$100 million for cleaner waterways

September 3rd, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

National has announced:

A re-elected National-led Government will spend $100 million over 10 years to buy and retire selected areas of farmland next to important waterways to create an environmental buffer that helps improve water quality.

National will also introduce a mandatory requirement to exclude dairy cattle from waterways.

National’s Environment Spokeswoman, Amy Adams, and Primary Industries spokesman Nathan Guy made the announcement at the Waituna Lagoon in Southland with Prime Minister and National Party Leader John Key today.

“New Zealand’s freshwater makes us an incredibly lucky country. We have over 400,000 kilometres of rivers and more than 4,000 lakes,” Ms Adams says.

“New Zealand’s water is among the very best in the world and we want to keep it that way. These are the next steps in our considered and sensible plan to continual improvements in freshwater quality.

“We are particularly committed to improving the quality of our freshwater and have made a number of key decisions that previous governments have put in the too-hard basket.

“This Government has introduced national standards for freshwater to safeguard it for future generations,” Ms Adams says. “That new framework will give communities around the country the tools to maintain and improve the quality of their lakes and rivers.

“To continue this progress, the next National-led Government will invest $100 million over 10 years to further enhance the quality of freshwater through a targeted fund to buy and retire areas of farmland next to waterways.

This seems like a moderate sensible policy. We all want cleaner waterways, but the extreme solutions of the Greens would see our national dairy herd reduce by at least 20%, with a corresponding fall in exports and incomes.

National will also introduce a requirement to exclude dairy cattle from waterways by 1 July 2017, and will work with industry to exclude other cattle from waterways over time on intensively farmed lowland properties, says Ms Adams.

“National is committed to building a stronger economy, particularly in our regions. We are also determined to improve the quality of our environment at the same time, and we are confident we can achieve both.”

Mr Guy says dairy farmers have done a fantastic job addressing some of the key environmental issues they face, and they have fenced over 23,000 kilometres of waterways – over 90 per cent of all dairy farm waterways.

“This is an incredible undertaking to do voluntarily. At the end of the day, farmers are environmentalists; they want to leave their land in a better state for their children, and their grandchildren.

Farmers are not the enemy.

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Green MP says cave living is okay!

September 3rd, 2014 at 1:01 pm by David Farrar

A reader writes in:

Tonight at a public meeting in Rotorua that I attended, Catherine Delahunty made an interesting interjection.

After an ACT candidate argued that unduly restrictive policies would have us all living in caves again, Catherine interjected:

“there’s nothing wrong with living in caves”

I trust the reader that this is an accurate recollection of the quote. Would be interested to hear from anyone else at that meeting, who can confirm it.

Good to have the Greens not deny the impact of their policies :-)

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On Labour’s Capital Gains Tax

September 3rd, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

A parliamentary staffer notes to me:

Not sure how Cunliffe’s attempt to clarify Labour’s CGT squares with the summary below in their policy document, which doesn’t specifically exclude family homes owned by trusts, and in fact says trusts could not be used to avoid the CGT.

Excluding trust-owned houses from a CGT would seem to raise questions about whether different trustees of the same trust, who live in different houses, would be exempt from a CGT on a number of properties, which would become complicated and costly in terms of foregone revenue.

I also wonder whether Labour’s revenue forecasts were counting on homes held in trusts being included? After all David Cunliffe has said their Capital Gains Trust will lead to families and businesses paying an extra $4 to $5 billion a year in tax.

In Labour’s policy summary their exemptions are:

Exemptions: The family home, personal assets, collectables, small business assets sold for retirement and payouts from retirement savings schemes, including KiwiSaver, will be exempt.

It is not at all clear whether this exemption includes family homes in trusts. I expect the IRD will need to hire hundreds of new staff to deal with such a complex CGT.

I support NZ having a Capital Gains Tax, so long as income and company tax rates fall to compensate. But the CGT should be like GST – with almost no exemptions. Labour’s one is so complicated even the guy who designed it (Cunliffe was Finance Spokesperson when Labour adopted it) doesn’t know how it works.

Rob Hosing at NBR also makes a good point. He states that property speculators are already taxed if they buy and sell property to make capital gains. He gives an example of how someone in Auckland who buys a house for $750,000 and sells it a year later for $900,000 will pay (probably) 33% of the $150,000 profit if they are a property speculator.

Under the current law their tax bill would be $49,500. Under Labour’s Capital Gains Tax they will pay just 15% on their capital gain, so just $22,500 in tax.

Now it is hard to prove someone is a property speculator but National gave the IRD $6.65 million to enforce the current law more vigorously and this lead to an extra $57 million in tax revenue from property speculators.

