The coronial system

July 22nd, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Serious failings and under-resourcing in the coronial system are stopping coroners from preventing further deaths, research has found.

Some coroners feel their recommendations have been falling on deaf ears, according to an Otago University study that looked at more than 600 coroners’ reports.

That’s because so many of their recommendations are daft and impractical.

The failings were evident in the high number of repeated recommendations, particularly in cases of drowning, sudden unexplained infant deaths, and transport accidents.

Research author Jennifer Moore said she wanted the law changed to make the system more effective, but it was unlikely the Government would budge.

About 72 recommendations were vaguely directed, and she believed there should be a mandatory response system in place.

The non silly ones do tend to get a response, but the problem is too many coroners come up with recommendations that are unbalanced. Their aim is to recommend ways to reduce deaths, which is of course a good thing. But some never seem to consider practicality or compliance costs, let alone freedom of choice to do stupid things.

There should also be additional support, training and resources available for coroners, she said.

Coroners did not receive training from a judicial institute, which she said would improve the quality of recommendations. The 17 coroners did not have books with decades of full decisions to refer to, and had to share two assistants.

Now that I would support.

Chief coroner Neil MacLean said the research was a valuable, objective point of view. “We’re already taking on board some of the criticism and I hope the Government will listen to their recommendations.”

Under-resourcing was a particular day-to-day frustration, he said. One of the most effective changes would be making it mandatory for agencies to respond to recommendations directed at them. “The thing about having a rigorous, transparent, mandatory response system is that we can be assured of feedback. We accept that some of the recommendations we make are unbalanced or miscued or directed at the wrong people – we need to know that, so we can do better next time.”

That’s a fair point. The Chief Coroner is, in my opinion, excellent. What I’d rather do is institute better resourcing and training, and then after that review if mandatory responses are a good idea.

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RIP Kevin Skinner

July 22nd, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Legendary All Blacks prop Kevin Skinner has died in Auckland, aged 86.

Skinner died over the weekend, a New Zealand Rugby spokesman confirmed today.

He played 20 tests and 63 games all told for the All Blacks during an international career that spanned 1949 to 1956.

He was a hard-nosed, durable and tough prop who had his finest moments in the 1956 series against South Africa when he came out of retirement for the last two tests and was credited with the being the man who regained the physical edge for the All Blacks.

The All Blacks won the second test 17-10 in Christchurch and the decider 11-5 in Auckland.

Skinner was also renowned for his boxing prowess, and was the 1947 New Zealand heavyweight boxing champion.

His recall for the 3rd test in 1956 was an act of genius. The South African front row were basically thugs, so we decided to play their game. They would grab testicles of the All Blacks and the like.

Skinner floored Koch with a right hook that could be clearly heard far away. I know one of the doctors who was on duty at the local hospital and Koch was still unconscious when he arrived. How Skinner wasn’t sent out, let alone even penalised I don’t know. But it worked – the South Africans stopped playing dirty.

Skinner is reputed to be the most hated All Black in South Africa. That would be a worthy epitaph for his gravestone!

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Pagani advice for Labour

July 22nd, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Josie Pagani blogs at Pundit on what Labour should now do:

First, stop blaming the media. 

The problem isn’t ‘right wing framing’. There isn’t a media conspiracy to get a third term National government. When you fall behind everyone airs their favourite explanation and negatives get repeated and amplified. It’s the job of politicians, not media, to inspire a change in the story. 

National did this also in 2002. It is very tempting to do, but almost always pointless.

Stop saying the polls are close. It reminds voters that Labour aims to lead a bloc in which it might not be all that dominant and which could include the toxic Dotcom party. Tortuous explanations about the Left Bloc v the Right Bloc sound cynical, as if you don’t care about winning support of people.

Distance Labour from Dotcom. One reason for Labour’s poor polling is people just want to get rid of Dotcom and somehow he has become Labour’s problem now. Only because he is an enemy of our enemy.  Labour should only ever say of Dotcom, “he shouldn’t be in the country and National should not have let him in. We want him and his party nowhere near government.”

If Labour did that, I think they would get a very significant boost in the polls. People do not like the idea of a Labour-led Government being subservient to Dotcom.

Stop barking at every passing car. We don’t need a position on every lifestyle or identity issue in the news cycle. Though Labour tries to talk about core themes, like jobs and smaller class sizes, it can’t complain when those subjects get overshadowed by its own policies. 

The temptation of releasing a ‘policy a day’ comes from a lack of confidence that the main themes are strong enough to win. This is a strategy error, not a discipline one. 

I think they are taking this advice on board.

There are no easy pathways now. The party made David Cunliffe leader for his strategy of shoring up the base with a more militant tone. He’s delivered on that strategy but it hasn’t worked. 

Correcting to the centre close to the election carries the seeds of disappointment for those who believed it would work, and has the added downside that the public don’t believe it. 

It’s too late to ditch some of the rhetoric that made people doubt whether you would put them ahead of sectarian interests, but not too late to campaign for  the values that make Labour, Labour.  It’s mission is to represent working people and their families in a broad-based party. So: do that.

