Kiwiblog in Iran

September 22nd, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

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This is what you get if you try accessing Kiwiblog in Iran! I guess I’m blocked :-)

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He would not have got out under three strikes

September 22nd, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A gang member with an extensive history of violence has avoided a sentence of preventive detention for the second time.

Robert Winterburn, 47, has spent most of his adult life in jail, with convictions for manslaughter and attempted murder.

When he appeared before Justice Potter in 1997, she warned him that if he ever appeared in court again there would be no option but a sentence of preventive detention.

But when the Waipukurau Mongrel Mob member appeared for sentencing on his latest raft of offences before Justice Joe Williams in the High Court at Napier yesterday, he was instead jailed for 11 years and four months, with a non-parole period of five years and four months.

The offences included rape and threatening to kill, after he drove his girlfriend to Pukehou cemetery, near Waipawa, last year, telling her she was “never going home again”. He forced her to undress because he thought she was wearing a police bug, and raped her.

If three strikes had been in place previously he would have got a life sentence with no parole for the manslaughter in 1997.  As well as the manslaughter he also stabbed another prisoner five times. I doubt he will ever not be a danger to the community and he should have got preventive detention. Three strikes means that on your third serious violent or sexual offence you get the maximum sentence without parole.

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2014 election results vs 2011

September 22nd, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

2014elect

This tables shows the votes and seats for each party in 2014 and 2011. The first thing that strikes me is how little things changed. The biggest increase was 2.3% (NZ First) and biggest drop 2.8% (Labour).

In terms of change in vote, the significant parties that did best in order were:

  1. NZ First
  2. Conservatives
  3. National
  4. Mana
  5. Maori
  6. ACT
  7. United Future
  8. Greens
  9. Labour

In terms of change in seats, the parliamentary parties that did best in order were:

  1. NZ First +3
  2. National +2
  3. ACT, United Future, nc
  4. Greens, Maori and Mana -1
  5. Labour -2

But even a small change can make a difference, and it has.

 

 

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Who made these predictions?

September 22nd, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

One highly paid political strategist and pundit made the following predictions for the election. They were:

  1. ACT will lose Epsom
  2. Maori Party will lose all their electorate seats
  3. Maori Party will not gain enough party votes for a List MP
  4. Dunne may hold on, but it will be close
  5. NZ First will get 6.8%
  6. Greens will get 13% to 15%
  7. Conservatives will not make 5%
  8. National will get 43% to 45%
  9. The Government will be Labour-NZ First supported by the Greens
  10. The polls showing National winning by a landslide are wrong

One out of ten!

If you wonder who made these predictions, the answer is on Whale Oil.

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$577 a vote!

September 22nd, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Chris Keall at NBR writes:

The big man has managed to win at least one Election 2014 race, spending a record amount of money for every vote gained by the party he founded.

In 2011, the stony-broke Mana received 24,168party votes, or 1.08% of the total.

Last night, the expanded Internet Mana got 26,539 (1.26%) and Hone Harawira lost his seat.

Not much of a return for the $3.5 million Kim Dotcoom “invested” (his word) in the Internet Party. 

There are still 293,130 special votes (12.2% of total votes) to be counted.

Let’s assume Internet Mana wins 1.26% of those. 

That would take its 2014 tally to 30,232 or 6064 more than 2014.

That means Dotcom paid $577 for each of those new votes.

This is an under estimate.

Dotcom has said he put another $1 million into the Internet Party before it was registered. So $4.5 million divided by 6064 extra votes is a staggering $742 per vote.

I think the result is a great testament to the common sense of New Zealanders that they can’t be swayed by money alone. Money can help, but if the core proposition is rejected by New Zealanders, no amount of money can get people to support it. Not even $742 per vote!

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General Debate 22 September 2014

September 22nd, 2014 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel
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How the pollsters did

September 22nd, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

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These tables are from Grumpollie. The Herald DigiPoll was closest for National, One News Colmar Brunton for Labour, Herald Digipoll for Greens and NZ First.

table-2

 

On the provisional results, the Herald DigiPoll was exceedingly accurate. A wee way back were One News Colmar Brunton, Roy Morgan and Fairfax Ipsos. 3 News Reid Research was noticeably further out.