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Bob Jones voting National for first time since 1981

September 3rd, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Sir Bob Jones writes:

When I wrote recently that this election was done and dusted, a storm of protest erupted on the New Zealand Herald’s website from Labour’s deeply unattractive, rabid tribalists.

Abuse aside, the common theme was that I’m a die-hard National supporter. That gave great amusement given that I last voted National in 1981. Excepting the New Zealand Party in 1984 and later Act twice, I’ve voted Labour ever since.

So in seven of the last nine elections, Bob Jones has voted Labour.

Policies, not parties are my guide. But while I’ve given financial support to Labour MP friends, I certainly don’t want to see a change of government.

I wonder which Labour MPs will declare donations from Sir Bob?

Aside from other disturbing considerations, a Labour government is currently only possible by incorporating the most abysmal line-up of no-hopers ever to have presented themselves in our history. The Nats’ rowing boat television advertisement is spot-on; consequently, this time National will get my party vote, although I’ll opt for the Labour seat incumbent.

A Labour-Green-NZ First-Mana-Internet Government propped up by Kim Dotcom makes many shudder.

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Vote early, don’t vote often

September 3rd, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Advance voting has started in most, if not all, electorates in New Zealand. From today you can go to an advance voting booth and cast your party and electorate vote. You can find advance voting booths here.

If you think there is even a remote chance you may be busy on election day, then make sure your vote counts and vote now. Don’t put it off. You do not need a reason to advance vote – anyone can do it.

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A train set for Christchurch

September 3rd, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Press editorial:

Labour leader David Cunliffe promised that if a Labour-led government were elected it would devote $100 million to create a commuter rail service in Canterbury. …

The idea of a rail link has superficial appeal but it is one that needs to be carefully examined. Cunliffe appears to be getting a little ahead of himself in making a commitment before its overall feasibility has been established. Environment Canterbury, which is responsible for public transport in the region, the Transport Agency, and the Waimakariri District and Christchurch City councils, all of whom have an obvious interest in solving the problem, decided earlier this year that a rail proposal they had closely looked at would be too expensive and would not deliver people to their places of work.

But nevertheless Labour will throw $100 million of our money at it!

In general, bright-eyed rail schemes have a terrible habit of incurring huge cost over-runs and turning out to be expensive white elephants. One in Edinburgh recently has crippled the city’s finances. Christchurch people in particular have no great love for public transport. The last commuter trains were dumped decades ago for lack of patronage. Buses are much more responsive to demand than trains and Christchurch people shun buses in droves.

Trains also require a huge commitment of public money. Nowhere in the world do they make money. Cunliffe’s proposal speaks of a $100 million commitment (a suspiciously low figure) but says nothing about extra ancillary costs and running losses. The day of the train might come eventually, but Christchurch’s finances are under enough strain already without the burden of a punt on rail now.

So taxpayers would incur the initial cost, and then ratepayers saddled with the white elephant’s running costs.

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Labour joins National in promising a flag referendum

September 3rd, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour would also review the design of the New Zealand flag, with the party saying “the time has come for a change and it is right for the issue to be put to the public”.

“We would however support the ability of the RSA and similar organisations to continue to fly the current flag if they so wish. New Zealand changed its national anthem from ‘God Save the Queen’ on a gradual, optional basis and that process worked,” the policy statement says.

Prime Minister John Key has also already announced a referendum would be held on the flag in the next parliamentary term, saying it was his personal preference to see it changed.

This is good. It means that New Zealanders should get to have a vote on the flag, regardless of who wins the election.

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General Debate 3 September 2014

September 3rd, 2014 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel
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2nd debate verdicts

September 3rd, 2014 at 6:10 am by David Farrar

Various journalists rate the 2nd debate. From the Herald:

John Armstrong, political correspondent
Winner: John Key
Slaughter-time. Unfortunately for David Cunliffe, lightning does strike twice in the same place. For the second time in successive elections, the Labour leader has come a cropper at the hands of John Key during the Christchurch Press leaders’ debate. For Phil Goff, it was being unable to say where the money was coming from; for Cunliffe it was detail about how Labour’s capital gains tax would apply to homes in family trusts. Cunliffe could not provide an answer. He should have known. He froze. He bore the demeanour of a freshly-killed sheep hanging from a hook at the local freezing works.

Audrey Young, political editor
Winner: John Key
Lightning does strike twice. John Key won the Press debate three years ago when Phil Goff didn’t know the answer to a question, the “show me the money” moment. It happened again in last night’s debate when David Cunliffe didn’t know the answer to a question on his own capital gains tax and trusts. Key answered the question himself. It was a calculated ambush and it wounded Cunliffe. You felt embarrassed for him.