I think it is too late to now try and move towards the centre.

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Parliament Today 22 July 2014

July 22nd, 2014 at 1:16 pm by Jordan.M

Questions for Oral Answer

Questions to Ministers 2.00PM-3.00PM.

  1. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his statement: “We have a plan, and that plan is working for New Zealand.”?
  2. Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by all his statements on regional development, if so, how many regions of New Zealand now have a lower number of people unemployed according to the Household Labour Force Survey compared to when he took office?
  3. JAMI-LEE ROSS to the Minister of Finance: What measures has the Government taken to support New Zealand families – particularly through delivering better public services to those most in need?
  4. METIRIA TUREI to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by all his Government’s policies?
  5. ALFRED NGARO to the Minister for Social Development: What reports has she received about the progress of the Government’s welfare reforms?
  6. Hon DAVID PARKER to the Minister of Finance: Has he seen reports that $4 to $5 billion will be sucked out of the economy due to the 35 percent fall in dairy prices since February, and what policy responses, if any, does he intend to make to counteract this?
  7. LOUISE UPSTON to the Minister of Education: What progress is being made on Better Public Services targets in education?
  8. JACINDA ARDERN to the Minister of Police: When was the Minister of Police first informed of the misreporting of Police statistics in Counties Manukau, and what did she do with the information when she first received it?
  9. Hon TAU HENARE to the Minister of Justice: What recent Better Public Services results has she announced for the justice sector?
  10. CHRIS HIPKINS to the Minister of Education: What evidence does she have that the Government’s Investing in Educational Success programme, which removes teachers and principals from their classrooms for two days a week, is the best way to spend over $359 million in order to raise student achievement?
  11. PAUL FOSTER-BELL to the Minister of Conservation: What new initiatives has the Government taken in the Rimutakas and other areas to help the recovery of endangered native bird populations?
  12. Dr KENNEDY GRAHAM to the Minister of Finance: Does he stand by all his statements?

Today Labour are asking about regional development, the fall in dairy prices, police statistics and changes to teaching. The Greens are asking about whether the Prime Minister stands by all his government’s policies, and whether the Minister of Finance stands by all his policies. New Zealand First is asking about New Zealand’s economic outlook.

Patsy of the day goes to Paul Foster-Bell for Question 11: What new initiatives has the Government taken in the Rimutakas and other areas to help the recovery of endangered native bird populations?

Government Bills 3.00PM-6.00PM and 7.30PM-10.00PM.

1. Accounting Infrastructure Reform Bill - Second Reading

2. Land Transport Amendment Bill- Committee Stage

3. Veterans’ Support Bill - Committee Stage

The Accounting Infrastructure Reform Bill is being guided through the house by the Minister of Commerce, Craig Foss. This bill continues the changes begun by the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 and the Financial Reporting Act 2013. It proposes amendments to the rules on who may perform statutory audits, to the restrictions on legal form for audit firms, to the requirement for independent assurance of financial statements for certain charities, and to the rules relating to how the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants structures itself.

The Land Transport Amendment Bill is being guided through the house by the Minister of Transport, Gerry Brownlee. This bill seeks to lower the adults legal alcohol limits from 400 micrograms (mcg) of alcohol per litre of breath to 250mcg, and from 80 milligrams (mg) of alcohol per 100 Millilitres (ml) of blood to 50mg.

The Veterans’ Support Bill is being guided through the house by the Minister for Veteran’s Affairs, Michael Woodhouse. This bill proposes a new support scheme for veterans of military service that would replace the current scheme prescribed in the War Pensions Act 1954.

 

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The gap closes with Australia

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

austmigration

 

The latest monthly migration stats are out.

It is looking pretty likely that in the next year we will have positive net migration from Australia for the first time ever. But I don’t think it will happen before the election. I am looking forward to Labour and NZ First campaigning on we have too many Australians living here.

The net migration with Australia was 20 more departures than arrivals in June 2014 month and 8,250 for the year.

In June 2013 the net loss was 3,210 for the month and 21,560 for the year.

In June 2012 the net loss was 4,590 for the month and 39,680 for the year.

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Hauiti quits

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

The Herald reports:

National list MP Claudette Hauiti has decided to withdraw from the election and politics altogether.

She has already been selected as National’s candidate in the Kelston electorate, which is thought to be a safe Labour seat.

She told National MPs at their caucus meeting this morning.

Her decision comes a few days before National releases its list ranking and Ms Hauiti may have been warned she would get a low list ranking.

A tough decision, not but I think the right one. When you come in mid-term it is hard to make an impact in terms of achievements, and her lapses of judgement will have been a factor. I wish Claudette well.

It is worth noting that when the credit card receipts came out for the last Labour Government, Ministers had charged up all sorts of personal expenses ranging from mountain bikes to golf clubs – with no repercussions. However we are now in an era where (rightfully) there is greater scrutiny and less tolerance of such occurrences – even if repaid.