However overall not too bad a result overall for the public pollsters. Grumpollie notes:

  1. Well done DigiPoll.
  2. Looking at these results, I see no evidence of the ‘National bias’ that some people talk about.
  3. If there is any poll bias, it appears to be toward the Green Party.
  4. The landline bias/non-coverage issue is a red herring.

Hopefully we’ll hear less now of how the landline polls over estimate National!

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Election Race 20 September 2014 ~ John Stringer

September 21st, 2014 at 12:51 pm by Kokila Patel

20Sept2014

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Cunliffe calls for full leadership vote

September 21st, 2014 at 12:15 pm by David Farrar

I said yesterday to a few people that if David Cunliffe loses, and wants to stay leader, he needs to call the leadership vote himself, and he effectively has done so.

He knows caucus would no confidence him in the vote scheduled post-election. And having been no confidenced by caucus, he could never be credible as the leader, even if he won the members and union vote.

But by saying he wants a full vote himself, that is a signal he will not accept responsibility for their disaster, and will fight to keep the job. It is all on. David Shearer made it pretty clear he was not ruling out a challenge, and Robertson said he was considering it also.

But Labour’s challenge is not just the leadership. It is also about their strategy and direction. As Kelvin Davis said you can’t be relentlessly negative for three years, and then put on a positive face for two months and expect people to buy it. Also they need to learn that victory lies in the centre, not in competing on the hard left with the Greens.

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Danyl McL on the result

September 21st, 2014 at 12:02 pm by David Farrar

Danyl McL blogs on the election result. A few extracts:

  • The phone was not off the hook for Labour. Twelve months ago, just after Cunliffe won the leadership of his party Labour were on 37% with the Greens on 12%. There’s a cliche that oppositions don’t win elections, government’s lose them, but Labour lost this election. Cunliffe is probably the worst campaigner in New Zealand political history.
  • I think that the best way forward for Labour is for Cunliffe and ‘the old guard’ – Goff, Mallard and King – to resign. They’ve been at war for six years now and they’re tearing their party apart. I doubt this will happen though. The civil war will drag on for another parliamentary term. That party is dying.
  • The Greens will be despondent. I’m despondent for them. But – I can finally say this now – their billboards were really fucking weird. Their problem of having their final vote underperform relative to their polling is growing more acute, and their great challenge for 2017 is to determine why this happens and focus their party on addressing that problem.
  • If New Zealand First goes into coalition with National then that’s a win for Labour who can concentrate on winning back those left-leaning socially conservative older voters. (Er, Grant Robertson might not be the best choice for this job). If they don’t then that is an (additional) nightmare scenario for Labour.
  • The Internet Party will go down as one of the most disastrous failures in modern political history. Their final party list result is only slightly higher than Mana’s was in 2011. $4.5 million dollars and it only bought them a couple of thousand votes. They didn’t even cannibalise support from other left-wing parties.
  • What they did do is scare the crap out of middle-New Zealand and frighten them into voting National so that the party filled with screaming, chanting, scary lunatics backed by a malevolent German criminal didn’t get a say in running the country
  • I’m sad to see Harawira leave Parliament. I think he’s an important voice. But I’m thrilled that I won’t ever again have to listen to Laila Harre on Morning Report braying about how much integrity she has and how wonderful everything she does is.

Danyl notes:

I’m disappointed by the scale of National’s victory and the poor result for the Greens, but I also think we dodged a bullet last night. I think that Cunliffe would have been a very poor Prime Minister, that his party is unfit to govern, and that any Labour/Greens/NZFirst/Internet/Mana coalition would have been an anarchic, unmanageable disaster for the country.

On that we agree.

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A message from Joe McCrohon

September 21st, 2014 at 11:01 am by David Farrar

abuse

Sent by Joe McCrohon to me by Facebook message.

I don’t want people sending any messages in return to Joseph McCrohon. Don’t do what he did, and send abusive messages. I’m just publicising his message to me, so when people search on his name, Google will reveal what he regards as acceptable dialogue.

The amount of abuse I have had this campaign has been unbelievable. They range from death threats to rape threats to just the mindless abuse. People need to understand there are consequences for their behaviour, and there will be.

I will engage respectfully with people who attack my arguments or disagree with my ideas, or even criticise my actions. But the level of thuggish mindless abuse that has occurred is appalling.