Toby Manhire, columnist
Winner: John Key

It wasn’t quite a repeat of “show me the money” from 2011, but when John Key challenged David Cunliffe on trusts and capital gains, he rattled him.

Fran O’Sullivan, columnist
Winner: John Key

John Key was pumped with all the energy of a barrow boy, ramping up the fear factor about Labour’s “five new taxes” and catching David Cunliffe out when it came to the detail on Labour’s capital gains tax.

And on Stuff from Vernon Small:

Call it a tie.

Prime Minister John Key and David Cunliffe went head to head in the Press leaders debate in a far more even contest than the first televised TVNZ debate.

Patrick Gower at 3 News:

John “The Bantam” Key was back in the Christchurch Press debate this evening.

He was steely, uppity and aggressive, butting in lots and taking the “interrupter” role from David Cunliffe – and plenty of punters won’t like that.

There is a fine line between Bantam and Brat, but Key landed a blow on Cunliffe over the Capital Gains Tax that left the Labour leader flummoxed and rattled.

Cunliffe could not answer Key’s question about whether family homes in Trusts would be exempt from the tax - but he should have been able to, as he developed the policy.

One News:

John Key landed a blow on David Cunliffe over Labour’s planned capital gains tax in a fiery leaders debate in Christchurch.

ONE News political reporters say The Press leaders debate seemed pretty even until the National leader turned to his Labour counterpart and asked: “Will I pay a capital gains tax if my family home is in a trust?”

Labour are now claiming that there will not be capital gains tax on your home, if it is in a family trust, but that isn’t in their policy. I think you call it an urgent clarification.

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Pupil power

September 2nd, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The ODT reports:

Who said school rules can’t be changed?

The Waikouaiti School board of trustees has thrown out one of its longstanding school rules after two of its pupils presented a convincing case to the board.

Tamati Sagar and Aaron Jones (both 10) love climbing trees, but the practice is banned for safety reasons.

The duo surveyed all the school’s parents and found about 90% of them were in favour of allowing their children to climb trees during break times.

The boys prepared a pie chart on their findings and presented it to the board of trustees and school staff.

Board members were so impressed they relaxed the school rule three weeks ago, and children are now enjoying the freedom to climb trees in the playground.

Great to see aspiring pollsters doing well!

But also great to see a little less nanny state applying at a school. Kids have accidents as part of having fun. The risk should not prevent them having fun.

I recall there was a little fort in a tree at Island Bay Primary School. One of the 4x2s fell off and landed on my head. It hurt and there was a fair bit of blood, but no one said we should ban tree forts. The answer was just to make them more secure!

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OUSA President praises @peace for Kill the PM song

September 2nd, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

OUSA President Ruby Sycamore Smith wrote in this week’s Critic:

We’ve launched an interview this week with HomeBrew and @peace artist Tom Scott. I had the pleasure of interviewing him and watching him be a part of the Enrolment Party that we hosted a few weeks ago (thank you Generation Zero and their enrolment support, and thanks to RockEnrol for stealing the spotlight on TV3). Tom Scott’s a talented and creative musician who is passionate about getting you out there to vote in these elections. Wake up to your rights as citizens 

in New Zealand. His mantra is fantastic, and he’s super cheeky about it. Recently he wrote a song entitled “Kill the PM.” Yes this is naughty, but I think the amount of media coverage and the huge slur around this is unnecessary, what about our rights as citizens to speak our own opinions. 

All the young women at Otago University might want to reflect on the fact their student president thinks a song expressing a desire to kill the Prime Minister and implicitly rape his daughter is just a bit naughty, and that criticism of the song is a slur, and that there is a right to express an opinion that you want to implicitly rape someone to piss off their father.

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Taxpayers’ Union bribe-o-meter now includes minor parties

September 2nd, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Taxpayers Union announced:

We’ve added the Green, ACT, United Future and Conservative Parties to the ‘Bribe-O-Meter’ election costing page launched last month.  Excluding ACT and New Zealand First, the total election ‘bribes’ – that is new spending not already in the budget covering the next parliamentary term, equals $12.7 billion, or $7,486 per household.

We’re delighted that the Bribe-O-Meter is enabling Kiwis to judge for themselves the various bribes this election. With the addition of the minor parties voters can assess which political parties are offering taxpayers value for money.

Currently National’s election promises add up to $329 per household. The equivalent figure for Labour is $2,776, the Greens $2,893, United Future $1,253, and the Conservatives $236. ACT is in the negative, committing to cut spending by $6,876 per household.

A lack of detail in New Zealand First’s policy documents has made it impossible for the Union’s independent expert, Dr Michael Dunn, to calculate credible figures for the Party’s inclusion in the Bribe-O-Meter.  Public and private requests to New Zealand First have, to date, not resulted in amelioration. New Zealand First apparently just doesn’t have the information. It appears that Mr Peters makes promises to all and sundry, but no one at his office is adding up the cost.

