Progress on Shelly Bay

Stuff reports:

Plans for a revamp of Shelly Bay could be given a new lease of life after a developer reached a deal with the Wellington City Council.

Ian Cassels, director of The Wellington Company, has been working on a plan for Shelly Bay that has been likened to San Francisco’s seaside town of Sausalito.

The rundown wharf and derelict air force and naval buildings on the Miramar Peninsula  would be replaced with a new seaside community.

It is understood Cassels is in the process of buying the council’s land at Shelly Bay, which will allow him to proceed with his plans.

While Cassels would only confirm he was in negotiations, council chief city planner David Chick confirmed an agreement had been reached for Cassels to buy the council land.

The council was working through what a partnership model might look like, he said.

“The idea is for a partnership model, where the council land, iwi land and private land come together to create a better outcome,” Chick said.

“I think that we can have a housing outcome and rich layers of different experiences that people will come to see.

Great to see progress. The views from Shelly Bay are stunning and would be an amazing place to live. Also will be very popular place to visit if they get more cafes there.

Swimmable waterways

The Herald reports:

A national requirement for all water bodies to be swimmable all of the time is “impractical”, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

But environmental groups have accused the Government of dodging tougher limits to address the country’s freshwater woes.

In a lecture on freshwater management at Lincoln University last night, Smith said the Government was committed to improving the quality and swimmability of New Zealand’s lakes and rivers, but was “cautious of regulatory requirements that are unworkable”.

Most of the country’s rivers breached the 540 E. coli count required for swimming during heavy rainfall, he said, and there were water bodies home to many birds whose E. coli made it impossible to meet the swimming standard without a massive bird cull.

“There are also rivers associated with geothermal activity that makes water quality unsuitable for swimming,” he told the gathering.

“We also need to be open about the cost of our regulatory requirements on communities and the fact that many water bodies have long hydrological cycles that mean it is a long time before we see improvement.”

Standards under the Government’s National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management, set in 2014, includes a requirement for regional councils to manage freshwater bodies so people’s health is safeguarded, and carries a bottom line that applies to “wading” and boating.

The demand that every single waterway in NZ must be swim-able comes across to me as a slogan, not a policy.

Good policy considers costs and benefits and practicality.

Here’s what I would like to know, rather than just keep hearing a slogan.

  • Have NZ waterways got more or less clean in the last eight years? The direction is more important than the speed
  • If they have improved, by how much.
  • What percentage of NZ waterways are currently swim-able and how does this compare to other countries such as UK, Australia, Canada and US?
  • On current policy settings what proportion of waterways are likely to be deemed swim-able in ten years time?
  • What would be the cost, if even practical, to have every waterway swim-able within x years?

I suspect the Greens can’t answer any of these questions except maybe the first one. If they can, then please share the info so we can decide whether the slogan is good policy.

ISIL mass graves

Stuff reports:

Surrounded by smoke and flames, the sound of gunshots echoing around him, the young man crouched in the creek for hours, listening to the men in his family die.

On the other side of the mountain, another survivor peered through binoculars as the handcuffed men of neighbouring villages were shot and then buried by a waiting bulldozer. For six days he watched as the extremists filled one grave after another with his friends and relatives.

Between them, the two scenes of horror on Sinjar mountain contain six burial sites and the bodies of more than 100 people, just a small fraction of the mass graves Islamic State extremists have scattered across Iraq and Syria.

The Associated Press has documented and mapped 72 of the mass graves, the most comprehensive survey so far, with many more expected to be uncovered as the Islamic State group’s territory shrinks.

In Syria, AP has obtained locations for 17 mass graves, including one with the bodies of hundreds of members of a single tribe all but exterminated when Isis extremists took over their region.

Many of those killed were Yazidis. They were slaughtered just because of their religion. Those not slaughtered are raped or enslaved.

On a smaller scale you can compare ISIL to the Nazis. Both had doctrines of superiority and both tried to wipe out entire populations based on their religion.

Hopefully one day the senior leadership of ISIL will face trial for their crimes.

NZ house prices

houseprices

I believe the Government (central and local) needs to do more to reduce house price inflation.

But for context it is worth pointing out that large increases in house prices is not a recent phenomena and the annual increases are smaller than in the past. Again this is not to say the increases are satisfactory – they are not. But the level of house prices has been increased for many years due primarily to a shortage of land.

Not a bad summary

The Washington Post reports:

For a small group of undecided voters here, the presidential choices this year are bleak: Hillary Clinton is a “liar” with a lifetime of political skullduggery and a ruthless agenda for power, while Donald Trump is your “drunk uncle” who can’t be trusted to listen even to the good advice he’s paying for.

Describing the election as a cesspool, 12 swing voters participating in a focus group Thursday in this battleground state were deeply negative about both candidates, starkly describing their choice this year as one between a candidate they loathe (Clinton) and one they fear (Trump).

What a choice!

Love guilty of fraud

Hamish Rutherford at Stuff reports:

Sir Ngatata Love has been found guilty of obtaining property by deception following a fraud trial.

