Rodney Hide on Prince Charles

December 2nd, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes:

That’s it: I am no longer faithful and true to the Queen’s heirs and successors. The Queen is an amazing woman, a living and breathing piece of history. I greatly admire her. She gives us no pain and a local president would likely prove problematic.

But Prince Charles is a royal trainwreck. He has torn it for me. He is too stupid and too whacky to be a king commanding respect.

It was his claim that the terror of Isis is the world’s fault for not dealing to climate change that did it.

He says if only we had listened to him – some 20 years ago – and de-industrialised – then gays would not be thrown off buildings, innocents would not be beheaded and the major cities of Europe not terrorised.

That’s a special sort of stupid.

The Prince was asked whether he saw a link between climate change, conflict and terrorism, to which he answered, “absolutely”.

I don’t begin to understand the barbarity of Isis. But I haven’t heard of these terrorists screaming for the world to commit to Kyoto before self-immolating themselves and everyone nearby.

That’s our next Head of State, unless we change things. We don’t get a vote on it – he just becomes King of New Zealand when the Queen dies.

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Robin Hood The Pantomime

December 1st, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

I’d previously seen Circa put on Robin Hood pantomime, five years ago, so was interested to see if the 2015 version would be much the same, or quite different.

It was quite different. Of course the main characters are the same, but a very different plot and themes.

Gavin Rutherford starred again as Mother (Trelise) Hood, Robin’s affection starved mum. Simon Leary played Robin and Nick Dunbar was The Sheriff. I thought Dunbar was the stand out performer, who excelled as a pantomime baddie.

Acushla-Tara Sutton played Maid Marian, Jane Waddell was Hattie (friend of Mother Hood) and Lady Muck. Finishing off the cast was Jonathan Morgan as Rumble (Sheriff’s henchman) and Friar Tuck plus Andrew Patterson as Little Andrew, Abbott Tony and King Richard.

There were some parts of the pantomime that were very well done. It was a game of two halves, with the second half being must better and faster paced that the first half. A clever highlight was having King Richard being Richie McCaw. Very topical and witty.

There were lots of laughs, but slightly fewer laughs than jokes. I found the first half tried a little bit too hard to have a joke on everything political. Even the most dedicated political watcher will hardly recall what Gerry Brownlee said about Finland a couple of years ago. The art of a pantomime is to have it as a show kids can love, but with some good humour for the adults also. But the mix wasn’t quite right. The 75 minute first half didn’t have that well developed a plot, and could have done with more character development.

The second half redeemed the play. It was fun and fast moving and despite knowing the good guys would win, did have you wondering how things would unfold. Overall did enjoy the play, but would cut 15 minutes out of the first half if possible.

There were some clever aspects to the show. Having Andrew Little as Little Andrew worked well, especially as the Merry Men rob the rich to give to the poor. Also having Abbott Tony as Friar Tuck’s boss was a nice wordplay, and got some Australian accent into the show.

It is on at Circa until Saturday 9 January 2016.

Rating: *** 1/2

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Jackson set to direct Doctor Who

December 1st, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

A fun video from Peter Jackson that basically confirms he will direct one or more episodes of Doctor Who. Of course people are joking it will be a nine hour long episode split into three parts :-)

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Large livestock may be excluded from waterways

December 1st, 2015 at 2:05 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Farmers may be compelled to exclude plains and lowland-dwelling dairy cattle and pigs from waterways by 2017, and beef cattle and deer by 2025.

The recommendation is one of 60 from the Land and Water Forum, which presented its report to the Government on Friday.

Members on the forum come from environment and recreation groups, industry, iwi, officials and scientists.

This is the same forum that the Fish and Game Council puled out of, because they said it was too pro-farmer. They look rather silly now.

Federated Farmers representative on the forum, Chris Allen, said the move to exclude stock should not come as a surprise to farmers. Already some regional councils use such controls.

Sheep are not included in the recommendation. 

At this week’s council meeting, Federated Farmers had discussed the issue and largely accepted the recommendations.

Good to see.

Green Party spokeswoman Catherine Delahunty said the report was not about improving water quality, but about commercial interests being able to use water cheaply.

Really? Sounds rather knee-jerk.