These costings are independent of the parties’ and done by Dr Dunn who is a former head of forecasting at IRD. I think this is a vital service that taxpayers can understand how much extra spending parties are promising to spend on their behalf, funded by taxpayers.

It’s appalling that NZ First have such nonsense policies, that it is basically impossible to even cost them!

bribes

Note the above is a screen-shot. Use the link below to click through to get more details.

The bribe-o-meter is here. It will continue to be updated as parties continue to make promises about how they will spend your money.

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Greens wages policy

September 2nd, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Greens wages policy is here. Some extracts:

As a first step to restore workplace fairness, the Green Party will increase the minimum wage to $15 immediately, in December 2014. We will then raise it in $1 steps on April 1st each year, so that it reaches $16 on April 1 2015, $17 on April 1 2016, and $18 on April 1 2017.

They also want to abolish the starting off wage, so they want to make it illegal to hire a 16 year old for less than $18 an hour!

The minimum wage in NZ is very high compared to the median wage. It is set at 66%. This policy would see it go to close to 85% (less any increase in median wages by 2017). The Department of Labour estimates this policy would see 24,000 lose their jobs, and go onto welfare.

Treasury have said that the minimum wage in New Zealand is the highest in the OECD compared to the average wage (at 49%) and third highest compared to the median wage.

National has increased the minimum wage by 19% in six years. Combined with tax cuts, the after tax income of someone on the minimum wage has gone up 27%. Adjusted for inflation a minimum wage worker has had a real income boost of 11%.

There is no case for the massive increases in the minimum wage, proposed by the Greens. We already have almost the highest in the world compared to median and average wages.

The Green Party also supports the Living Wage Movement, which has established that a typical family needs a wage of $18.80 to buy the
basics and participate in society. In order to lead by example, the Green Party will pay the Living Wage to all core public service staff,
and require all relevant Government contractors to pay a Living Wage when their contracts come up for renewal.

This will mean a de facto $18.40 minimum wage for most of NZ. There are very few companies that don’t have a government agency as a client. If you run a photocopier business, and supply services to a government agency, then you’ll have to pay the 16 year old intern $18.40 an hour!

As another major step towards a more stable and secure future for workers, we will implement recommendations from business, Government and unions for a statutory minimum redundancy payment for all staff equivalent to four weeks’ pay

And as part of this:

These changes will give workers more stability, and discourage unnecessary restructuring. In the case of large-scale redundancies, we will also fund union delegates to work with staff for 3-6 months to support them through the transition

This is the real policy – to have taxpayers fund unions.

We will also incorporate pay ratios into Government procurement policies.

So the Greens in Government will ban companies from gaining Government contracts, even if they are the cheapest and best provider, if they think their CEOs are paid too much!!!

The Green Party will work with the Union movement to see how the terms and conditions of unionised workers can be extended to others in their industries, whether through the Council of Trade Unions’ Extension Bargaining model or other policies

De facto compulsory unionism to return!! Joy. And hey by coincidence those unions are major donors to parties on the left.

To tackle the unacceptable face of precarious work, the Green Party will introduce laws banning zero-hours agreements, as part of greater
regulation of hours of work.

This is insane. This means a company would have to pay casual staff, even when there is no actual work to do.

Increasing the minimum wage will cost $1.1 billion over three years, owing to higher Government staffing costs, especially in the health
sector. However, that will be offset by increased tax revenue from wages of $1.9 billion over three years.

This is economic failure of the highest kind. They are counting the extra tax from higher wages, yet have ignored the fact companies paying those higher wages will have smaller profits and pay less tax. And low paid workers pay tax at around 15% and companies at 28% so here’s the actual cost of this policy:

  • $1.1 billion in higher government staff costs
  • Extra PAYE tax from higher wages -$1.9 billion
  • Less company tax from lower profits – $3.5 billion

So the actual fiscal impact of this policy would be $2.7 billion, not the claimed $800 million savings.

Now think about the economic incompetence of a party that doesn’t realise that profits fall if wages increase. And think about how massive that deficit will be if these people are making economic decisions in a Cabinet!

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Kiwiblog Moderation Discussion #1

September 2nd, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

As I previously indicated, I plan to make some changes around moderation of comments effective 1 October.  While I am firm in deciding to make change (and it is my blog) I am keen for feedback on various changes that may or may not be made. I plan to do this via a series of posts discussing some issues.

I still want this as a forum for robust debate, and knocking back of ill informed views. But I want it to be a place where more people are keen to engage.