This is not the first time National has had to do a second selection. They also did one for Tamaki in 2011 when the selected candidate and MP (Allan Peachey) stood down very late (due to ill health).

UPDATE: Typo above corrected.

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Tau’s Twitter valedictory

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

Tau Henare tweeted yesterday an online valedictory. You can see it all here. Some highlights:

  • Some stuff I did in 15 years as MP, $15 million for Maori Language
  • Was part of turning around National to see that Independance was good for #EastTimor
  • Funded the innovative housing programme for Ngai Tai, great scheme, Eastern BoP
  • The biggest thanks go to my #Wife. For all the shit you put up with both from me and politics. Love you forever and beyond.
  • Returned some of our Ancestors from their “trip” to England
  • Invited French Prim Minister to #APEC, forgot they weren’t part of #APEC
  • My words to French PM, “ill see you in Auckland for APEC, he said But we are not members, I said “Well you should be”
  • Was intrdcd to DukeofEd, he asked what I did, I explained to him that I was a list MP, he sd “Oh one of those that don’t do anything” I said Yeah just like you, he laughed out loud. #CheekyBugger but very well informed lol
  • I passed the #TeAhoMatua Kura Kaupapa Maori Philosophy/Guiding principles into Legislation. 1st time ever a philosophy passed into Law
  • Met Clinton and gave him a #Toki I told him it was used for dispatching enemies. He said he would have it in the #OvalOffice ready to use.
  • Intorduced Maori Reserved Land Legislation, 1st part of getting rid of Glasgow type leases on Maori Land.
  • Chaired the Maori Affairs Select Committee for 6 years. The most bi-partisan com in Prlmnt. A ton of Treaty Legislation. Big thanks to mbrs.
  • Got booted from the House 7 times in one year. #OOPS
  • Apologies to anyone Ive offended over 15 years, some need to harden up, Ive only got 140 characters so no space for all. lol
  • Are #Cleaners worth $20 bucks an hour ? Well yes and I should have said so, my bad.
  • Ive given up smoking 6 times in 15 years or since 1993. #Valedictory I was never a great boozer. I was always on time except once.
  • I turned up to a #marae one day early, when the kuuia asked me what I was doing I sd I was just checking the route.
  • I hated door knocking. I once door knocked a house in the Hokianga, and there was a tangi on, they invited me in. Was from Sth Auck, algood.
  • My first day on the job and I had a run in with Jim Anderton, Grrrr blamed me personally for the unemployment prob in the North ? He was Pissed off I got the trip to East Timor and he didn’t. Old coot I thought. Still do.
  • That infamous fight with @TrevorMallard, wasn’t much. 2 old testosterone filled eggs.
  • I never hated anyone in the House. apart from nah. lol They all good.
  • A big shout out to #Parekura where ever he is. Miss you chief.
  • The best thing about the Sth Island National Party supporters is man they can bake.
  • I think I would’ve made a good speaker, nothing flash and wldve changed the rule book somewhat. I don’t hold grudges (MaoriParty)
  • I once presented a carved waka to the Captain Cook Museum in Middlesborough. I was just about to ask where he was buried. Then I remembered.
  • Well thats about it. To Parliament and the Country, thanks for having me. Goodbye and Good Luck. Nga manaakitanga ki a kotou katoa.

Thanks Tau – a great online valedictory and a lot to be proud of.

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Labour chess

July 22nd, 2014 at 9:48 am by David Farrar

The current internal machinations in Labour are a bit like a game of chess. Grant Robertson is the King of the Board who doesn’t want to do combat himself, so he is sending pawns off to do battle, and clear the way for him. The latest play is:

  • Grant has the numbers to roll Cunliffe, and has had for some time. This is beyond dispute
  • Grant does not want to become Leader yet. He rightfully fears losing the election, having a divided party, and an activist base that will blame him for the loss. This is almost beyond dispute.
  • Another factor for Grant is he is not even sure if he wants to be Leader for the 2017 election if Key still leads National. He only wants to become leader when he thinks the election is winnable (which it was in the middle of last year).
  • David Cunliffe is unlikely to go quietly after the election, if they lose. The magnitude of the loss will be a factor, but very clear signals have been sent out that he believes the unions and activists will stay loyal to him, and allow him to carry on. This is of massive concern to many MPs, and this is almost beyond dispute also.
  • David Shearer has been picked as the candidate to go up against Cunliffe in the December leadership ballot and then the membership vote. He strongly feels he was not given a fair go, and that he can appeal to non-core voters. He is far more angry and resentful against Cunliffe than people realise, but a complicating factor is he is equally resentful towards Robertson whose faction toppled him. But Camp Robertson would support him. I would put this as highly likely if Cunliffe does not resign.
  • A growing number of MPs are worried they will lose their seats and have been canvassing numbers for David Parker to challenge before the House rises. They are worried it will look desperate, and also the election materials have been printed. However the possibility of Little, Ardern and even Parker losing their seats weighs heavily on them. I’d say this is less than 50/50 probability – there is talk, but caution will overcome action.
  • A complicating factor is the Deputy Leadership. Both Parker and Shearer want Robertson as their Deputy so he shares the success or blame of their leadership. He would rather keep his powder dry until it is his time (he saw when deputy to Shearer how much activists also blamed him) and a condition of his support is that Ardern becomes Deputy.