Is the temperature rising?

December 1st, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Some people say there is no global warming, because 1998 was a very hot year and the rate of increase since then has been smaller than projected (note not zero).

Just as the temperature varies greatly from day to day, even an average over a year isn’t that robust, as you have factors such as El Nino.

What I find more useful is looking at the average over a decade. That is long enough that the average (of 3,653 days) is pretty robust.


The data is from NASA. The average global temperature is around one degree higher than 100 years ago, and since the 1970s has risen around 0.7 of a degree.

I’ll deal in a later post with issues over cause and impact, but for now want to highlight that denying we have had global warming is simply not true.


As you can see 1998 was a very hot year. But not the hottest year in the last century. That was 2014 and 2015 after 10 months of data is looking to break 2014’s record.

Different methods of temperature recording and different outlets all produce slightly different results (as you would expect), but the difference between them is minor compared to the very clear trend – both by decade, and annually.

Again you can have your opinions on the cause of the warming, and on how much warming there will be in the future. But the fact the world is warming is a fact, not an opinion.


Parliament 1 December 2015

December 1st, 2015 at 11:45 am by David Farrar

The order paper is here.

Oral Questions 2.00 pm – 3.00 pm

  1. MARK MITCHELL to the Minister of Finance: What reports has he received showing a recent lift in business confidence supports an outlook for continuing moderate growth and a more diversified economy?
  2. ANDREW LITTLE to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his statement that New Zealand “shouldn’t be a leader in climate change”, given that New Zealand was awarded the “Fossil of the Day award” following his speech on the first day of the Paris climate talks?
  3. Dr SHANE RETI to the Minister of Health: Can he confirm that as at September 2015 99.31 percent of patients waiting for elective surgery received their treatment within four months?
  4. GRANT ROBERTSON to the Minister of Finance: Does he agree with the Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery that Treasury has an “arrogant bureaucratic attitude” to Christchurch and that the report he released yesterday is “utter tripe”; if not, why not?
  5. METIRIA TUREI to the Minister of Revenue: What has been the overall impact of tax deductions for petroleum and mining expenditures on the level of oil and gas exploration and prospecting in New Zealand since 2012/13, and how much revenue has the Government forgone as a result of these tax deductions in this period?
  6. SARAH DOWIE to the Minister of Education: What announcements has she made recently on trades academies?
  7. CHRIS HIPKINS to the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment: Is he satisfied with the oversight he and his officials have of spending on tertiary education programmes?
  8. JAMI-LEE ROSS to the Minister for Building and Housing: Can he confirm that the number of building consents issued for homes in Auckland in October 2015 was 805 as compared with 205 in October 2008, and that the yearly total is the highest in 11 years?
  9. FLETCHER TABUTEAU to the Minister of Finance: Does he stand by all his statements?
  10. Hon DAMIEN O’CONNOR to the Minister for Food Safety: Is she satisfied by all the advice she has received from the Ministry of Primary Industries on food safety?
  11. DAVID BENNETT to the Minister of Customs: How will the Government’s investment in new SmartGate border processing technology make travel easier for passengers this Christmas?
  12. MOJO MATHERS to the Minister for Primary Industries: What percentage of complaints made to the Ministry for Primary Industries about animal cruelty result in prosecutions?

National: Five questions on business confidence, elective surgery, trades academies, building consents and SmartGate

Labour: Four questions on climate change, Treasury, tertiary education and food safety

Greens: Two questions mining tax deductions and animal cruelty

NZ First: One question on Finance Minister standing by his statement

Government Bills 3.00 pm to 6.00 pm and 7.30 pm to 10.00 pm

Support for Children in Hardship Bill – committee stage continued

This Bill is an omnibus Bill introduced under Standing Order 263(a). The Bill strengthens work expectations and increases assistance for parents on a benefit and who have dependent children from 1 April 2016.

  • Introduced: May 2015
  • 1st reading: May 2015, passed 109 to 12 with NZ First opposed
  • Select Committee report: October 2015, supported by majority with amendments with minority reports from Labour, Greens and NZ First
  • 2nd reading: November 2015, passed unanimously

There is no time limit for the committee stage but it is estimated to be a four hour debate as the bill has three parts and preliminary provisions to debate. One part has been partially debated, so there are probably three to four hours remaining.

