegal detentions along with the illegal spying that all amounted to a hysterical, anti-climactical Crown show trial in Auckland like every other Crown invasion in the East Coast has done, and Granny Herald thinks... its now just some historical footnote. That it is somehow a lesson already learned. Nothing more than apologists.

How Kruger and the Tuhoe negotiators could do a deal with the Crown whilst the people with any balls in their community were locked up for the spurious crime of misusing guns is a mystery. They were locked up because they represent self-determination (and a capacity to defend themselves) of Maori and in particular Tuhoe. How could those Tuhoe negotiators put in the details of Rua Kenena's arrest and the killings and invasion by police and subsequent show trial in Auckland and yet they leave out the 2007 police invasion, arrests and subsequent show trial in Auckland? Everyone seems to be lauding Kruger for the deal, but on the ground elements of Tuhoe, and their neighbours, are deeply unhappy about the settlement terms.

The NZ Police may have lost their right - or privilege - to police the Urewera by there misdeeds in 2007, but they never had that right - or privilege - to begin with. The NZ Police came as invaders and occupiers, sent by the government in Wellington in 1865. Parliament passed the Outlying Police Districts Act to do it in the Eastern BoP. The armed constabulary remained, paid by the government until 1882 as subsidised colonisation on the confiscated land. They were established as an occupation force in those areas. The NZ Police exhibit a colonial mentality and are not capable of serving those communities. There never was any trust. How could there be between oppressor and oppressed?

The communities would be better off with their own ability to set priorities and their relationship with the NZ Police. Policing needs local accountability too, not just setting up a committee in Wellington and pretending we should all move along because there is nothing to see here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

BREAKING: Nikora to stand for Mana in by-election

The candidate nominations are firming up for the Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election ahead of the May 30 - June 5th candidacy period.  The announcement that the Maori Party will run their prison officer candidate again will surprise few, but the news the Greens are standing is - and it will come as a blow to the Mana movement who would have counted on the majority of Green voters to back them. This makes it very difficult for Mana whose candidate came third at the general election.
 RNZ reporting:
Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says the party has attracted a great deal of support from Maori over the years and it wants to give voters in Ikaroa-Rawhiti a real choice.
She says a candidate selection meeting will be held on Friday.
The Maori Party has selected Na Raihania as its candidate, and the Mana Party will announce its candidate on Wednesday.
Labour will make its decision on Sunday between four people bidding for the candidacy. They are Hayden Hape, Henare O'Keefe, Meka Whaitiri and Shane Taurima.
The by-election will be held on 29 June.

This morning on twitter:
Mihingarangi Forbes@Mihi_Forbes2h
Mana Party candidate for is Te Hamua Nikora tonight

This is unofficial as the date is set for tomorrow. Nikora is best known for his Maori TV work.
Not sure how the jolly, cheesy TV schtick will translate on the campaign trail though. He will be well-known to the constituency via television, but this won't count for much if Labour pick the slick TVNZ presenter, Shane Taurima who will be a strong contender, ticking many boxes.

Local customs

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy was doing his best John Key "I'm-relaxed-about-that" routine this morning on RNZ. NZ meat has been held up at the Chinese border and Guy reckons one issue is the change of name of the NZ authority and something else, but he hopes by the end of the week it will be OK. He says it happens everywhere apparently.  Does anyone really believe this?

Would the NZ customs have held up an important class of Chinese imported product on the basis of a name change to the Chinese ministry and... something else? No way - that would not happen. The NZ authorities would not do this and nor would the Chinese authorities just accept what has happened the way the NZ politicians and officials have.

RNZ reporting:
Chinese officials have been refusing to clear the meat being held at the border because of confusion over a name change on accompanying documentation.
Export certificates for companies to send meat to China were changed in March to recognise that the former Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) is now known as the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
Mr Guy told Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon programme some chilled meat is already being taken off the wharf, and frozen product is likely to be moved in the next two days.

Guy is clueless. Something is seriously wrong with this relationship. The Chinese customs service lists visits between officials, but this does not seem substantial.

In November last year I posted on this when the product in question being impaired was infant formula:

Chinese front companies using NZ, the melamine scandal... it comes down to dodgy Chinese pratices - not dodgy NZ practices.

I wouldn't have posted on this formula milk issue if it weren't for reports I've received that our fish products are getting a hard time going through the Hong Kong border into China and that as a result of this it has to be re-routed through Shanghai at great expense. The reasons given why our exports aren't getting through in Hong Kong (but are getting through via Shanghai) are typically vague.