Again change is less likely than not before the election. It must effectively happen today or next Tuesday. There are 60 days until the election. They are resigned to a result probably in the 20s. Their fear is a low to mid 20s result that removes some of their “stars” and leaves them too weakened to be competitive in 2017. They will now accept a result of even 29% as adequate.

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Better Pubic Services Results

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

Snapshot July14

So six targets well on track, two on track but changes not embedded and three making progress but not on track for the target.

The changes so far are:

  1. Those on jobseeker support for more than 12 months down from 78,000 to 68,932
  2. Early childhood education participation rate up from 94% to 96%
  3. Infant immunisation rate up from 75% to 91%
  4. Rheumatic fever incidence rate up from 3.7 to 4.3 (so wrong direction with 36 more hospitalisations)
  5. Assaults on children down from 3,176 to 3,111
  6. 18 year olds with NCEA Level 2 up from 68% to 78.6%, Maori from 45% to 63% and Pasifika from 51% to 71%
  7. 25 to 34 year olds with a Level 4 qualification or higher up from 53% to 54.5%
  8. Crime down 16% since 2011, violent crime down 11%, youth crime down 30%
  9. Reoffending rate has dropped by 12.2% which is 2,242 fewer recividist offenders
  10. Effort for business in dealing with Government has increased from base of 100 to 102 (wrong direction)
  11. 42% of transactions with Govt are onlne, up from 30%

I am a huge fan of this approach of having quantified measurable targets that the Government can aim for, and be measured against. It makes Government more accountable and focused on outcomes, rather than outputs or inputs.

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General Debate 22 July 2014

July 22nd, 2014 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel
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Meet your future NZ First Minister!

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

I really don’t know what is more terrifying. A New Zealand Member of Parliament who thinks the Reserve Bank of New Zealand is foreign owned, or the fact she still insists it is after being corrected.

I look forward to seeing the NZ First list rankings next month.

The comments on Twitter are gold.

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Back Benches 23 July 2014

July 21st, 2014 at 7:11 pm by Kokila Patel

THIS WEEK ON PRIME TV’s “BACK BENCHES”: Watch Wallace Chapman, Damian Christie, the Back Benches Panel and special guests discuss the week’s hottest topics!


WORK, WORK, WORK:  Larry Page, boss of the internet giant, Google suggested it’s time for us to work less saying a 4-day work week would create a better work/life balance, happier workers and more productive. Should New Zealand get on board? Do we work too hard? How many work more than 40 hours a week? Do we respect a healthy work/life balance? Are we judged for taking time off? http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/digital-living/60148227/google-boss-says-people-should-work-less

CENTRAL vs LOCAL BODY DECISIONS: Should water fluoridation be a central government decision versus being left up to local councils to decide. At the Local Government NZ Conference in Nelson, Kapiti Mayor Ross Church says the decision should be with the Ministry of Health rather than local bodies. Does it matter there is no consistency from town to town? And if it becomes a national decision-will it properly represent the feelings of the local residents?


There are two ways to get in on the political pub action:
First, you can join the live audience in Wellington’s iconic Backbencher Pub on Wednesday, 23rd of July at 6pm. Filming begins around 6:15pm.

Or watch us that night on PRIME TV at 10:30pm!
http://www.primetv.co.nz/

Plus, Follow us on Facebook (BackBenchesTV) or on Twitter @BackBenchesTV.

Our Panel: Labour MP David Shearer, National MP Louise Upston, and Green Party MP Eugenie Sage.

” This show is shaping up to be essential election year viewing ” – Paul Casserly, NZ Herald 3/6/14

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A View from the Bridge

July 21st, 2014 at 4:46 pm by David Farrar

Another Arthur Miller classic has just started at Circa, A View from the Bridge.

The promotional tagline is “Love. Loyalty. Family. Revenge” and that is a fairly pithy summary of the play.

Eddie and Beatrice Carbone are an Italian-American family in Brooklyn. Gavin Rutherford and Jude Gibson both do excellent jobs of emulating the distinctive twang we associate with such families.

Eddie and Beatrice are guardians to Eddie’s niece Catherine, played by Acushla-Tara Sutton. Catherine’s parents are dead and her mother was Eddie’s sister. She’s 17 and debating whether to stay at school or enter the workforce.

Eddie, Beatrice and Catherine are a loving family. They argue, but they are there for each other. Then the family extends as they take in two cousins of Beatrice’s from Sicily. Marco and Rodolpho are illegal immigrants who have come to America as there are no jobs or income back home. Marco has a wife and young children back home. Marco is single. they are played by Alex Grieg and Paul Waggott respectively. The sixth cast member is Christopher Brougham who plays the lawyer and narrator Alfieri.