Taxation (Annual Rates for 2015-16, Research and Development, and Remedial Matters) Bill – committee stage continued

The bill is an omnibus bill that significantly amends ten different tax acts,especially in the area of child support.

  • Introduced: February 2015
  • 1st reading: March 2015, passed unanimously
  • SC report: September 2015, supported unanimously with amendments
  • 2nd reading: October 2015, passed unanimously

There is no time limit for the committee stage but it is estimated to be a five hour debate as the bill has four parts and preliminary provisions to debate. Two parts have been agreed to, so there are probably two to three hours remaining.

The Minister has two SOPs.

Radio New Zealand Amendment Bill – committee stage continued

The bill amends the Radio New Zealand Act 1995 to implement a new Radio New Zealand Charter

  • Introduced: June 2009
  • 1st reading: June 2009, passed unanimously
  • SC report: December 2009, supported without amendments with a minority report from Labour
  • 2nd reading: May 2015, passed unanimously

There is no time limit for the committee stage but it is estimated to be a one hour debate as the bill will be voted on as one question.

The Minister has one SOP.


Weathertight Homes Resolution Services Amendment Bill – committee stage continued

The bill amends the Weathertight Home Resolution Services Act 2006 to remove any doubt about the validity of the criteria, deem certain claims determined as ineligible to be eligible, and to widen the definition of qualifying claimant.

  • Introduced: February 2015
  • 1st reading: March 2015, passed unanimously
  • Select Committee report: July 2015, supported unanimously with amendments
  • 2nd reading: September 2015, passed unanimously

There is no time limit for the committee stage but it is estimated to be a three hour debate as the bill has two parts and preliminary provisions to debate. One part has been debated, so there are probably one to two hours remaining.



Shipley backs the fern

December 1st, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

New Zealanders must rise up and be proud of who they are – and that involves letting go of the “colonial” flag and choosing a new identity.

Former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley, who led the National government between 1997 and 1999, has revealed she supported changing the flag to a silver fern during her time in office.

Shipley has made a point of avoiding commenting on politics, since retiring from Parliament. But now, with voting papers out to rank the five options in the running if voters chose to dump the current flag next year, she has gone public on why she believes Kiwis need a change.  …

While our history is colonisation, I’m horrified to think that people would allow a colonial symbol to be part of the shadow that flies over us.”

Shipley said her support was nothing to do with backing her successor as National Party leader and prime minister, John Key.

The Kyle Lockwood  silver fern (red, white and blue) is her pick, with the black, white and blue fern in second place. She said ferns represented new life unfolding and red had chiefly heritage in Maori and Pakeha cultures.

During her time as Prime Minister, she said, Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials asked her to wear a fern brooch.

“They said ‘you’re on TV more than anything else, actually more than the flag when you travel abroad so we would really like you to wear a fern because it’s the most recognised symbol worldwide of New Zealand. People go: New Zealand … fern’. And they produced three beautiful broaches, one of which I continue to wear today.”

Despite her support for removing the Union Jack from the flag, Shipley remains a monarchist, saying the English king or queen serves as an extremely efficient titular head.

But that hasn’t stopped her from wanting to fly a silver fern from the flagpole in her Auckland garden.

“My husband Burton has been walking this new flagpole around the garden trying to decide where it’s going to be put. I have a magnificent woollen current New Zealand flag, but I will be sorely tempted to put one of the change ones up. I’d prefer to.”

“I’ve had the privilege of being Prime Minister and I’ve walked into many war graves and I [didn’t] see the existing flag in any of them.”

I may be wrong but I suspect every living former Prime Minister supports a change. Not entirely sure for Geoffrey Palmer though.

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UK Labour goes for free vote on Syria

December 1st, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

Labour MPs are to get a free vote on whether airstrikes should be extended to Syria, with Jeremy Corbyn and Hilary Benn expected to adopt opposing positions in any Commons debate on the issue.

At a heated meeting of the shadow cabinet on Monday afternoon Corbyn agreed to a free vote – a decision that emerged just before the meeting started. It followed a weekend of discussion with Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson.