The Chinese are not proving to be particularly reliable partners are they? What a surprise that would be - to no-one.
NZ customs have not acted in the aggressive and hostile way our Chinese counterparts have - and our state-controlled media hasn't organised a campaign to discredit Chinese products the way they seem to have done in this instance either.

Are these incidents and impairments in China part of Chinese policy or not? Is the FTA going to turn into a one-way street, with our direction blocked with Chinese red tape?

 ... seriously wrong.

NZ Herald reporting today:
The New Zealand Defence Force and Ports of Auckland confirmed yesterday that the Yuan Wang 6 arrived on Sunday and was a space-tracking vessel controlled by the Chinese navy.This detail was later denied by its shipping agency Cosco and omitted in statements by both the Chinese Consulate General and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Lieutenant Commander Vicki Rendall of the Royal New Zealand Navy confirmed yesterday morning that "yes, it is a Chinese navy ship".
Ports of Auckland senior communications advisor Dee Radhakrishnan echoed this shortly after.
"The Chinese ship at Queens Wharf West is the Yuan Wang 6 - Chinese space-tracking ship, operated by the Chinese navy."
The Chinese Consulate General was guarded when asked about the ship."We have contacted the official on the ship in charge of media affairs and we were told that they will not accept any media interviews during their stay."
But when pushed further the Vice-Consul, Zhang Fangfang, released the following statement.
"Thanks for your attention for the Chinese space-tracking ship Yuan Wang 6. Yuan Wang 6 arrived in Auckland on May 19 after successful completion of a space-tracking assignment, to replenish supplies and allow the crew a refreshing rest."
A spokesman for Mfat also overlooked the navy detail.
"The Yuan Wang 6, currently in NZ waters, is a Chinese vessel used for satellite tracking. The visit of the Yuan Wang 6 follows similar visits in the past by space-tracking vessels, most recently in 2011."
The ship carries 300 crew members and is due to stay for a week.

The NZ government is whoring the country off to the Americans by day (witness the high-level Hollywood love-in going on in the US now) and renting it out by night to the new pimps on the block, the Chinese - including to their military - all in aid of a so-called"free" trade agreement where they are playing games and refusing to allow our main food product categories (like seafood and meat) through their border. Where is the NZ top brass to deal with this issue?

How the relationship works out in the cold hard light of the real world is a lot different than how it looked on paper to the MFAT flunkies in Wellington and the dollar-eyed farmers.  The concern is not so much the actual affect that these stoppages and hassles have had in themselves - they are probably very small in relation to overall trade across the board - but what they signal for the how the relationship develops and just how much shit NZ is willing to put up with. The Chinese are pushing and NZ is not pushing back. This acquiescenceis not the foundation of an equal partnership.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Budget 2013

The government's budget is being presented in the House by Bill English. His prophesised sacred surplus by 2014/15 is being bashed into shape. Updates are coming through:

LATEST: Finance Minister Bill English's fifth Budget carries a kick with sweeping reforms targeting soaring house prices. [...]
English has this afternoon unveiled the Budget which promised the Government would make a $75 million surplus in 2014/15.
He named Meridian Energy as the next state-owned company to be sold.
Meanwhile, reducing the housing bubble and curbing rising poverty were key focuses of the Budget.
New legislation will be introduced to tackle housing affordability by giving central government more control over the consenting process.
The bill was expected to be rushed into Parliament this week and have a shortened select committee hearing.
Government also agreed to a memorandum of understanding which allows the Reserve Bank Governor to put pressure on banks to crack down on excessive lending in the housing market.
A number of initiatives to help low-income families were announced including extending income-related rents to non-government housing and consideration of zero or no-interest loans.
A reduction in ACC levies was the only sweetener offered for middle New Zealand.

 Highlights so far: Nick Smith was apoplectic at Labour over the ACC levies and blamed them when he hiked them up. Now they are coming down shouldn't we blame him for having over-reacted in the same way he said that Labour had under-reacted?

The use of urgency to ram through bills is going to apply to housing:
"This legislation is an immediate and short-term response to housing pressures in areas facing severe housing affordability problems," Smith said, adding that the first area should be designated in Auckland later this year. Once passed, the legislation would see a streamlined consenting process in special housing areas agreed between councils and Government.
While it would prefer "to partner with councils", Smith made it clear that where agreement cannot be reached, the Government could take over.
"If an accord cannot be reached in an area of severe housing unaffordability, the Government can intervene by establishing special housing areas and issuing consents for developments."
The new legislation was designed to "free up land and speed up provision of housing in areas where housing is least affordable" English told reporters today.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MOBIE) has been given $7.2 million over four years to fund the initiative.
Smith said the emergency measure would allow time for broader changes to the Resource Management Act to take effect.