The two initial issues are this

1. Should there be more moderation in posts on specific issues and a lesser standard of moderation in General Debate?

My thinking here is that people go to General Debate just to have a vigorous exchange of views on, well pretty much everything. Only hard core readers go into it, unlike other posts where people with an interest in the topic may want to go in and contribute.

So as a way to still allow people to vigorously debate issues and personalities, General Debate would have very light moderation (defamation, extreme abuse ruled out only). However all the other posts each day would have tighter moderation,  with comments that are disruptive to the discussion earning some sort of sanction (which I’ll discuss in a separate post) or being edited or deleted.

To me it seems this would still allow rather robust debate in one area (think of it as a quarantine), and more focused debate in the other posts.

2. Should greater leeway be given to people who post under their own names, or are clearly identifiable?

My default thinking is that if someone is willing to make comments under their own name, and accept the consequences of those comments being attributed to them, then they should get greater leeway to comment robustly (short of defamation or over the top abuse). The fact they have to “wear” their comments tends to act as a incentive to be less inflammatory.

However I am a strong believer that people should be able to post under a pseudonym here. Many people have a very valid reasons to not want to post under their name – for work or family reasons. However if you choose not to use your actual name, should there be less tolerance of comments where (for example) you may attack actual identified people. It is a bit unfair to those who do post publicly, to have comments made by those who won’t accept responsibility under their name for comments.

This would not be a black and white situation where those posting under their names can get away with saying anything at all, and those using a pseudonym can’t criticise others at all. It is more than in situations where the comments are marginal, those posting under their actual names would get the benefit of the doubt more.

Welcome feedback on these two issues. I’ve also got two polls in the sidebar so you can vote on them, if you don’t want to comment. I recognise again that some people may think there should be no change at all, but there will be change.

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Heffernan says Labour’s power policy is nationalisation

September 2nd, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Doug Heffernan is not a fan of what Labour and the Greens plan to do to the electricity sector.

Dr Heffernan retired last Friday as chief executive of Mighty River Power after nearly 40 years in the industry, during which he witnessed radical structural changes.

He worked for the New Zealand Electricity Department and its corporatised successor, ECNZ. He was chief executive of Power New Zealand, before the local power companies were split into lines and retail energy businesses.

And he had been chief executive of Mighty River Power since it was carved out of ECNZ as a state-owned enterprise and latterly as a listed company under the mixed-ownership model. …

Under the NZED central planning model, nearly every generation investment decision was a bad one, he said, citing Marsden B (built to run on oil but which never generated a single kilowatt hour), the Clyde Dam with its massive over-runs and Huntly, designed to run on coal but which spent most of its life gas-fired.

“I’m old enough to remember the shortages in the 1970s because someone made the wrong decision about what plant to run. Same thing happened in 1992. We actually ran out of electricity,” he said.

California also has a single buyer model and they are warning they may need blackouts.

“That is what has surprised me over my career. To go from a position where you think the smartest brains would work out the best thing to do, to a system where a diversity of thinking has created far better outcomes.”

Dr Heffernan sees the single-buyer model as a form of nationalisation. “They say, yes, it is someone else’s capital but we will control the outcomes. That’s equivalent of having nationalised the industry.”

Of their many bad policies, this is arguably the worst. Even the man they cite as the inspiration for the policy, Frank Wolak, has lashed it as being a very bad move.

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Tree prosecutions unwarranted

September 2nd, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Kapiti Coast District Council’s prosecution of two elderly Otaki couples for trimming native trees was “inappropriate”, and “fell short of what was needed”, according to an independent review.

“The overall criminality was minimal,” the report, commissioned by the council from Wellington QC Richard Fowler, says.

“A mere warning would probably have been the most appropriate, or at worst an infringement notice.”

The council laid charges against Peter and Diana Standen, 77 and 74, and Keith and Lorraine McLeavey, 72 and 68, last year for modifying naturally occurring native trees on their properties. It withdrew them when an Environment Court judge dismissed charges against the McLeaveys as “trivial offending”.

This was a Council at its zealous worse. Of course they should not have been prosecuted. In fact there shouldn’t even be any restrictions on what home owners can do with trees they own on their properties – unless the trees are of outstanding heritage value.

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PPTA on Investing in Educational Success

September 2nd, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The PPTA has a blog post on some of the misinformation on the Investing in Educational Success initiative.  They state they are supportive of it because:

IES is a political initiative because it comes from the party that is in government and because it’s election year but its aims are entirely consistent with PPTA professional policy around such things as:

  • collaboration between schools

  • openness and the sharing of expertise

  • career paths –  especially for new and beginning teachers.