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2014 election winners and losers

September 21st, 2014 at 10:47 am by David Farrar

Big Winners

  • John Key – highest vote for National since 1954 and the first ever majority under MMP
  • Kelvin Davis – the most popular person in New Zealand today, for ridding New Zealand politics of Kim Dotcom

Small Winners

  • Winston Peters. Got a very good 9% and 11 MPs. Already trying to claim title of Leader of the Opposition. Would be a big winner if he had got to hold the balance of power
  • Sue Bradford – the only high profile Mana member with integrity, who quit rather than accept Dotcom’s millions
  • David Shearer – may become leader again, and all the talk is how he left Labour 10% higher in the polls than they got on Saturday
  • Peter Dunne – kept his seat, will be a Minister again
  • David Seymour – not only retained Epsom for ACT, but got a very respectable majority. May become ACT Leader
  • Trevor Mallard – despite David Cunliffe’s best efforts, still an MP
  • Nicky Wagner, Nikki Kaye and Sam Lotu-Iiga who retained marginal seats
  • Stuart Nash, the only Labour candidate to win a seat off National
  • Ruth Dyson, Phil Twyford, Iain Lees-Galloway for retaining their seats against strong National candidates
  • Peeni Henare and Adrian Rurawhe for returning two more Maori seats to Labour
  • James Shaw – the only new MP for the Greens, but a potential future co-leader who can expand their appeal to moderates
  • The public pollsters – the average of the public polls was pretty close to the results for National and Labour
  • Steven Joyce, Jo de Joux, Greg Hamilton and Cam Cotter – the nucleus of National’s campaign team, who kept the focus and discipline, despite all the distractions

Winners and Losers

  • Colin Craig. He didn’t make 5% but got a very respectable result, and well placed for 2017. He is in this for the long game.
  • Te Ururoa Flavell. He kept his seat easily, will be a Minister again, and got a List MP in. However the Maori Party may never be able to win back the other six Maori seats and have an uncertain future

Small Losers

  • Russel Norman and Metiria Turei. Despite the good polls, they got fewer votes than 2011, and have a sixth term in opposition
  • Nicky Hager – wrote a book designed to get National thrown out of Government, and instead helped National get a third term as the media furore over his book pissed off ordinary New Zealanders who got sick of it, and crowded out Labour and the Greens. Only a small loser though, as he probably has made a six figure sum from the book!
  • iPredict – were highly accurate in 2011, but were well off the mark this time. Did pretty well on electorate races, but had National too low by 4%, Greens too high by 5% and NZ First too low by 2%

Big Losers

  • Kim Dotcom – he threw $4.5 million into his per parties, and destroyed the Mana Party, stillborn the Internet Party and personally helped boost John Key into a majority in Parliament. He has gone from being a figure two years ago who many NZers had sympathy for, to a reviled figure for many many NZers.
  • David Cunliffe – the worst result for Labour for generations, 3% lower than their disaster of 2011. Gave a Kevin Rudd like pseudo-victory speech on the night which was tone deaf.
  • Hone Harawira and Laila Harre. While their politics were never mine, I (and others) respected them as principled advocates for their beliefs. On a personal level I previously quite liked them. But their decision to take millions of dollars from a former donor to right wing politicians, who was a convicted criminal, under extradition proceedings, and with well publicised allegations of not paying staff and creditors while living a life of luxury – well their reputations are massively tarnished, and may never recover.
  • Jamie Whyte – failed to get into Parliament, and ACT’s future is uncertain, as is his leadership
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General Debate 21 September 2014

September 21st, 2014 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel
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The 2014 MPs

September 21st, 2014 at 7:42 am by David Farrar

On the provisional results these are the 121 MPs of the 51st New Zealand Parliament