As with almost all Miller plays, they are dramatic portayals of the tensions within a family. And this has tensions in all directions:

  • Eddie’s over-protective attitude towards Catherine goes from paternalistic to creepy
  • Eddie and Beatrice’s strained needy relationship
  • The blossoming love between Rodolpho and Catherine
  • The suspicion that Rodolpho may be more interested in a green card than Catherine, and may not even be that interested in women
  • The protective attitude of Marco to Rodolpho
  • The Sicilian and Italian attitudes towards family and honour

Susan Wilson directs a very faithful and compelling recital of the Miller play. The 80 minute first half sets the scene, with the tension building slowly, and the 40 minute second half is full of explosive tension, which keeps you on the edge of your seat.

The play was once banned in the 1950s by the UK Lord Chancellor. Today it would not even get a PG rating.

This is a play about passion, and the cast succeed in portraying this. You feel yourself swept into a maelstrom of emotions. You wonder about whether the over-protectiveness is sinister or just inappropriate. The question of Rodolpho’s intentions tease you throughout the play. I suspect if you polled the audience, they would be divided 50/50 on whether he loves Catherine or not.

The play has a dramatic conclusion, yet it also (deliberately) leaves many questions unanswered. If Miller had ever written a sequel set ten years later, I think that would also have become a classic.

This is the 5th Arthur Miller play directed by Susan Wilson. It was an excellent production as good as you’ll see anywhere. A very good night’s entertainment.

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du Fresne on Hamas

July 21st, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Karl du Fresne writes:

There is a ruthless, cynical logic in what Hamas is doing in the Gaza Strip.

The constant rocket attacks on Israel are largely futile in the sense that they do minimal damage. But Hamas knows that as long as the attacks continue, Israel is bound to retaliate. It can hardly allow its territory and people to remain under constant threat.

Hamas’s trump card here is the Western news media. The terrorists know that the casualties of Israeli retaliation – children especially – attract international media sympathy. They make sure TV crews get footage of the funerals and have access to the hospital wards where maimed children are being treated.

They know that their most potent weapon against Israel is not rockets but international opinion. And they know that as long as the media present the conflict as one that is massively one-sided – one that is reported every day in terms of the gross imbalance in the casualty figures, almost as if it were some grotesque sporting encounter – then international opinion will regard Hamas as the wronged party.

There is a degree of truth to this. Israel has more military might so when it responds, more people get killed. Hence for those who treat it as a numbers game, Israel are wrong. They should just let 200 rockets be fired at them, and never retaliate.

I recall a good comment by someone on how the intentions are crucial, and that Israel regards every civilian killed as a mark of failure, while Hamas regards every civilian killed as a mark of success.

There have been the recent tit for tat killings. Three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and killed in June. Several militant groups (not Hamas) claimed responsibility for the killings. Hamas denied responsibility but there is some evidence that two Hamas members were involved. Hamas has actually published a kidnapping guide.  Sadly many Palestinians openly celebrated the kidnapping and killing.

Horrifically a few weeks later there was a revenge attack where a Palestinian teenager was kidnapped, beaten, and burnt alive. I’m not sure one can or should compare which murders are more horrific, but burning alive is as bad as it gets. The Israeli Police have arrested three men, one of whom has confessed.

What is interesting, and sad, is the reactions to the two despicable murders. Almost without exception the murder of the Palestinian teenager was reviled and condemned by every politician, media outlet and the public. And the perpetrators were arrested and will, if found guilty, go to prison for a long time.

This contrasts with the reaction of many Palestinians to the murder of the Israeli teenagers, where no assistance was given in solving the crime, and there was widespread support for the kidnapping and murder.

Now I understand the grievances of the Palestinians, but when you celebrate the kidnapping and murder of three teenagers, it is hard to persuade Israel that any land for peace settlement would ever be honoured or make them safer.

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We should pull out like the Aussies

July 21st, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The lack of clarity from holders Oracle Team USA around the next America’s Cup looks to have cost organisers its challenger of record.

Hamilton Island Yacht Club today advised America’s Cup organisers of their intention to withdraw Team Australia from the 35th America’s Cup.

A statement from the syndicate said it was proving too difficult for a start-up commercial team to put a challenge together when no dates or venue have been confirmed for the event.

“The Challenge was initiated with a view to negotiating a format for the 35th America’s Cup that was affordable and put the emphasis back on sailing skills,” the statement read.

“Ultimately our estimate of the costs of competing were well beyond our initial expectation and our ability to make the formula of our investment and other commercial support add up.”

We should do the same. Oracle have screwed the scrum with a set of rules that favour them, and the next Cup will be (even more than normal) about who has the most money, not the best sailors.

In a competitors meeting held in Los Angeles last weekend, several teams expressed their reservations over the two remaining venue options – San Diego and Bermuda – and emphasised the a lack of certainly around dates and venue was hampering efforts to secure funding.

All challengers should pull out. That would force Oracle to agree to rule changes.

Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton said he was disappointed to see the Australian syndicate pull out but said the Kiwi team were on track.