Immigration demand is the cause of the housing shortage so stemming that would be a better answer than chucking out the resource consent process when they think it is inconvenient. The property developers will be celebrating.  $7.2m needed by Wellington to make houses get built in Auckland? Sounds like the bureacracy is clipping the ticket. And with private developers having the red tape cut for them it wouldn't be a National budget if there wasn't also red tape being wrapped around the social sector:
The Government is also trialling a housing "warrant of fitness" (WOF), although it will initially apply only to Housing New Zealand properties and later social housing providers, with no commitment to applying it to rental accommodation generally.

The positive aspect in the housing announcement - possibly the only one:
Other changes announced today include the introduction of the Social Housing Reform Bill which will extend income-related rents to community house providers such as the Salvation Army.
This is consistent - so that's good to put these social housing tenants on the same wicket as state houses. Good for the tenants anyway. However the huge gap between a beneficiary in a state house paying only a quarter of their income in rent and the typical beneficiary in the big cities as private rental tenants paying half or more of their income in rent is severely unequal. Beneficiaries certainly are not being treated fairly in this situation - the state house ones are the lucky few, everyone else is up shit creek sans paddle.  Labour didn't fix it, the Nats sure won't. The Nats version of fairness is to lower the plane, though, not raise it. They want to review all state house tenancies, predicting there will be 3000 evictions! Unlucky bastards. Reality land and is going to be a hell of a lot tougher than La-la land. Also sounding positive, if vague, on the housing front:
* A memorandum of understanding with Reserve Bank for measures to curb accelerating house prices and avoid fuelling boom-bust cycles in wider economy.
Send a memo. Solve house price inflation and the boom-bust economic cycle by sending a memo? If it is this easy you wonder why some other government at an earlier point hadn't sent off a memo to the Reserve Bank.

And this struck me as slightly ironic:
Government to use bulk purchasing power to buy cheaper whiteware for beneficiaries.
Isn't this another rung on the ladder of dependency? Are they going to offer cheap cars too on the same rationale? This is not what I would expect from the anti-nanny Nats. Here the Nats were in hysterics claiming the Labour-Green policy of a government buyer of electricity on the consumers' behalf was communism, and now: a government buyer of electrical appliances. Confusing. Hopefully a good deal for everyone, but confusing coming from National. Being the Nats, I wonder if this is really just a bit of corporate welfare for one of their mates (retailers or manufacturers).

The budget is just too much to digest in one post. More later.

UPDATE 3:50PM: Where is that money from the sale of public assets going again? It's not to pay off debt. The government can't pay off debt as to their mind that independence from money-lenders may destroy capitalism.  No, the funds from selling off the electricity companies goes to private projects to enrich the  already wealthy establishment classes... like this:

Budget 2013 has confirmed $80 million in funding for regional irrigation projects, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says.
The $80 million funding was announced in January and comes from the Government’s Future Investment Fund, using proceeds from the share offer programme. In total, the Government has signalled plans to invest up to $400 million in regional irrigation schemes to encourage third-party capital investment.
A new Crown company will be established on 1 July to act as a bridging investor for irrigation projects. This will involve short-term, minority investments to help kick-start these regional projects.

Crony capitalism is another term for it.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

MMP status quo

The MMP review seems to have been for nought.

Judith Collins:
Justice Minister Judith Collins says the fact that political parties cannot agree makes it impossible to make any changes to our MMP voting system.
“Opposition parties have said the Government is deliberately ignoring the recommendations of the Electoral Commission. This is simply not true – all parties have their own agendas and have selected which recommendations they will support, and which they won’t.
“All parties in Parliament are responsible to the public on the Electoral Commission’s review of MMP.
“I have consulted with all those parties, and there is absolutely no consensus, or even a majority, across Parliament.

Consensus hasn't always been the hallmark of electoral legislation now or in the past so there is a more credible answer.  Because National's support parties, Act and United Future, game the coat-tailing rule to their (and National's) advantage the Nats have no incentive to abolish that provision or alter the threshold limit that many people regard as prohibitively high. It is a cop-out and all of those submissions and the entire exercise of review might as well have been shitcanned to start with.