They deal with five myths being put out:

  1. That the proposal in the cabinet paper is the same policy that is now being negotiated – it has changed.
  2. That it will be mandatory – you can’t force people to collaborate
  3. No such role as a super principal – now called community of schools leadership role
  4. It is not performance pay – they are regular roles with an allowance
  5. There is no final agreement, just an interim agreement, which may lead to a proposal to take to members

Now the PPTA don’t say who is putting out the misinformation, but pretty easy to do a search on the Internet and find this release a few days ago from the NZEI:

The IES policy proposes the creation of four new roles, including an extra $40,000pa for “executive principals” and “expert teachers”, who would mentor and manage across a cluster of 10 schools, with the aim of lifting student achievement. “Change principals” and “lead teachers” would also be created.

So the NZEI is using role titles which they know are outdated, and no longer part of the proposal. But as they are acting in bad faith, they try to hoodwink their members and the public on what the current proposal actually is.

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General Debate 2 September 2014

September 2nd, 2014 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel
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So incredibly sad

September 2nd, 2014 at 7:05 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Two Work and Income staff made a desperate dash for the back door of their Ashburton office when the shooting started.

Homeless beneficiary Russel John Tully, 48, was yesterday arrested following the shooting of three women at the office, two fatally.

Lindy Curtis was last night in a stable condition in Christchurch Hospital with leg injuries. Peg Noble was on reception when a gunman walked into the office and shot her in the chest. A third woman was also killed.

Noble was 10 minutes from her tea break when she was shot at close range.

Yesterday, friend Elizabeth Rees said Noble was a second mother to her daughter, Kim, who worked in the same office.

Kim was due to relieve Noble on reception and had a narrow escape.

”She’s been crying and crying. She came home, saw her kids and it hit her,” Rees said.

Her daughter and another staff member had run for their lives to the back door of the office and then out to the street, Rees said.

I don’t think I can even understand the trauma the staff have gone through, let alone the impact on families and friends of those killed.

Noble had worked for Work and Income for 20 years and was supposed to retire years ago but loved her job.

”She lived for her job,” Rees said. ”She had a heart of gold and would do anything for you.”

If found guilty, I hope Mr Tully is basically never released.

The Herald reports:

Former Green MP Sue Bradford has drawn an outraged response after saying the Government’s “brutal policies” led to today’s attack on Ashburton Work and Income staff.

Ms Bradford, a life-long unemployment activist who now lectures in social practice at Unitec, tweeted: “Shocking news coming in of Work & Income shooting: awful, but a risk when office becomes front for brutal policies.”

Internet Party Kelston candidate Roshni Sami tweeted in support: “Nats brag that 1600 people p/w move off welfare into jobs, in reality they’re pushed off welfare into hardship. Shame!”

But a string of other people following Ms Bradford on Twitter attacked her for the original comment.

“Not appropriate Sue. Of all people you should know that,” tweeted Auckland psychotherapist Kyle MacDonald.

Media monitoring worker Regan Gibbons tweeted, “Really Sue, you couldn’t give it a day before politicising this tragedy?”

Others described the tweet as “a sick comment”, “a total disgrace” and “disgusting.” One tweeted: “You are an opportunistic, moralising windbag.”

I don’t what to even call such behaviour. If blaming rape victims for getting raped is called rape culture, is this murder culture? Good on those who called Bradford and the Internet Party candidate out. I had a couple of people also try to blame the victims or their employers on Twitter and Facebook, and instantly blocked them.

Ms Bradford said she sent out the tweet – which has since been deleted – before knowing that two people had been killed and her sympathies were with the workers who died.

Oh so in Sue’s world it is okay to blame the Government for the shooting if they were just wounded, but not okay if they were killed? Really?

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Inquiries galore

September 2nd, 2014 at 6:52 am by David Farrar

There’s now three major inquiries underway in relation to the e-mails published in the Nicky Hager book, and subsequently.

Here’s my take on them.

  1. Police inquiry into the hacking of Cameron Slater’s messages. This is pretty straight forward in that the hacker has clearly broken the law, and off memory could face charges with a maximum seven years imprisonment if identified and convicted. What is less clear is whether Hager has broken any laws. Legal friends have suggested a case can be made for receiving stolen property.  IANAL so don’t know where this will end up.
  2. IGIS inquiry into the OIA release showing Phil Goff had not told the truth about being briefed about the Israelis in Christchurch. The Inspector-General has issued subpoenas and is taking evidence under oath, using the new powers granted by this Government and Parliament. I have confidence it will be a robust inquiry. I would point out that the inquiry is not about classified or secret information. It is about information that was deemed suitable to publish under the OIA. I’m not totally surprised that some people in Government *may* have got a bit talkative when informed that a document was going to be released directly contradicting a statement made by the Leader of the Opposition.
  3. Some sort of high level inquiry into the behaviour of the Minister responsible for the SFO in relations to the then Director Adam Feeley.  This is an appropriate issue for an inquiry, as it is about behaviour of a Minister in relation to their ministerial duties. It is not a criminal or legal matter. Arguably it could be an employment issues. The inquiry sounds like it will be robust headed by a retired Judge or QC, and have the ability to take evidence under oath.