However, a proposal that the shadow cabinet should agree that it was party policy to oppose airstrikes, and to assert this was in line with a conference motion passed in September, was thrown out.

Shadow cabinet members said the offer of a free vote for Labour MPs would be severely diluted if there was also a statement saying party policy opposed airstrikes.

This shows how bad things are in UK Labour.

There are some things you don’t expect a party to have a view on – minor stuff such as the Standards and Measures Harmonisation Act.

But whether or not to go to war, and to approve the use of force is as important as it gets. And UK Labour are saying we have no policy at all on this, because our leader is against all use of force by western countries.

This is probably the lesser evil for UK Labour. If they had tried to force Labour MPs to vote in line with Corbyn, he may have had half his front bench resign.

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Cairns not guilty

December 1st, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Chris Cairns has been moved to tears, speaking of his relief at being found not guilty after an eight-week London trial over match-fixing allegations.

The former Black Caps cricket captain was cleared of a perjury charge, and both he and his co-accused, Andrew Fitch-Holland, were found not guilty of perverting the course of justice.

The jury at Southwark Crown Court took 10 hours and 17 minutes of deliberation to reach their verdicts on Monday morning (local time).

This means the jury were not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that he had lied in court about match fixing.

Modi immediately responded to Monday’s verdict.

“I am aware of the verdict at Southwark Crown Court. As you know, I am limited in what I can say as I am restricted by the injunction put in place following the 2012 libel trial,” he said.

 “I will consider how this affects my own civil claim against Mr Cairns in due course.”

Any civil claim would be on balance of probabilities.

Ultimately the evidence of Lou Vincent was found to be not trust worthy. The judge in his summing up basically said they can’t rely on what Vincent said.

I’m very pleased for Lance Cairns, one of my cricketing heroes, that he hasn’t seen his son found guilty.


Quote of the week

December 1st, 2015 at 8:00 am by TaxpayersUnion

“Every family should have the right to spend their money, after tax, as they wish, and not as the government dictates. Let us extend choice, extend the will to choose and the chance to choose.”

– Margaret Thatcher

The quote of the week is brought to you by the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union. To support the Union’s campaign for lower taxes and less government waste, click here.

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General Debate 1 December 2015

December 1st, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Danyl predicts 2017

December 1st, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Danyl McL blogs:

I want to get down my early prediction for the 2017 election which, contra Rob Salmond, is that it won’t be close and that National will win very easily but probably won’t be able to form a government without New Zealand First. Key pointed out over the weekend that pundits always predict Peters will be the kingmaker and they’ve been wrong three elections in a row, but I think that short of a shock retirement or some other outlier that he will be this time around.

A lot can happen in two years, but what strikes me is that National and Labour are polling very close today to where they were three years ago. There doesn’t appear to have been much change in the polls except NZ First up a bit and Greens down a bit.


Japan resumes whaling

November 30th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Japan has been criticised for resuming whaling in Antarctic waters, but the “scientific” ships could face few hurdles to continue their Southern slaughter.

On Friday, the Japanese Fisheries Agency notified the International Whaling Commission that Japan will resume whaling in the 2015/2016 season, despite an International Court of Justice recommendation last year that they cease whaling activity. …

Acting Foreign Minister Todd McClay has expressed “New Zealand’s deep disappointment at the Japanese Government’s decision.

“New Zealand is strongly opposed to whaling in the Southern Ocean. We call on Japan to take heed of the 2014 International Court of Justice decision and international scientific advice concerning their whaling activities.

“In early 2015, the International Whaling Commission’s Expert Panel issued very clear and unambiguous recommendations that Japan postpone the lethal components of its research proposal,” McClay said. 

The International Court of Justice ruled in March last year that Japan’s decades-old whale hunt in the Antarctic should stop, prompting Tokyo to cancel the bulk of its whaling for the 2014/2015 season.

But Japan has ignored that ruling and will push ahead in the 2015/2016 season.

The new Japanese hunting plan, which calls for cutting annual minke whale catches by two-thirds to 333, is scientifically reasonable, the Japanese Fisheries Agency said in a document filed with the IWC.

333 is better than 1,000.