“We have the class rule and the design team is well into its programme; the sailing team continues to compete successfully overseas, with great recent results by Dean Barker and Glenn Ashby in the A class cats worlds and Peter Burling and Blair Tuke still dominating the 49er scene,” said Dalton.

“In addition, we have never been in better shape with potential sponsors.”

Good. No more taxpayer money then.

 

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A question.

July 21st, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

He [Peters] also announced a new policy to tackle binge drinking and drug taking.

“We propose, to the degree that it could cause serious harm to themselves, or someone else, it will be an offence to be drunk or seriously drug affected in a public place, or while trespassing on private property,” with offenders paying fines of up to $2000 or three months in prison.

Would this policy apply to someone who say drank wine for six hours at GPK Bar in Takapuna, and then on the way home pulled down his trousers and pissed on a tree?

Is Winston saying that someone in such a situation should be eligible to go into prison for three months?

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Felix Marwick on Labour

July 21st, 2014 at 12:30 pm by David Farrar

Felix Marwick from NewstalkZB writes:

Deficits are something no political party likes and the problem for the Labour Party at the moment is that it has one; a popularity deficit.

Its 27 percent result at the last election was the worst result it’d had in over 80 years and, at the time it was thought the party had scraped the bottom of the barrel. The only way, it seemed, was up. But four consecutive polls since last Wednesday have had the party polling below 30 percent and it seems distinctly possible Labour could crash and burn on September 20 unless it has a major change of fortunes.

From the outside Labour’s predicament looks pretty simple. It has no discipline. Its caucus appears more focused on personal rivalries, revenge, and self interest than they do in winning the election.

I’m trying to recall the last time I chatted to a Labour person about winning, rather than about internal battles. It was a long time ago, with the exception of the odd electorate candidate who is very focused on their local race.

Certainly there are some within Labour’s ranks that will probably argue that David Cunliffe and his supporters are being served the dish they themselves plated up for previous leaders Phil Goff and David Shearer. It does seem there is an element of payback going on. This is something voters should pay attention to the next time a Labour MP tells them about how committed they are to the future of this country. The party’s track record since the departure of Helen Clark suggests self interest reigns supreme.

Bring back Helen!

What all of this means of course is that Labour is worse than a house divided; it’s a house falling apart. It’s a Christchurch red zone home. Its foundations are stuffed, its walls are broken, the roof is a leaking ruin, and its garden is submerged in liquefaction.

Nice analogy.

One seriously wonders if the party would be better off ditching all of its incumbents, replacing them entirely, and starting afresh. If ever a political party needed a fresh slate, it’s Labour.

Some people say the next Labour Prime Minister isn’t yet an MP. They do need a circuit breaker. Hard to see David Shearer uniting the party after he challenges for the leadership back in December.

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Conservation park agreed for Great Barrier Island

July 21st, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A new conservation park is set for Great Barrier Island.

The new Aotea Conservation Park will consist of 12,109 hectares of land on the island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf.

It will be the Department of Conservation’s largest park in the Auckland region and will be similar in size to the Auckland Council’s Hunua and Waitakere Ranges parks.

The new park will include 18 different blocks of general stewardship land and will be New Zealand’s largest area of possum-free forest, including native trees, kauri, pohutukawa, kanuka and the Great Barrier tree daisy.

There will be healthy bird populations of kaka, pateke (brown teal), puweto (spotless crake) and matata (fernbird).

The park will also have the most diverse range of native freshwater species of any offshore island in New Zealand, and populations of very rare frogs, native paua slugs and niho taniwha (chevron skink).

Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith announced plans for the new park today at a community function in Claris with Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye.

I’ve been to Great Barrier Island many times. It is a unique part of New Zealand, and it is a very good thing to increase the protection of the DOC land there by making it a conservation park.

“The immediate priority is the restoration of tracks, bridges, repair of huts, signage, campgrounds and the Department’s office” Dr Smith said.

The Government has committed $2.5 million to the repairs.

Great Barrier Island is my favourite place in New Zealand for getting away from it all. I haven’t done all the walking tracks on the island, but hope to over time.

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.nz names will be available on the 30th of September

July 21st, 2014 at 11:26 am by David Farrar

The .nz Domain Name Commission Ltd has announced:

The Domain Name Commission Limited (DNCL) is pleased to announce that from 1pm, 30 September 2014 a significantly amended .nz policy will come into effect – ushering in a new era of choice in .nz domain names. 

From that date, people will be able to register shorter, simpler, more representative names immediately before the .nz – as well as the more familiar-looking options like ‘.co.nz’ and ‘.org.nz’. 

All existing options like .co.nz, .org.nz and .govt.nz will continue to work as they always have and people will still be able to get names with them. The change simply means that from 1pm, 30 September 2014 people will be able to get names with them, without them, or both.

A lot of people will have questions about what names can they get, based on their existing registrations. There is a new website to tell you the status of a name:

A website at anyname.nz has been created by the Domain Name Commission for holders of .nz domain names to check out their options and learn more about what the change might mean for them. Anyname.nz also shows what the shorter .nz domain names will look like in a web browser from 1pm, 30 September 2014.