National – 61 seats, 41 electorates, 20 list

  1. Auckland Central – Nikki Kaye
  2. Bay of Plenty – Todd Muller
  3. Botany – Jami-Lee Ross
  4. Christchurch Central – Nicky Wagner
  5. Clutha-Southland – Todd Barclay
  6. Coromandel – Scott Simpson
  7. East Coast – Anne Tolley
  8. East Coast Bays – Murray McCully
  9. Hamilton East – David Bennett
  10. Hamilton West – Tim Macindoe
  11. Helensville – John Key
  12. Hunua – Andrey Bayly
  13. Ilam – Gerry Brownlee
  14. Invercargill – Sarah Dowie
  15. Kaikoura – Stuart Smith
  16. Maungakiekie – Pesata Sam Lotu-Iiga
  17. Nelson – Nick Smith
  18. New Plymouth – Jonathan Young
  19. Northcote – Jonathan Coleman
  20. Northland – Mike Sabin
  21. North Shore – Maggie Barry
  22. Otaki – Nathan Guy
  23. Pakuranga – Maurice Williamson
  24. Papakua – Judith Collins
  25. Rangitata – Jo Goodhew
  26. Rangitikei – Ian McKelvie
  27. Rodney – Mark Mitchell
  28. Rotorua – Todd McClay
  29. Selwyn – Amy Adams
  30. Tamaki – Simon O’Connor
  31. Taranaki-King Country – Barbara Kuriger
  32. Taupo – Louise Upston
  33. Tauranga – Simon Bridges
  34. Tukituki – Craig Foss
  35. Upper Harbour – Paula Bennett
  36. Waikato – Lindsay Tisch
  37. Waimakariri – Matthew Doocey
  38. Wairarapa – Alastair Scott
  39. Waitaki – Jacqui Dean
  40. Whangarei – Shane Reti
  41. Whanganui – Chester Borrows
  42. List 1 – Bill English
  43. List 2 – David Carter
  44. List 3 – Steven Joyce
  45. List 4 – Hekia Parata
  46. List 5 – Chris Finlayson
  47. List 6 – Tim Groser
  48. List 7 – Michael Woodhouse
  49. List 8 – Paul Goldsmith
  50. List 9 – Melissa Lee
  51. List 10 – Kanwal Bakshi
  52. List 11 – Jian Yang
  53. List 12 – Alfred Ngaro
  54. List 13 – Brett Hudson
  55. List 14 – Paul Foster-Bell
  56. List 15 – Jo Hayes
  57. List 16 – Parmjeet Parmar
  58. List 17 – Chris Bishop
  59. List18 – Nuk Korako
  60. List 19 – Jono Naylor
  61. List 20 – Maureen Pugh

Labour – 32 seats, 27 electorates, 5 list

  1. Christchurch East – Poto Williams
  2. Dunedin North – David Clark
  3. Dunedin South – Clare Curran
  4. Hauraki-Waikato – Nanaia Mahuta
  5. Hutt South – Trevor Mallard
  6. Ikaroa-Rawhiti – Meka Whaitiri
  7. Kelston – Carmel Sepuloni
  8. Mana – Kris Faafoi
  9. Mangere – Su’a William Sio
  10. Manukau East – Jenny Salesa
  11. Manurewa – Louisa Wall
  12. Mt Albert – David Shearer
  13. Mt Roskill – Phil Goff
  14. Napier – Stuart Nash
  15. New Lynn – David Cunliffe
  16. Palmerston North – Iain Lees-Galloway
  17. Port Hills – Ruth Dyson
  18. Rimutaka – Chris Hipkins
  19. Rongotai – Annette King
  20. Tamaki Makaurau – Peeni Henare
  21. Te Atatu – Phil Twyford
  22. Te Tai Hauauru – Adrian Rurawhe
  23. Te Tai Tonga – Rino Tirikatene
  24. Te Tai Tokerau – Kelvin Davis
  25. West Coast-Tasman – Damien O’Connor
  26. Wellington Central – Grant Robertson
  27. Wigram – Megan Woods
  28. List 1 – David Parker
  29. List 2 – Jacinda Ardern
  30. List 3 – Clayton Cosgrove
  31. List 4 – Sue Moroney
  32. List 5 – Andrew Little

Greens – 13 seats, 13 list

  1. List 1 – Metiria Turei
  2. List 2 – Russel Norman
  3. List 3 – Kevin Hague
  4. List 4 – Eugenie Sage
  5. List 5 – Gareth Hughes
  6. List 6 – Catherine Delahunty
  7. List 7 – Kennedy Graham
  8. List 8 – Julie Anne Genter
  9. List 9 – Mojo Mathers
  10. List 10 – Jan Logie
  11. List 11 – David Clendon
  12. List 12 – James Shaw
  13. List 13 – Denise Roche