Now David Cunliffe is calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into basically the entire Hager book. With respect, this is breathless hysteria that verges on McCarthyism. Labour thinks that the fact a press secretary and some MPs have had conversations with a blogger, is something that needs a Royal Commission of Inquiry. Seriously? Where would it end? Should this Commission of Inquiry require evidence from every media outlet in NZ, requiring their journalists to disclose under oath all their dealings with Whale Oil? Should all Labour MPs and candidates be required to do the same, or just National MPs? Why just dealing with one blogger? Should the inquiry include people who have ever talked to me? How about people who have talked to left wing blogs? You see why I call it verging on McCarthyism.  And this is from the party that won’t even confirm how many staff who work for David Cunliffe have blogged under a pseudonym at left wing blogs.

That is not to say some of the revelations in the e-mails are not disturbing. I don’t know if Mark Hotchin was involved in trying to undermine the SFO, because he was under investigation by them. If so, that is very serious. But it is a potentially criminal matter that the Police are capable of investigating, and I presume are already assessing the evidence to make appropriate decisions.

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Mana candidate lashes Dotcom

September 1st, 2014 at 7:07 pm by David Farrar

3 News reports:

Internet Mana candidate Georgina Beyer has gone rogue and come out swinging at her party’s so-called visionary, Kim Dotcom.

She says he’s pulling the strings and is in politics for all the wrong reasons – including revenge.

Internet Mana’s the party that’s big on going big – big names, big productions, big personalities. But now it seems it’s got big problems too.

“Who is pulling the strings? Well, the big man himself,” says Ms Beyer.

Ms Beyer, a former Labour MP and New Zealand’s first transgender MP, is Mana’s candidate in the southern Maori seat of Te Tai Tonga.

She believes Dotcom is tearing her party apart.

“His reasons for becoming involved in New Zealand politics in the way he has is one of retribution against people who he feels have slighted him,” says Ms Beyer.

If Georgina Beyer can work it out, why can’t Hone Harawira or Laila Harre? Maybe it’s the $4 million he has put into the parties they claim to lead.

Beyer also said that she has started to see the leader (Harawira) forfeit some of his strong held beliefs for the sake of political expediency. This presumably is a reference to his u-turn on cannabis law.

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Flavell massively ahead in Waiariki

September 1st, 2014 at 5:41 pm by David Farrar

A Maori TV poll just released of Waiariki has incumbent MP Te Ururoa Flavell on 50%, Annette Sykes from Mana on 21% and the Labour candidate on 17%.

Polls can be out, and Maori seats are hard to poll, but I think there is little doubt that the Maori Party will be back in Parliament. They are also marginally ahead in Te Tai Hauauru. I suspect Tamaki Makaurau may be very close also.

Depending on their party vote, they could get List MPs also. But I don’t think enough to make Tame Iti an MP!

 

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Destination Beehive

September 1st, 2014 at 4:32 pm by David Farrar

Went to Circa yesterday to see Destination Beehive, and I laughed almost non stop for 80 minutes.

It’s a great production that anyone who has even a small interest in politics will adore. Pinky Agnew and Lorae Perry have combined a topical hilarious script, with some great acting and some mashed up tunes that are very catchy.

The basic premise is that you are in a Meet the Candidates meeting for Port Nicholson. Through a combination of video, and live acting, you meet the ten local candidates, and their party leaders (or senior MPs).

The mixture of video, singing, music, acting and even weather reports are a fabulous combination.

A cast of eight play multiple characters. They all did really well, but the one that I must highlight is Jack Buchanan. His Colin Craig character was side splitting. He also played a leggy Jacinda Ardern and the ALCP candidate. some of the costume changes were done in less than a minute.

The play was updated to keep event of currents events. We went on Sunday, and they had a piece on Judith Collins’ resignation the previous day.

Labour had a secret surprise candidate for Port Nic, who may just turn out to be the next Leader of the Labour Party.

One audience members got dragged up onto stage to get a “political makeover”. What was very funny is that unknown to the cast, the person they chose is a senior ministerial staffer. She took her makeover in good grace!

All parties, leaders and candidates are mercilessly mocked. No on is spared. Kim Dotcom makes an appearance, and his local candidate is a very Bavarian Heidi Dotcodotnz.

Crowd favourite was Dame Kate Harcourt playing the NZ First candidate. She was, as always, just superb.

Whale Oil got more mentions than most MPs. Luckily Kiwiblog was mentioned only once!