 NZ Herald: John Armstrong fumes:
That rationale is just a little too convenient, however. When it comes to consensus, National is the one which refused to budge in its opposition to arguably the commission's most important and most controversial finding - that the anomalous, outdated one-seat threshold under which minor party list candidates can coat-tail into Parliament on the back of a MP winning an electorate seat should be abolished.[...]Such a stance is totally indefensible. But it is also completely understandable.

The system as it is has seen the Nats in government after three of the last six MMP elections, so we shouldn't be surprised they have concluded they may only have something to lose by tinkering. That means we are stuck with a 5% threshold and the coat-tailing. While this keeps the life-raft afloat for Act and United Future on the right, it also keeps the Mana waka above the waterline too, so this is a calculated risk by the Nats.

What a pity. The threshold is the cause of the unfairness and wasted votes. If there was only one aspect that should have been dealt with it's the threshold.

Monday, May 13, 2013


The media - and bloggers - put a lot of time and effort over the last week or so into destroying Aaron Gilmore's political career, so it was somewhat amusing to find that the denoument of the hate campaign - the resignation - was so utterly anti-climactical. It was as anti-climactical as his political contribution was underwhelming. But the one left with egg on their face, or maybe wine on their tie is a better metaphor, is the National Party - not haughty Gilmore.
NZ Herald:
Disgraced National Party list MP Aaron Gilmore has moved to spare the Government further embarrassment during a critical week by announcing his resignation last night.
Two weeks after reports emerged of him abusing and threatening a waiter at a Hanmer Springs hotel during a boozy night out, Mr Gilmore said he would step down.
Mr Gilmore said that staying on in Parliament would "only serve to cause my loved ones more upset, and cause me undeserved further stress".

"Undeserved" - that really says it all. As an audition for MP least likely to be missed from parliament, Gilmore has aced this one.

That the Nats couldn't get their shit together and deal with the inevitable resignation a week ago demonstrates poor organisation. To have the PM in the House saying he hasn't talked with Gilmore - when he is sitting up the back - is such a weak look. Key's claims he couldn't do anything as leader was a particularly pathetic admission he has no power over his own caucus. Key's "I'm comfortable" line might work for some things, but internal management of the government's numbers isn't just the whip's job it is ultimately the leader's - especially when list MPs are involved (where the leader would be expected to have some swing over these appointments - as Helen Clark clearly had over Labour's list).

This could have ended with significantly less ignominy for all concerned had things been dealt with earlier as competent party bosses would have. I can't help but think the sideways moves and re-jigs in the PM's office recently are an attempt to remedy this drift and disorder behind the scenes. They have a big caucus that is difficult to control at the edges - as Bolger had after the 1990 election - but unlike that ministry this one has a very thin majority and cannot tolerate black sheep wandering off.

As for Gilmore's replacement off the list, Claudette Hauiti, she has not impressed despite the CV. Going from her appearances on Tumeke blogger emeritus, Mr Bradbury's 'Citizen A' TV panel show she is a second-rate flunky whose No. 63 placing was for a good reason. If anyone has the time to go through the footage perhaps a montage of all the appalled and exasperated facial expressions and retorts from Chris Trotter as he respondes to the dumb-arse things Hauiti says would be a laugh.

NZ Herald:
Former Maori broadcaster Claudette Hauiti, next in line to take over from Aaron Gilmore, is in a civil union and raising a child with her partner.
She has publicly admitted she "ticks all the boxes" on National's representation scale.
The party's general manager, Greg Hamilton, confirmed last night Ms Hauiti would be asked by the Electoral Commission to enter Parliament.
"She's the next on our list ... she'll need to make a decision on whether she would want to do that."
Ms Hauiti, who is 63rd on the party's list of 75, has a 5-year-old daughter, Manawa, with her partner, Nadine Hauiti-Mau.
The couple plan to marry next year.
A former producer, Ms Hauiti founded TV and film production company Front of the Box Productions in 1993 and has worked mainly in Maori and Pasifika media.

You know you are getting to the bottom of the National list when you get to lesbian Maori.

As for Gilmore, Stuff: reports he's preparing a form of political self-immolation:
Disgraced MP Aaron Gilmore has been threatening 'utu' on those who effected his downfall ahead of his valedictory speech in Parliament tomorrow.
After resigning from Parliament last night, Gilmore is understood to have sent at least four people text messages advising them to learn the meaning of ''utu''.
Gilmore, the National party's lowest-ranked list MP, was privately said to be seething last night, and party members are anxious about what he might say in a valedictory speech planned for tomorrow.
Gilmore was due to talk to party president Peter Goodfellow by phone yesterday afternoon, and Goodfellow wanted a meeting in Wellington today.
However, The Press understands the party drafted in fixer and political consultant Simon Lusk to persuade Gilmore to go.