NZ First – 11 seats, 11 list

  1. List 1 – Winston Peters
  2. List 2 – Tracey Martin
  3. List 3 – Richard Prosser
  4. List 4 – Fletcher Tabuteau
  5. List 5 – Barbara Stewart
  6. List 6 – Clayton Mitchell
  7. List 7 – Denis O’Rourke
  8. List 8 – Pita Paraone
  9. List 9 – Ron Mark
  10. List 10 – Darroch Ball
  11. List 11 – Mahesh Bindra

Maori Party – 2 seats, 1 electorate, 1 list

  1. Waiariki – Te Ururoa Flavell
  2. List 1 – Marama Fox

ACT – 1 seat, 1 electorate

  1. Epsom – David Seymour

United Future – 1 seat, 1 electorate

  1. Ohariu – Peter Dunne

 

MPs who failed to be re-elected were:

  • Brendan Horan (NZIC)
  • Steffan Browning (Greens)
  • Asenati Lole-Taylor (NZ First)
  • Hone Harawira (Mana)
  • Maryan Street (Labour)
  • Moana Mackey (Labour)
  • Raymond Huo (Labour)
  • Carol Beaumont (Labour)
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The 2014 election records

September 21st, 2014 at 7:30 am by David Farrar

Over 2.1 million New Zealanders voted yesterday, and the two weeks prior, and NZ continues its incredibly rare record of being an unbroken democracy. We had 15 parties contest the election, and while we get divided by out personal choices and preferences, we stand united with accepting the will of our collective decision.

It was a hard night for people who supported parties of the left. I know what it is like to be passionate about your politics and belief, and to not get the result you want. Elections are not just about MPs and candidates, but the tens of thousands of volunteers and activists who give up their time and money to get involved in an election – with no regard for self-interest, but a strong regard for the country’s future. With a few exceptions, we’re all better off for their efforts – regardless of which party they supported.

I would also pay tribute to the many candidates. Most candidates are motivated by a strong desire to serve New Zealand. Candidates for Labour, National, Greens, NZ First, Maori Party, ACT, Conservatives and United Future are generally decent people who do want to contribute to a better New Zealand. Many of them take weeks or months off work, and spend thousands of their own dollars on their campaigns.

It was beyond doubt a very good night for supporters of the National Government. Again, my sympathies go out to the many good people who did want a change. The one thing inevitable in politics is change, and it is a matter of when, not if. But 2014 was a resounding result for National and John Key

This election saw a number of election records. They are:

  • National first government to increase its vote and seats in three consecutive elections since the Liberal Party did the same in 1902, 1905 and 1908
  • Worst result for Labour since 1922 when they got 23.7%
  • Best result for National since 1951 when they got 54.0%
  • Highest result for any party under MMP (in fact since 1972)
  • First ever absolute majority under MMP (may change on specials)
  • Best result ever for a third term Government
  • The three highest party votes under MMP were National in 2014, 2011 and 2008, then Labour in 2002 (41.3%)

The focus will now go on the impact of special votes. The 120th list quotient is held by Labour, 121st National and 122nd NZ First. There could be a one seat change on the specials, but not two seats. Hard to see National falling below 60 seats.

The other focus will be government arrangements. There will beyond doubt be confidence and supply agreements with ACT, United Future and the Maori parties. Does David Seymour become a minister or is ACT better to try and build its brand (if it can) without being a member of the Executive. No doubt Peter Dunne will remain a Minister, and that Te Ururoa Flavell will become one. I doubt their second MP will though.

Then there is the possibility of co-operation agreements with NZ First and/or the Greens, where National and those parties may agree on some areas they can work together – even if no agreement on confidence and supply.

If the ministry stays at 28 and assuming Dunne and Flavell are Ministers, then there is room for 25 or 26 National Ministers. There are currently 23 so I would expect at least two or three new Ministers – maybe even slightly more.

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2014 General Election

September 20th, 2014 at 7:00 pm by David Farrar

Won’t be blogging too much tonight as people will be getting their results directly from Election Results. Also I’m on Radio NZ National Radio from 7 pm tonight, and also on TV3’s The Nation from 8 am tomorrow. But will try and do the odd update, as I can. Generally just use the comments to report on what is happening.