I don’t have a problem with whaling per se, so long as it is sustainable. However the IWC has banned whaling in the Southern Ocean on the grounds it is not sustainable there, and using scientific research as a pretext for commercial whaling is offensive. There is absolutely no research involved.

Japan should not ignore the ICJ ruling, and hopefully will reconsider under pressure. The problem is that the pressure can be counter-productive – in that they do it just to show they won’t be pressured not to. The actual commercial benefits from doing so are almost nil, so it is about cultural rights (from their view).

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If NZ did join Australia

November 30th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Heather du Plessis-Allan writes:

Sure, it’s not an immediately popular idea, but hear me out. Taking up the offer to become part of Australia could be a good thing.

If New Zealand did join Australia as two states (NI and SI) then John Key would no doubt become Prime Minister of Australia, with Malcolm Turnbull as his Deputy.

The North Island would have 22 MPs and the South Island seven MPs, out of 178 total.

In terms of Senators they would have 12 each out of 100 total.

Andrew Little would roll Bill Shorten as Federal Opposition Leader.

But who would become the Premiers of the NI State and SI State?

My pick would be Jacinda Ardern as the Premier of the North Island, as all NI Premiers would come from Auckland.

And down south, Amy Adams as the Premier of the South Island!

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NZ’s most powerful lawyers

November 30th, 2015 at 1:58 pm by David Farrar

Law Fuel has compiled a power list of the 50 most powerful lawyers in NZ.

I would have thought the Attorney-General would be on it, as he appoints pretty much every judge in NZ. But maybe it is reserved to practicing lawyers, so he is excluded – as Judges are.

Anyway the top 20 are:

  • No. 1.  Andrew Bridgman           Chief Executive, Ministry of Justice
  • No. 2.  Mark Berry                      Chief Executive, Commerce Commission
  • No. 3. Michael Heron QC                  Solicitor General
  • 4. Chris Moore                                President, NZ Law Society
  • 5. Alan Galbraith QC                      Barrister
  • 6. David Goddard QC                Barrister
  • 7. Jeremy Salmond                     Chief Solicitor, Treasury
  • 8. Robert Fisher QC                      Barrister, Arbitrator
  • 9. Kathryn Anderson                Legal Chief, Auckland City Council
  • 10. Brendan Horsley              Deputy Solicitor General
  • 11. Paul Davison QC                 Barrister
  • 12. David Williams QC              Arbitrator, Barrister
  • 13. Martin Smith              Chief Solicitor, IRD
  • 14. Mai Chen              Solicitor
  • 15. Rob Everett                 Financial Markets Authority
  • 16. Cathy Quinn               Manager Partner, Minter Ellison Rudd Watts
  • 17. Peter Watts QC          Academic, Barrister
  • 18. Kevin Jaffe                  Managing Partner, Simpson Grierson
  • 19. Stephen Franks         Solicitor, Blogger
  • 20. Brian Dickey             Crown Solicitor



Labour’s wee reshuffle

November 30th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar


I think Labour are hoping their MPs can’t count.

Their front bench in Parliament has eight seats, not 12. They’re just hoping Clark, Woods, Parker and Mahuta don’t notice.

Also I’ve never heard of a Shadow Cabinet of 22. Cabinet has 20 MPs. Are they planning to enlarge it? Also the reality is that at their current level of polling, they’d only get 60% to 70% of the Cabinet seats as they are 60% to 70% of the combined opposition vote. So the number who might make Cabinet are probably 12 – 14, not 22.

The promotion of Davis and demotion of Mahuta is no surprise, and the right thing to do. And their top eight are basically their strongest MPs, and are the nucleus of an alternative Government.

So overall a sensible minor reshuffle. Their job now is to spend the next two years not just being an effective Opposition, but also looking like a coherent alternative Government.


The 2015 Trans-Tasman Ratings

November 30th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Transtasman has published its annual ratings for most of the 121 MPs. As usual, I do some analysis.

The overall average rating is 4.1 (-1.2 from 2014), which is a huge drop. This may reflect grumpier reviewers more than the  possibility that almost every single MP is doing worse than a year ago. I have to say that the number of ratings they have given which I think are totally detached from reality is higher than normal.