A man at the bottom of the barrel wanting to buy a scrap with someone already in the mud:
This could be fun. Go hard.

UPDATE 3:00pm

Saturday, May 11, 2013

TV Review: Harry

My TV review for The Daily Blog is posted up over there. A positive one, for once.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Spy bills

I'm watching Phil Goff in parliament tearing shreds off the National government's spying legislation they are rushing through. The Nats have nothing to say. The latest knee-jerk reaction to the government finding out their spying was unlawful is to change the laws to make it all legal. The NZ Police and the government's 'intelligence community' - as laughable as that may sound - are using the Nat's conservative and authoritarian instincts to pass laws designed for themselves to do as they please without consequence.

These bills validate intrusive and prejudicial measures they have been employing already or contemplating all along. indeed the local security establishment have been considerably emboldened by the Dotcom overkill, instead of responding with any meaningful self-examination that should have been warranted following such a humiliating series of botches. And as these laws for the assistance of and/or at the insistence of the US are being rammed through parliament in Wellington I see the Attorneys-General of the white Anglosphere are gathered in Auckland today by either Masonic manifestation or cosmic coincidence. NZ is everyone's little bitch. Everyone knows it but the little bitch. NZ is a made-up country sitting on stolen land run on borrowed people, borrowed money and borrowed time. The apparatus of monitoring and suppressing dissent to maintain this order needs upgrading to industrial standards.

Two parallel bills are going through a truncated process: a telecommunications interception bill that Goff has outlined is fascist with wide and undefined powers of the GCSB and penalties for telcos who wont co-operate. The telcos were not consulted. The other bill, the GCSB and Related Legislation Amendment Bill, has all sorts of patches to justify the poor practices of the past. [that bill was passed 59-61 earlier.] It will be open-slather domestic spying on pretty much anyone and probably everyone. This is nasty, but the mainstream media have ignored it or backed it in editorials.

Sadly and shamefully NZ First and the Maori Party have just voted for it. [That's what I thought I heard, haven't checked the record. They did not vote for the earlier bill according to the NZ Herald]

Dear fucktard, I'm sorry you don't recognise my greatness...

Why is this obnoxious Tory buffoon still an MP? How desperately do the Nats think they need this dolt? Gilmore is a personification of all the worst stereotypes of the Young Nat - with no redeeming features - and as such he must be harming the perception of the party.

NZ Herald:
The key witness to National MP Aaron Gilmore's actions in a Hanmer hotel says he is certain about his account of the incident despite the MP rejecting nearly all of the allegations about his behaviour.
Mr Gilmore offered a heartfelt apology for his dispute with hotel staff yesterday while challenging most of the details published about it.
The 59th-placed list MP was at first contrite, then defensive in his first public appearance since he was accused of abusing a waiter who had refused to sell him a bottle of wine after a dinner with his partner and friends last week.
He admitted to being rude and arrogant and accepted he may have been a bully: "If there was a dickhead that night it was me."

People are starting to think that 59 is his IQ rather than his list placing - despite the PM's typically nonchalant assurance that deep down (and it must be in the Earth's mantle somewhere) he's very bright. He's very something, but it ain't bright.

His performance at his press conference yesterday veered off contrition once the necessary self-pitying public blubbing was done. He stuck to his "I was rude and arrogant" line rigidly. Problem is in answering the media he displayed all the rudeness and arrogance he just admitted was disgraceful. If it wasn't a collosal fatal train wreck it was at least a nasty derailment with someone in intensive care.

He avoided some of the crucial questions at the press conference, has the witness still at odds over the facts (see below), and because the PM was mentioned, or invoked, in the drunken exchange Key's wrath would be warranted should Gilmore be caught out. After hearing Gilmore's fraying explanation yesterday that is a possibility.