There are many great musical parodies, including take off’s of Lorde’s Royals. The crowd really got into it, and started singing along.

There’s also a great dance number at the end that will surprise.

This is one of those plays that I can recommend you see without hesitation. It’s on at Circa until 20 September. You’ll kick yourself if you miss it.

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Air NZ fares

September 1st, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Kiwis wanting to travel to some regional centres are faced with an 18-hour bus ride – or forking out hundreds of dollars for an Air New Zealand flight. And, in some centres, it is cheaper to drive a car-load of people than buy a single airfare.

The Herald has compared the cost of Air New Zealand, Naked Bus and private car prices between North Island regional centres and Auckland or Wellington after Air NZ faced criticism this week for the price of its regional airfares. It found travellers could be paying more than 10 times more for the convenience of flying.

Let’s look at their data.

The Herald comparisons were for travellers trying to fly after, or as close to, 5pm on Friday September 12 and returning on Sunday afternoon.

Flying from Auckland to Tauranga return would cost $438 or $1.07/km, while taking a bus would be just $47.97 or 12c/km, according to prices listed on the companies’ websites.

Those times are basically peak times. Yes they cost $438 at peak times. But leave earlier each day, and the cost is only $238.

Personally I would drive Auckland to Tauranga as the drive time is around the same as fly and airport time.

A return flight between Wellington and Palmerston North was $326 or $1.15/km while the same trip on a bus was just $33.97 or 11c/km.

Again if you avoid peak times can be as cheap as $178 return.

But time is money. If your time is not valuable, then a bus is a good idea.

An Air NZ spokeswoman said the business offered close to a million regional seats for under $100 each year, up 400,000 seats in the past five years.

If you want cheap fares, then don’t fly at peak times.

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Stephen Berry on discrimination

September 1st, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

ACT candidate Stephen Berry blogs:

I was an audience member at Auckland’s LGBTI meeting last night. …

Unfortunately it was a poorly attended and largely dreary affair. In 21st century New Zealand politics, homosexuality is so acceptable as to hardly be an issue at all. We watched politicians from across the political spectrum largely agree with each other and Jamie set a new record for being in full agreement with Kevin Hague.

I’m not surprised.

Jamie’s message was spot on when he said that there should be no discrimination whatsoever by the state for any reason. I was glad when he bravely pointed out that this shouldn’t be applied to the sphere of individual’s private lives. Everyone, every day, discriminates against others for a host of minor reasons. If you’re approached by a man in a bar who you find physically unattractive you’d be likely to reject their advances based on that. I would hope nobody would suggest that you’re obligated to accept someone’s physical advances. The Human Rights Act could not possibly list all the different reasons private discrimination should be banned and it shouldn’t even begin to start. Freedom of association is far more important than hurt feelings at your company being rejected.

The difference between state discrimination and private discrimination is crucial.

I’m a proudly gay man at number 6 on the ACT Party list. I don’t know if being gay in itself is anything to be proud of, but I’m very good at it.

Heh.

Assessing some of the answers that were given at the LGBTI forum, I think the biggest danger to the “Rainbow Community” in terms of future discrimination is from itself.

Labour’s Kelly Ellis not only wants discrimination against transgender people banned under the Human Rights Act but the impression I got from her address is that she considers jokes about transgender people to be a form of discrimination in itself. I have to ask, how much freedom of speech does she want to eliminate in order to spare her feelings?

Beware candidates that think removing rights is how you protect rights.

Internet Mana’s Miriam Pierard suggested Parliament have a special representative from the “Rainbow Community” in Parliament (like a Gay Statutory Board?) and said she wanted feedback from others about the idea. I retorted it was a terrible idea and she said, “Well you don’t want a Ministry of Women’s Affairs either.” Exactly Miriam! 

ACT are consistent!

What the aforementioned politicians fail to grasp is the total invalidity of collectivism. I encountered it myself when I took part in a debate at AUT earlier in the day. The pro-compulsory student group politicians were complaining that students have lost their voice under voluntary student membership. I pointed at individual students watching in the quad and said that there is no way that student, and this student, and this other student all have one voice. They are individuals with their own hopes, dreams and visions for their own lives. They are not a blind block of drones standing in formation waiting for their leader to tell them what to say and think.

“We’ve all individuals.” … “I’m not!”

On a private social level, Government can never and should never try to eliminate discrimination. The only moral way to tackle discrimination at a private level is through social pressure and sanction. It is an approach I take myself. It will never be one hundred percent successful, but no measure ever taken by the state ever will be either. It is the moral way to deal with discrimination and leaves our right to decide who we choose to interact with intact.

Discrimination in employment and business services I view differently to discrimination by individuals.

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