I hope everyone voted!

UPDATE: Around a third of the votes counted (mainly advance) and National doing well and Labour badly. National will drop off in the next few hours, but hard at this stage to see how Labour could form a Government. They are very unlikely to even match the 27.3% they got last time, and that was their worst result since WWII.

One can not rule out Winston may hold the balance of power. He is doing very well at present. I think we can rule out the Conservatives making it.

Hone leads by only 96 votes in Te Tai Tokerau. Too early to call, but Kelvin Davis says West Auckland booths yet to report, which favour him. It will be wonderful if the result of accepting $4.5 million from Kim Dotcom, is it destroys their party.

UPDATE2: Kelvin now in the lead!

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Is drink driving down?

September 20th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

The number of us prepared to drink and drive has plummeted in the past five years, but there are still pockets of the country bucking the trend.

Convictions for drink-driving, or refusing to supply a sample, decreased in all but five of the country’s 64 district courts between 2009 and 2013, the latest available Ministry of Justice figures show.

The only courts to enter more convictions last year than in 2009 were Waipukurau, Ruatoria, Thames, Oamaru and Westport.

Waipukurau and Ruatoria saw the biggest increases, of 33 per cent and 54 per cent respectively, and while the other three had marginal increases, they were a long way from the national decrease of 25 per cent, the figures, released to The Dominion Post under the Official Information Act, show.

I’m not sure you can conclude on this data that drink driving has plummeted. It may have, but the number of convictions will be dependent on how much time is spent on checking motorists. I presume it has not decreased, but we don’t know.

The better measure would be the detection rate – what proportion of motorists stopped, are found to have excess blood alcohol?

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More concern in Australia

September 20th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Daily Telegraph reports:

ARMED Australian Federal Police officers will take back command and control of Parliament House in Canberra after fresh revelations suspected terrorists were planning a potential attack on the nation’s capital and the country’s highest office.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott this morning confirmed the Daily Telegraph report that intelligence agencies had picked up “chatter” involving a potential random attack on Parliament House, with fears among national security and intelligence agencies that the Prime Minister and other senior government officials were prime targets.

The “chatter” about Parliament House had been intercepted and they now held fears the building had already been “scoped out” for pre-planning of a “Mumbai” style attack involving automatic weapons.

The chatter, intercepted by spy, police and counterterrorism agencies, ­revealing talk about access to Parliament House was confirmed by two senior intelligence officials. It is believed the chatter also involved possible reprisal attacks against ASIO.

In response, senior security sources have identified the most vulnerable entry point to parliament was the entrance to the ministerial wing, which could be infiltrated by “taking out” two unarmed parliamentary security officers who represent the only sentry point to prevent instant access to the PM’s own courtyard.

From there a potential terrorist would have a direct line of sight into the PM’s office, they confirmed.

It is understood several armed AFP officers have been redeployed to Parliament House. Over the next few days their numbers will be dramatically increased to secure the building, which under current arrangements is among the least secure official buildings in the country.

This is a pity. We want people to be able to visit Parliaments as bastions of democracy, and not see them as armed fortifications.

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Organic coffee drinker needs longer breaks

September 20th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Canberra Times reports:

A Canberra public servant told her boss she needed longer breaks than her colleagues, saying she had to find a café that served organic coffee with soy milk.

When the Australian Taxation Office bureaucrat was warned about her absences from her desk and told she had to adhere to time management requirements, she took her case to the Commonwealth government’s workplace authority.

After the appeal was dismissed, the Executive Level 1 public servant went on stress leave and claimed workers compensation, arguing that her ATO supervisor’s approach left her with “adjustment disorder”.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal has dismissed the worker’s appeal against the decision to reject the claim, finding the Taxation Office was reasonable in its dealings with the public servant.

Amazing it got that far.

Also fascinated by the claim that being unable to get organic coffee with soy milk led to an adjustment disorder!

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Russia now moves against the Internet

September 20th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

The Kremlin is considering radical plans to unplug Russia from the global internet in the event of a serious military confrontation or big anti-government protests at home, Russian officials hinted on Friday.