ZB reporting this txt conversation between Gilmore and Riches:
Andrew Riches: What's all this group stuff? You directly threatened to have the guy Fired and said the prime ministers office would be contacting his employer the next day. The girls were gone by that stage and I was just standing there. Stop trying to imply we did something.
Aaron Gilmore: FFS the batman claims the group were racist and that I was escorted from the hotel.
AR: What's the batman?
AG: Barman
AR: What? That's ridiculous, we were lovely to him. I also never recall you calling anyone a dickhead
AR: I didn't write that note because I thought we were boisterous, I wrote it because you told the guy he was being fired, said the pm would be involved and I didn't want the poor guy to worry about his job
AG: I know. They are trying to make it seem bigger than that. Its bullshit. ive taken the blame and apologised. Just say nothing.
AR: You didn't take the blame. You blamed the rest of your group when the girls weren't even in the same room
AG: I did the fucktard said I was not the only one drink and i was carried out of the bar. I said that I was rude but he claims others were too. It's not worth the argument.
AR: Well the herald just called ad informed me they have heard you mentioned the prime ministers office ad threatened to get them involved

If the barman makes a statement backing up Riches version then it could be over for Gilmore. Add the txt messages above and the case looks open and shut.

Gilmore implies he was somehow sober when all this occured - that is patently false and contradictory to his other statements. They are the sorts of things people say when they were too drunk to really remember the details, but not drunk enough to have forgotten the whole night. They are the sorts of things said to preserve one's job and keep in good with the boss.

Well the boss is piss weak if he's willing to put up with this shit from such a boorish non-entity. Key implied that if Gilmore had brought the office of PM into it then he would be out. How tenable is that position now? A stronger leader than Key would have got the whips to have a word - or done it personally: "Look, you are an embarrassment and a dead duck and you won't get on the list next time and you know it. So, here's the deal: resign as an MP now (for the official reason of fibbing to the PM) and be at least credited with doing 'the right and honourable' thing. Wait 6 months and we'll give you a patronage position somewhere we need stacking like the Human Rights Commission." That would have been smart management by National.

But that resignation isn't happening because Gilmore is a smarmy prick standing to pick up $200k+ in MP's salary between now and the next election, and John Key and the Nats are more nervous about what an alienated loose canon would do to their tight majority. The net cost is they must wear the sleaze.

And no sooner had I written that...

NZ Herald:
Prime Minister John Key has sent a clear message to MP Aaron Gilmore to resign, referring the case to the party president.
Mr Key also said he found it difficult to reconcile the version of events Mr Gilmore had given him about a night at the Heritage Hotel in Hanmer Springs with text messages from Mr Gilmore which had subsequently been released.
A referral to the president is the first step of expelling an MP from caucus - but Mr Key said he did not expect to move to expel him because it was a long process and it might be quicker to wait until the next election.
However, he made it clear he wanted Mr Gilmore to resign, saying he could not force a list MP to quit Parliament and had not asked Mr Gilmore to resign directly: "But given the pressure he's been under and the questions he has been unable to answer to the media, I would have thought it was self-explanatory for him to come forward if that's what he wants to do."
He said text messages that had since been provided to his office were hard to reconcile with the version of events Mr Gilmore had provided him with. "I find it very difficult to reconcile, and I find it very difficult to get a straight answer quite frankly."

Key and his advisers have come to their senses... slowly. Still messy though - doing it through the media instead of talking directly to one another to sort this out. This is poor political management, but they can't let it drift while Gilmore digs a deeper hole with the media providing the equipment. Looks like Key and the party bosses now have enough to hang him.

Mr Gilmore said this morning he had sent his own version of the text exchange to Mr Key's office. However Mr Key said "I find [the texts] difficult to reconcile with the version of events Mr Gilmore gave my office. I said at the time, if I found it difficult to reconcile those events I'd treat it as an serious matter."
He said he could not pre-judge what the party would do, but he expected them to take it into account in the list ranking.
"No party leader can force a list member out of Parliament. Even if we were to try and sack him out of caucus, that is a long drawn-out and quite painful and expensive process. But he is 59th out of 59, he has no portfolio responsibilities, he's a list member of Parliament and I have expressed my real concerns to the President."

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Referendum close

The citizen's-initiated referendum to oppose the National government's asset privatisation policy hasn't quite made it across the petition threshold. This will be disappointing to the organisers - to have to scramble around for the next two months to get the remaining signatures. However much the Mighty River Power sell-off is a done deal, there will be more on the block and this will keep the electorate focused on the issue. As an attempt to try to convert widespread popular opposition into something tangible a referendum is the best method.