Average Ratings per Party

  1. ACT 8.5
  2. United Future 5.0 (nc)
  3. National 4.3 (-1.5)
  4. Labour 4.1 (-1.0)
  5. Maori 4.0 (-2.5)
  6. Green 3.9 (-0.3)
  7. NZ First 3.2 (-0.9)

Of the four main parties, their average rankings in order are National, Labour, Greens, NZ First

Top MPs

  1. David Seymour 8.5
  2. Murray McCully 8.0 (+0.5)
    Bill English 8.0 (-1.0)
  3. John Key 7.5 (-2.0)
    Tim Groser 7.5 (nc)
    Amy Adams 7.5 (+0.5)

Bottom MPs

  1. Darroch Ball 2.0
    Mahesh Bindra 2.0
    Catherine Delahunty 2.0 (nc)
    Ruth Dyson 2.0 (-1.5)
    Paul Foster-Bell 2.0 (-1.5)
    Barbara Kuriger, 2.0
    Melissa Lee 2.0 (-1.0)
    Tracey Martin 2.0 (-2.0)
    Clayton Mitchell 2.0
    Pita Paraone 2.0
    Stuart Smith 2.0
    Rino Tirakatene 2.0 (-0.5)

Top Labour MPs

  1. Annette King 6.5 (-1.0)
  2. Andrew Little 6.0 (-1.0)
    Phil Twyford 6.0 (nc)
    Kelvin Davis 6.0

Top Third Party MPs

  1. David Seymour 8.5
  2. Winston Peters 7.0 (-0.5)
  3. James Shaw 5.5

Biggest Increases

  1. Denis O’Rourke +1.0
    Barbara Stewart +1.0
    Nanaia Mahuta +1.0
    Jan Logie +1.0

Biggest Decreases

  1. David Carter -3.0
  2. Mark Mitchell -2.5
    Grant Ribertson -2.5
    Nick Smith -2.5

Group Ratings

  1. Ministers 5.9 (-0.4)
  2. Cabinet 6.3 (-0.6)
  3. National frontbench 6.7 (-1.0)
  4. Labour frontbench 5.3 (-0.7)
  5. National backbench 3.3 (-1.4)

Basically every group has dropped.

Only 10 MPs got a higher score, 16 MPs stayed the same and 63 MPs got a lower score.

A reminder these are the opinions of the three authors at , not mine. I’d love to publish my own scores for all 121 MPs but I value my relationships too much to do so!

One thing I do agree with is their appraisal of David Seymour as MP of the Year, and I quote them:

While not exactly a political novice – he has form in student politics, and stood unsuccessfully twice in Auckland seats before getting elected, as well as being an adviser to then ACT leader John Banks, 32 year old David Seymour is in his first term in Parliament, he is a novice as a party leader, and coalition member. The surprise is how well he has performed, and the degree to which he seems to have made ACT a potential vote winner again. Sure he made the odd “coq” up, but no more than many of his colleagues.

He has handled his work with dedication, he is “everywhere” and he is a genuine talent. ACT’s charter school policies could turn out to be one of the successes of the coalition in policy terms and his move to ensure bars could open during the Rugby World Cup showed how in touch he is with public thinking. He gets the nod as politician of the year because he is at the vanguard of a new wave of politicians – starting with a back to basics approach both in electorate and Parliamentary work. He’s doing what a minor party should do under MMP – giving support, but making the Govt’s life difficult as well, and he is also doing it tactically. He has proven he can master the Parliamentary bun fight, now he needs to show he can make his party relevant.

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ODT on reshuffles

November 30th, 2015 at 10:55 am by David Farrar

The ODT editorial:

Labour leader Andrew Little has previously said he intends to provide a new look for his team before Christmas, but how he can do that with such a limited number of MPs will need some imagination.

I expect the reshuffle will be relatively minor.

There are a limited number of options for Mr Little.

He wants to lead a so-called new team into next year so the voting public can see Labour is a government-in-waiting.

But surely, if someone is going to set the political stage on fire from the Opposition benches, they will have done so by now.

The Greens have stolen the thunder of Labour by electing relatively unknown James Shaw as co-leader.

Mr Shaw has hogged headlines and is often the first call for media when seeking an alternative opinion to the one espoused by the Government.