Monahan describes the policy change allowing registrations directly at the second level as a boon for choice – one that opens up an exciting new .nz registration possibility. She encourages all those with an existing .nz domain name to visit anyname.nz or contact their Registrar to check their options and learn more about what’s happening.

The site is very easy to use. I’ve just checked and found (had not checked up until now) that:

  • I have preferential registration status for curia.nz
  • I have preferential registration status for kiwiblog.nz
  • That some one else (in fact two people) has preferential registration status for farrar.nz
  • That dpf.nz will be available on a first in first served basis on 30 September

“The change keeps all the advantages of the current system while expanding choice. Other countries have already made a similar change and now New Zealand is too.”

Holders of .nz domain names wanting to find out more about this exciting, watershed change to the .nz domain name space should contact their Registrar or domain name provider or visit anyname.nz.

Note that I am the current Board Chair of DNCL. The decision to allow registrations at the second level was made last year by InternetNZ on a recommendation from the DNCL Board.

 

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ACT on Honesty for Taxpayers

July 21st, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Jamie Whyte has proposed:

On this policy, regulatory impact statements, cabinet submissions and ministers’ introductory speeches for Bills in parliament will need to state clearly that “but for this proposal, your income tax rate would be X percentage points lower”.

When taxpayers visit the website of any government agency or local council and any programme of that agency, they should have a clear idea of the price of that agency in their taxes or rates.

Government departments and agencies should be required to declare on their home webpage “but for this agency, your income tax rate would be X% lower”.

Similar rules should apply to local governments. They should be required to reveal how much lower rates would be if not for a particular new policy proposal or existing service of the Council.

If a minister, department, agency or local council believes that the programmes it administers do indeed offer value for money to taxpayers, they should be proud to say how they are putting taxes to work in the clearest way taxpayers can understand.

For example, the government should be keen to alert taxpayers that, without Working for Families:

·      the 17.5% income tax rate would be 12.5% OR

·      the 10.5% income tax rate would be 3.5%.

The Minister for Tertiary Education should be keen to remind everyone that, if not for interest-free student loans

·      the 17.5% income tax rate be would 16% OR

·      the 28% company tax would be 25% OR

·      the 33% top income tax rate would be 30%.

That’s a great idea. The public will be able to judge the worth of spending programmes more effectively, if they know the opportunity cost of the spending – the reduced taxes they won’t be getting.

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Monday Motivator – Lower Mclean Falls

July 21st, 2014 at 10:40 am by Richard Hume

Monday Motivator 28
Lower McLean Falls, Catlins Forest, New Zealand

I love The Catlins and have visited many times. On this occasion I found Lower McLean Falls in full winter flow and the low light conditions allowed me to capture the image with a long exposure showing the flow of the water nicely.

Seeing this now makes me want to get back down to explore more of The Catlins very soon.

Click on the image for a larger view of this photograph.

Cheers

Richard [richardhume.com]

YouTube: Timeless – A Panoramic Journey

 

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Hide on Harre’s hypocrisy

July 21st, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Rodney Hide wrote at NBR:

I am worried about Laila Harré: having dropped any pretence of principle she now finds hypocrisy addictive. There’s no other explanation. She should have OD’d by now, but no, she just keeps loading it up.

Her latest dose is to assert property rights in Green Party policy.

That’s right. That’s her response to criticism of her announcing Green Party policy as hers just hours ahead of the Green’s release. Ms Harré was working for the Greens. She then decamped to lead the Internet Party taking Green Party policy with her. No wonder the Greens are little annoyed in their touchy-feely, caring way.

But as she explains it, “Look, I contributed huge intellectual property to the Green Party in the 15 months that I spent working for them.” So what’s theirs is also hers.

That’s a bellyful of hypocrisy. Remember this is the Internet Party. Her party’s founder, funder, paymaster and visionary is fighting to avoid facing copyright infringement charges. Intellectual property doesn’t mean that much to Mr Dotcom.

For his proxy leader to be defending herself by spuriously claiming intellectual property is breathtaking hypocrisy. Intellectual property matters to Ms Harré – but only when she’s claiming it as hers. No one else’s appears to matter. …

Mr Dotcom is not the top 1% that Ms Harré complains about. He’s more like the top 0.0001%. But he’s okay because his money is useful to her.

Oh and here she is the hard-core, all-controlling, lefty pushing for the internet. It’s not the central committee that produced the internet: it’s capitalism. Internet commerce is a fine example of anarchy. We don’t need or want central control. The hypocrisy of the Left pushing for internet freedom is gobsmacking.

The Left oppose freedom and their system of economic control is the internet’s antithesis.

I think it is fair to conclude that Rodney will not be voting for the Mana-Internet Party.

It got me thinking that if we had a true Internet Party, Rodney would be a very good leader of it – someone who is passionate about fighting state control.