 NZ Herald:
Parliament's Clerk of the House Mary Harris this afternoon said she had certified that the petition had lapsed because she could not be sure minimum number of signatures required by law had been met.
The petition needed the signatures of 10 per cent of voters to succeed which the Electoral Commission said worked out to 308,753.
But Ms Harris said that following a counting and sampling and checking process she found the petition was short by about 16,500 valid signatures.
The organisers of the petition presented it to Parliament in March claiming they had 393,000 signatures.
But Ms Harris this afternoon said some of the signatories could not be found on the electoral roll, "either because they were not enrolled or because the identifying information they supplied was insufficient or illegible".
"Some duplicate signatures were also identified."
Ms Harris said legislation allowed the organisers a further two months to collect additional signatures. Grey Power national president and Keep Our Assets coalition spokesman Roy Reid said the coalition was committed to finishing the job.

The problem I have with the referendum isn't the organisation, it is not that it isn't binding, or that it may come too late to save the first traunche of state companies, but the wording of the referendum question itself:
Do you support the Government selling up to 49% of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genisis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand?

Two major issues: Firstly, the question should be posed as a positive, rather than asking your supporters to cast a no vote. Secondly, the question is too complicated with percentages and names of companies. The question is a dog's breakfast, it really is. Whoever designed the question must have been a Tory. Asking people if they want to retain full public ownership of state assets would have been a better way to approach it.

Undermining Waihi

NZ Herald:
Consent has been granted for an underground gold mine under a residential part of Waihi, Radio New Zealand reported.
Mining company Newmont Waihi Gold has been granted consent for the Correnso Underground Mine, New Zealand's first mine directly below a residential area.
Conditions include restrictions on the magnitude and number of blasts.
Green MP Catherine Delahunty said those affected by the mine in Waihi would be devastated by the decision.
"Already there have been effects from the Favona and Trio mines, but they weren't directly under people's houses. Now it's direct."
She acknowledged those who worked at the mine would be pleased with the decision, but said "the people affected by the mine will be devastated".
Ms Delahunty said Waihi was an economically vulnerable community, despite the millions of dollars of gold that have been mined from it.
When I heard this had been consented I was stunned. Mining under a residential area!? With all the problems of subsidence, pollution and nuisance in the past it still seems gold counts for more in any equation.

Waihi is a mining town - the huge Martha pit is visible from the main road - so I guess people's expectations are already low. If it wasn't for the look of the people and the English language signage it could be mistaken for somewhere in the Andes or Africa the way the miners cottages go all the way to the edge of the hole. If it was anywhere else the opposition would win, but mining in Waihi - like their toxic tailings - will be around for a very long time.

The map shows the proposed mine area is basically all the east of Waihi township. It goes under private and public property (my bolding below). How the hell does that work? The report says a lot of the housing under the project was built in the 1970s and 80s. You do have to wonder what sort of planning was operating back then to let residential development occur around ore deposits - which at that point would have been mined for a century. Or did they assume in their plan that mining would have come to an end by now?  The rule seems to be as long as they think there is gold in the ground humans will try to get it out - it doesn't matter how improbable and difficult the location.

The report:
Waihi Gold Company Ltd (trading as Newmont Waihi Gold (NWG)) is the owner and operator of
the Martha Mine, an open pit mining operation located more-or-less in the middle of Waihi township within 100m of the main street through the town. NWG also owns and operates the Favona Mine, an underground mine in the vicinity of the process plant several kilometres east of the Waihi township, and is currently developing the Trio Underground Mine which is located under Union Hill about halfway between the existing process plant and the Martha open pit.
This resource consent application seeks to provide for underground mining within a defined project area, termed the ‘Golden Link Project Area’ (refer Figure 1). The Golden Link Project Area incorporates the Correnso ore body.
A limited duration for the land use consent of 20 years is sought[...]
The Correnso Underground Mine is almost centred within Area L of the Golden Link Project Area and is predominantly below private property and public roads in the eastern part of Waihi
 Township (refer Figure 3). As far as possible, access drives including those from Favona and Trio as well as the vent drive to the SFA follow public roads. As noted previously, the orebody itself is
 located between 130m and 430m below ground surface, however the top of the mine is 157m
 from the surface based on current mine design and the majority of mining activity occurs at a depth of 270m – 350m below ground surface.

Is the Hauraki District Council going to get any royalties from the gold taken under Morgan Park, Banks St. Reserve and the town's streets etc?

Saturday, May 04, 2013

TV Review: Kharmic fruit of the Yewtree

My TV review for The Daily Blog is posted up over there.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

When thick meets rude

Pulling the "I'll have you fired! Don't you know who I am!?" routine doesn't work for backbench list MPs because outside of their tight booze-soaked bubble of flunkies, freebies and fulminations from leather chairs, in the real world it is the waiter that has more credibility and social standing. In NZ the waiter will also stand a greater chance of having the MP fired than the reverse.
 Simply obnoxious.