President Vladimir Putin will convene a meeting of his security council on Monday. It will discuss what steps Moscow might take to disconnect Russian citizens from the web “in an emergency”, the Vedomosti newspaper reported. The goal would be to strengthen Russia’s sovereignty in cyberspace. The proposals could also bring the domain .ru under state control, it suggested.

Russian TV and most of the country’s newspapers are under the Kremlin’s thumb. But unlike in China, the Russian internet has so far remained a comparatively open place for discussion, albeit one contested by state-sponsored bloggers and Putin fans.

According to Vedomosti, Russia plans to introduce the new measures early next year. The Kremlin has been wrestling for some time with how to reduce Russia’s dependency on American technology and digital infrastructure, amid fears that its communications are vulnerable to US spying. It has mooted building a “national internet”, which would in effect be a domestic intranet. These proposals go further, expanding the government’s control over ordinary Russian internet users and their digital habits.

The most ominous element, he added, was the security council’s apparent proposal to take control over .ru, as well as the domains .su (for Soviet Union) and .рф (Russian Federation in Cyrillic). These domains currently belong to a non-government organisation, the coordination centre of the national domain, rather than to government. Many are currently hosted abroad.

There comes a point at which Russia goes from merely being an authoritarian country to a dictatorship. It’s sad to see Russia continue to slide backwards.

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General Debate 20 September 2014

September 20th, 2014 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel
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Scotland vote breakdown

September 20th, 2014 at 7:32 am by David Farrar

Scotland

This is a breakdown of the Scottish independence referendum vote by council. It is sorted from largest to smallest.

Only four of the 32 councils voted for independence. They represented 22.1% of the Scottish electorate.

The largest area, Glasgow, did vote for independence. Edinburgh voted more strongly against.

10 of the 32 areas voted No by 60% or more. The highest yes vote was 57.3%.

It will be interesting now to see what extra powers are devolved to Scotland, and whether this leads to an English assembly or parliament. The more that gets devolved to Scotland, the more unacceptable it will be to have Scottish MPs in Westminster voting on laws that affect England only. David Cameron has announced he will propose a change along these lines, but will have to get the agreement of Labour or the Lib Dems.

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It’s election day

September 20th, 2014 at 12:01 am by David Farrar

It’s now election day so no discussion of NZ politics until 7 pm please. This especially includes preferred outcomes, how people should vote or how you voted.

And if you haven’t already voted, make sure you get out there and vote.

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Scotland votes No

September 19th, 2014 at 5:23 pm by David Farrar

While I intellectually was a supporter of yes, I am emotionally pleased the the great United Kingdom remains intact. More importantly it was a decision made be residents of Scotland, for Scotland. A massive turnout – over 90% in some areas.

I’ll do a fuller analysis tomorrow.

At this stage with 31 of 32 councils reporting. yes is at 44.6% and no at 55.4% so not that close. The margin is around 380,000 votes.

Three out of 31 voted yes, with the highest yes being 57.4% in Dundee City.

28 have voted no, with the highest being 67.2% in the Orkney Islands.

The closest result is Inverclyde with 27,243 yes and 27,329 no.

Not a fan of Alex Salmond. His challenge now is to be humble and lead a constructive negotiation for more devolution.

David Cameron will be relieved. He did not want to be the PM who presided over the dissolution of the United Kingdom, and it may have cost him his job if yes had won.

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Smallest net migration to Australia since 1995!

September 19th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ reports:

“New Zealand had its highest-ever net gain of 43,500 migrants in the August 2014 year,” population statistics project manager Susan Hollows said. “The previous high of 42,500 migrants was in the May 2003 year.”

The new net migration record was driven by more arrivals and fewer departures of permanent and long-term migrants.

Migrant arrivals reached a new high of 103,900 in the August 2014 year. The increase in arrivals compared with the August 2013 year was led by more students, particularly from India, and more New Zealand citizens arriving from Australia.

The fall in migrant departures was primarily due to fewer departures of New Zealand citizens to Australia (down 15,100), compared with the August 2013 year. The net loss of 6,500 people to Australia in the August 2014 year was the smallest since the January 1995 year (6,200).

Here’s a graph of it:

migrationaug2014

It’s great to both see the number of Kiwis leaving to Australia almost halve, but also greater numbers of people coming here from Australia. Let’s keep New Zealand a place people want to move to, and stay in.

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