I often hear from media that Green MPs respond quicker as they just say what they believe, while Labour MPs have to have multiple conferences to come up with a position on an issue.

Labour’s top three MPs, Mr Little, deputy-leader Annette King and finance spokesman Grant Robertson are all from Wellington.

And from all accounts that will not change. No Australian leader would be electable if his or her top three MPs were all from Canberra.

In all honesty, former failed leaders, Mr Goff, David Shearer and David Cunliffe must go.

However, their personal interests outweigh the best interests of the party, despite anything they may say.

Labour does not look or sound united.

There is a reason for that!

I’ll do another post later today on the actual reshuffle, after it is announced at 11.

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2014/15 NZ Health Survey

November 30th, 2015 at 10:14 am by David Farrar

Lots of interesting data in the latest NZ Health Survey.

Some changes from 2007 to 2015:

  • Smoking rate down from 20.1% to 16.6%
  • 15 to 17 year old smoking rate down from 15.7% to 6.1%
  • Maori smoking rate down from 42.1% to 38.1%
  • Drinking (alcohol) rate down from 83.6% to 79.5%
  • 15 to 17 year old drinking rate down from 74.5% to 57.1%
  • Hazardous drinking rate down from 18.0% to 17.7% (but up from low of 14.9% in 2011)
  • 15 to 17 year old hazardous drinking rate down from 19.5% to 10.8%
  • Obesity rate up from 26.5% to 30.7%
  • 15 to 17 year old obesity rate up from 12.0% to 16.4%

So my conclusions are:

  • Smoking rate steadily dropping and teen smoking rate has plummeted which is good. However 5% target for NZ will not be met without a big drop in the Maori smoking rate.
  • A huge drop in the teen drinking rate, which shows how wrong those are claiming the drinking age needs to increase
  • A drop in the overall drinking rate but an increase in the hazardous drinking rate which means measures should target hazardous drinkers, not all drinkers
  • The obesity rate increase starts young. Even under 5s have a 10% obesity rate, which suggests to me parenting is a major factor. Also cultural factors play a big role – 8% of European children are obese, 7% of Asian children, 15% of Maori children and 30% of Pasifika children.
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More nonsense from Labour on detainees

November 30th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The arrest of a former detainee deported to New Zealand shows why they should remain in Australia where their families and friends can support them, Labour leader Andrew Little says.

This is pretty idiotic. They got deported from Australia because they were committing crime in Australia. So blaming their criminal offending on not being with family and friends is making excuses for criminals.

And Australia has every right to deport serious or persistent criminals who are not Australian citizens, just as we have the same right to deport non New Zealanders who commit crimes.

No wonder Little got nowhere in Australia with his advocacy.

He was not concerned that the arrest would reflect negatively on Labour’s advocacy for Kiwi detainees.

“I expected at some point we would start getting reports of the returned deportees starting to offend here, so it doesn’t surprise me and I doesn’t undermine a thing I’ve said or done.”

Labour has tried to portray them as victims, when the vast majority of them are not. The person who got burgled by this guy is a victim. He is not.

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General Debate 30 November 2015

November 30th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Is the Govt silly enough to force a $20 parcel fee on us?

November 30th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

NZ Post may charge people $20 to receive overseas parcels if the Government slashes the threshold under which items can be bought from foreign websites GST-free.

The new fee of between $15 and $20 per parcel would cover the cost of red tape associated with collecting tax at the border, NZ Post said in a document obtained under the Official Information Act.

People could also expect more delays receiving parcels from overseas, it said.

Customs Minister Nicky Wagner is due to release a consultation document in April that will canvass lowering the $400 threshold under which most overseas internet shopping purchases can be made free of GST and duty.

Retail lobby group Retail NZ has been pushing for the threshold to be slashed or abolished, to put domestic retailers and overseas sellers on a level playing-field paying GST.

But NZ Post said that if the threshold was slashed from $400 to $20 and tax checks continued to take place at the border, then it would need to invest $20 million in a brand new parcel warehouse that would also cost several million dollars a year to operate.

NZ Post said it already incurred costs of $700,000 a year helping facilitate the payment of GST and duties on parcels entering New Zealand.