NZ Herald:
National Christchurch list MP Aaron Gilmore threatened use his influence with Prime Minister John Key's office to have a waiter at a Hanmer Springs hotel sacked after the man took issue with Mr Gilmore's "disgusting'' behaviour, it is claimed.
Mr Gilmore this morning issued two apologies for the "boisterous'' behaviour of his group of four at the Heritage Hanmer Springs on Saturday night.
Those apologies came after one of his dining companions, Christchurch lawyer Andrew Riches confirmed he'd left a note at the hotel the following morning apologising for Mr Gilmore's behaviour.
Mr Gilmore allegedly called the waiter a "dickhead'' when he refused him more wine and gave him his business card saying something like "Don't you know who I am? I'm an important politician'', The Press reported today.
It has also been suggested this morning that Mr Gilmore told the waiter he would tell the Prime Minister's office about the waiter's behaviour and have him sacked.

OK, these incidents happen occasionally and Tories acting like pricks - Jonathan Coleman's cigar run-in comes to mind - are to be expected from time to time; but it is the response from Gilmore that risks doing more damage. He's apologising... for the group, not for anything he did per se.

Aaron Gilmore's press release:
-- Aaron Gilmore
National Party MP

Media Statement2 May 2013MP Aaron Gilmore apologisesNational List MP Aaron Gilmore is this morning apologising to staff and patrons at the Heritage Hotel Hanmer Springs following a dinner he attended there on Saturday 27 April.“As a group of diners our behaviour was at times boisterous and I sincerely apologise for any offence this may have caused any staff and/or patrons,” Mr Gilmore said.“I intend to convey my apologies on behalf of the group to hotel staff, and understand that Members of Parliament should uphold, and be seen to uphold, the highest of standards at all times.“On this occasion I believe as a group, our behaviour fell short of this mark, and I should have recognised this at the time.“I also plan to pass my apologies on to the Prime Minister for failing to meet the standards I believe National MPs should uphold.”ENDS

 How courageous and dignified to have taken collective responsibility for his whole group. That's really manning up.

NZ Herald:
Mr Riches also said he was disappointed that Mr Gilmore had apologised for his group's behaviour when it was "absolutely'' his own behaviour that was in question."It's a shame because I thought this could just lie, he could apologise and that would be the end of it, but to sort of blame everyone else!''
He told the Herald that two of the four in Mr Gilmore's group had left by the time of the incident.
"It was because most of the group had already left, he was cut off service, he did the old, "do you know who I am, I'm an MP''.
"I thought it was just disgusting.''
Mr Gilmore initially denied the claims but this morning issued an apology via Twitter and a later press [...].

Nothing says a heart-felt sorry like a message on Twitter. National may have enjoyed getting to almost 48% at the general election, but they have can't be too over-joyed to wear the sorts of dolts coming in at the end of the list. It's a shallow barrel of talent the Nats are scraping. 

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

WWW 0.0

The first website has been resurrected at CERN. No usual things like a navigation bar, but what can you expect from the very first one? Please note there are no cat pics.
 NZ Herald:
The world's first web page will be dragged out of cyberspace and restored for Internet browsers as part of a project to celebrate 20 years of the Web.
The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) said it had begun recreating the website that launched that World Wide Web, as well as the hardware that made the groundbreaking technology possible.

There are reports... and then there are reports. The concepts, technology (and even the budget)outlining the creation of the internet in 1990 seems modest and clear - the results 23 years later are anything but. --


The current incompatibilities of the platforms and tools make it impossible to access existing information through a common interface, leading to waste of time, frustration and obsolete answers to simple data lookup. There is a potential large benefit from the integration of a variety of systems in a way which allows a user to follow links pointing from one piece of information to another one. This forming of a web of information nodes rather than a hierarchical tree or an ordered list is the basic concept behind HyperText.
A program which provides access to the hypertext world we call a browser. When starting a hypertext browser on your workstation, you will first be presented with a hypertext page which is personal to you : your personal notes, if you like. A hypertext page has pieces of text which refer to other texts. Such references are highlighted and can be selected with a mouse (on dumb terminals, they would appear in a numbered list and selection would be done by entering a number). When you select a reference, the browser presents you with the text which is referenced: you have made the browser follow a hypertext link :
The texts are linked together in a way that one can go from one concept to another to find the information one wants. The network of links is called a web .