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Cunliffe meets sex offender with name suppression

July 21st, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

David Cunliffe says his Queenstown ski holiday has left him “recharged” and ready to take the battle to Prime Minister John Key in the two-month countdown to election day.

But the Labour leader threatens to be distracted by internal ill-discipline and criticisms over his judgment, including the holiday itself and a meeting last week with a prominent New Zealander given name suppression on charges of performing an indecent act.

Mr Cunliffe confirmed to the Herald last night that he had arranged for the person – whose case has been the topic of media coverage – to meet a Labour candidate but said he had no idea about the controversial background until yesterday.

“If I had known of the suggestion, no such meeting would have taken place.”

This is staggering in its incompetence.

You go to rape crisis, apologise for being a man, talking about the rape culture in New Zealand, and then go out to dinner (my understanding, or at least meet with) with a man who pleaded guilty in court to forcing himself onto a woman and got name suppression because of his status.

The identify of the Queenstown resident is not a closely guarded secret. It has even been published in Australia. Rodney Hide has been campaigning for the identity of the man to be published in Parliament.

One can only take David Cunliffe at his word that he didn’t know, but I find it impossible to believe no one on his staff knew. The identity is an open secret. Either the meeting/dinner was not arranged through his staff, or there is something very very wrong in his office.

Here’s the report of the offending:

Over a three-year period, he visited their home half a dozen times, but always with someone else.

On the day of the incident, she was about to leave to do some shopping with her daughter, she said.

While her daughter went to get the mail from the end of the long drive, the man followed her inside and “he just grabbed hold of me from behind”, she said.

“He was tall and towered over me. I said: ‘What the hell are you doing?’

“And he said: ‘But you are so lovely’. It was horrible. His hands were all over me,” the woman said.

“He kept pushing his tongue in my mouth, pulling my head back and sticking his tongue down into my mouth and I was trying to push him off.

“His hands were all around my back, his hands down the back of my knickers.”

He confessed he had always liked her.

“I was totally shocked. It took me by surprise. But I wasn’t scared because I knew my daughter was about.

“I was trying to push him off and he took my hand and put it on his what’s-it and he said to me: ‘This is what you are doing to me’.

The offender, who has political links, was given name suppression. He should not have got name suppression.

Even the offender says his identity is an open secret:

Despite name suppression, the man said everyone in his home town knew he was the “prominent man” in the paper. “It has taken away all my livelihood,” he said.

“Even with name suppression I got fired from a job because a guy had heard it was me,” he said.

He believed he was unfairly targeted because he was a household name.

Again I find it almost beyond belief that David Cunliffe or his staff did not know. And they were also meeting the local Labour candidate.  How could she not know? Again, this was an open secret.

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General Debate 21 July 2014

July 21st, 2014 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel
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The discipline issue

July 21st, 2014 at 7:19 am by David Farrar

Danyl blogs at Dim-Post:

It’s been a shambolic couple of weeks for Labour. They had their congress and launched a major education policy, carefully designed to attack National where they were vulnerable and attract centre voters back to Labour, and they’ve spent every day since then talking about either Moas, or banning cosmetics, or Cunliffe’s ‘man apology’, or changing the burden of proof in rape cases, or Kelvin Davis’ support for the holiday highway, or te reo in schools – with some Labour MPs supporting this and some opposing – ie they’ve been talking about pretty much anything other than the huge new policy they just launched.

That is a good summary. Labour has been in the news almost every day for a fortnight, but on a different issue – and generally a negative one.

Sounds like Labour are finally working this out, as Stuff reports:

Yesterday’s frontbench meeting is understood to have settled on a radical rethink of strategy for the remainder of the campaign, with Labour set to focus on fewer key policies and messages.

This is sensible. What is alarming is that such a common sense approach is thought to be a radical rethink.

But will the party keep to the script?

MPs are also under orders to be more disciplined. Cunliffe is believed to have had words with veteran MP Trevor Mallard about his plan to revive extinct moa, which grabbed headlines on the eve of a Labour Party conference that was supposed to showcase the leader.

Others singled out for criticism for going “off reservation” include Tainui MP Nanaia Mahuta and Te Tai Tokerau candidate Kelvin Davis, who have both taken opposing views to party policy on issues in their areas.

A senior MP said the latest poll ratings were a concern.

“We have to be bloody good at what we do, we’ve got to be very tightly focused and on message.

“We’ve got good policy, got a good campaign plan, we know we’ve got the troops on the ground, we can pull this up.”

There was an acknowledgement that the public was confused by the number of different signals coming from Labour, and that was blamed on “trying to do too much too quickly”.

“Then there’s another level with people saying things that are completely off the script.”

That included Cunliffe himself, for his apology “for being a man” to a Women’s Refuge conference.

But will Labour be disciplined enough. I doubt here. Here is Sue Moroney campaigning for free Moroccan cooking classes:

And it gets better. Sue also wants free Photoshop classes. Presumably for Labour Party staff.

Do you really think this is a Labour Party that could achieve surplus and run a balanced budget?

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