But if the threshold was slashed it would not be able to absorb the increased costs, it said.

“Based on our preliminary analysis, New Zealand Post’s cost recovery charge is likely to be in the range of $15 to $20 per parcel held at the border for GST collection,” it said.

That meant consumers might expect to pay $65 in administrative charges on low-value items they bought from overseas if an existing $49.25 Customs clearance and biosecurity fee also applied to all items under any new threshold, it said.

Buy $30 of books from overseas and the Government would force you to pay another $65 to receive them. This would be as popular as cold vomit. I hope they see sense.

It is possible there is an economic case for a minor reduction in the de minimis threshold of $400. Maybe at $300 the extra revenue would still exceed the compliance costs. But a reduction to anything like $20 would be economic stupidity and become very hated.


Football corrupt, not just FIFA

November 29th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Transparency International have done a report on FIFA and national football associations. They find:

Between 2011 and 2014 FIFA distributed a minimum of US$2.05 million to each of its 209 member football associations (FAs). This included a one-off payment in 2014 of US$1.05 million following the success of the World Cup. During that same period FIFA also gave US$102 million to the six regional football Confederations. FIFA says the money is for football development. But other than a partial accounting on the FIFA web site, there is no clear way to track what the FAs did with all that money.

  • 81 per cent of FAs have no financial records publicly available
  • 21 per cent of FAs have no websites
  • 85 per cent of FAs publish no activity accounts of what they do

81% have no public accounts and 21% do not even have a website! Yet they get millions of dollars.

Only fourteen out of FIFA’s 209 football associations – Canada, Denmark, England, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Norway, Portugal, the Republic of Ireland and Sweden – publish the minimum amount of information necessary to let people know what they do, how they spend their money and what values they believe in.

Well done Football New Zealand.

42% of FIFA members publish no relevant information about their organisations.

They propose:

FIFA should mandate through a change in its statutes that all its members must make publicly available the following information as a pre-requisite for membership and financial assistance: audited financial accounts, an annual activities report, code of conduct/ethics3 and organisational statutes. This should supersede national legal requirements if they are less rigorous.

Seems a good idea to me. You want the money, you need to have some transparency.

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The 20 top paid public servants

November 29th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The SSC has released CEO salary data. The 20 CEOs who got paid the most last financial year (which may not be the same as their normal salary) were:

  1. Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation $830,000 to $839,999
  2. Accident Compensation Corporation $760,000 to $769,999
  3. University of Auckland $680,000 to $689,999
  4. Commissioner of Police $680,000 to $689,999
  5. New Zealand Transport Agency $660,000 to $669,9991
  6. State Services Commissioner $650,000 to $659,999
  7. Auckland DHB $640,000 to $649,999
  8. Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force $630,000 to $639,999
  9. Ministry of Education $620,000 to $629,999
  10. The Treasury $610,000 to $619,999
  11. Solicitor-General $600,000 to $609,999
  12. New Zealand Tourism Board (Tourism New Zealand) $590,000 to $599,999
  13. Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment $580,000 to $589,999
  14. Ministry of Social Development $580,000 to $589,999
  15. Canterbury DHB $570,000 to $579,999
  16. Capital and Coast DHB $570,000 to $579,999
  17. Callaghan Innovation $570,000 to $579,999
  18. New Zealand Trade and Enterprise $570,000 to $579,999
  19. University of Otago $560,000 to $569,999
  20. Controller and Auditor-General $560,000 to $569,999

Don’t lie on immigration forms

November 29th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

An immigrant family faces being kicked out of the country after their mother failed to include details of her disabled son on her residence application.

Kirsten Biltoft and her three boys immigrated from Denmark in 2011 after a divorce.

She was granted a business visa and her sons, including youngest Rosario, were given student visas.

In 2012 Biltoft applied for residency with Rosario but later withdrew him from her application after advice their applications would be denied because of his health.

Rosario, who is a 16-year-old with Down Syndrome and autism, has delayed development and functions at the level of a two-year-old.

So you knew you would be declined, filed a false application that omitted to mention him, and now complain to the media?

I have great empathy for the family, but if you decide to deliberately hide relevant information, then it is no surprise that you get into trouble.