Justice Graham Lang read the decision in the High Court in Wellington on Thursday.

Love was charged following a serious fraud office investigation in 2013, with the trial beginning on August 3.

The charges related to a payment made by property developer Redwood to a company controlled by Love’s partner, Lorraine Skiffington.

Love faced alternative charges of obtaining property by deception, or of accepting a secret commission. The charge of obtaining property by deception is the more serious of the two charges.

Love was accused of showing favour to Redwood by granting it a lease to develop land 1-15 Pipitea St, in return for the developer awarding Skiffington’s company a lucrative consultancy contract.

The money was allegedly used to pay down the mortgage on a beachfront home on Moana Rd in Plimmerton.

Lang said that in updating his fellow trustees on progress of a major property development, Love failed to inform them of a key aspect, the payments to Skiffington. While Love’s lawyer, Colin Carruthers QC, claimed Love was unaware of the nature of the transactions around him.

Love created an environment in which the developers believed he was acting on behalf of, and in the knowledge of, the wider Tenths Trust.

However Lang said he was satisfied Love was aware of the dealings and had made a false statement to his trustees by “recording in a deficient nature” Redwood’s offer.

Kudos to Fairfax for the reporting of not only the trial, but also breaking the story of the secret payments in 2013.

Love effectively stole money from his Iwi. Rather than get the best price possible for land the Iwi owned, he did deals with companies in exchange for huge facilitation fees to his partner.

He kept these arrangements hidden from his Iwi.

Love has had a distinguished record of service over the years. But at some point he got greedy and ripped off the very people he was meant to represent and serve.

WCC Mayoral candidates on living wage

Do you think WCC should make it a condition for any business tendering for a contract with WCC to pay their staff at least $20 an hour?

  • Nick Leggett: Yes
  • Nicola Young: No. It’s not for WCC to dictate how businesses should operate.
  • Justin Lester: I support frontline council services being paid a wage that means they can support their families and live. I do the same for my own employees and I find it improves productivity, reduces turnover and enhances customer service. I value staff and Welligtonians’ livelihoods.
  • Helene Ritchie: Yes-As mayor, I will lead an affordable City, where people can afford to live
  • Andy Foster: No – that means ratepayers having to deliberately pay more than they have to. Logically if that was the case we shouldn’t buy anything made overseas where people aren’t paid even close to that amount.
  • Jo Coughlan: No – a person’s income is not just their wage but the tax credits and other support from Central Government which, depending on circumstance, may top up incomes lower than $20 per hour.

So three candidates in favour and three against.

Should Lincoln and Canterbury merge

The Press editorial:

What is the end game for Lincoln University? The Press has reported that some drastic measures are being seriously considered by the cash-strapped university. Lincoln may sell some of its thousands of hectares of farmland, drop some courses and seek private investment following earlier, highly unpopular attempts to balance the books. 

Lincoln was restructured in 2013 and 2014 when more than 100 jobs were axed. Maybe the old adage that no business ever cut its way to growth proved true because, two years later, Lincoln still has to dig itself out of a $6 million financial hole. Like other tertiary institutions, Lincoln’s student numbers were hit hard by the Canterbury earthquakes but it does not have the size or financial resilience to endure the shocks forever. 

Measures much more drastic than selling assets or courting private enterprise are being considered. A report outlining possible futures was delivered to Lincoln last month and vice-chancellor Professor Robin Pollard has said options include closure or merger. Closure would be “disastrous”, Pollard told The Press. 

But a merger? That has promise. The most natural partner is the University of Canterbury. Would it make sense to run Lincoln as a satellite campus of Canterbury? As in any merger, there are duplications to consider. A layer of management would be removed and other infrastructure costs would be saved. In 2014, there were approximately 2300 full-time equivalent students on the Lincoln campus. This would make it a smaller college than Canterbury’s colleges of Arts, Business and Law, Engineering and Science were in 2015. 

A merger with Canterbury would make sense for historical as well as geographic reasons. Lincoln started as a school of agriculture and, from 1961 to 1990, it was a constituent college of the University of Canterbury, known as Lincoln College. It achieved its independent university status only 26 years ago, within a period of intense, growing competition between tertiary providers. An institution with “university” in its name was immediately more attractive to students shopping around in education’s free market.

I was at Otago University when Lincoln was still a College and about to become a University.

I think the reality is that under 3,000 students is not big enough to be a stand alone university, even a specialist one. The economies of scale are significant.

By a comparison, here are the EFTS counts for the eight NZ universities:

  1. Auckland 33,500
  2. AUT 19,800
  3. Massey 18,700
  4. Otagi 18,400
  5. VUW 17,000
  6. Canterbury 11,900
  7. Waikato 10,000
  8. Lincoln 2,900

Auckland Council joins the luddites

NewstalkZB reports:

Opponents of genetic engineering believe Auckland Council’s decision to become officially GE-free will be good for business.

Auckland councillors have agreed to ban the general release of genetically modified organisms under the Unitary Plan, a 30-year combined regional and district plan.

The decision comes a year after Hastings District Council agreed to ban the outdoor use of genetically modified organisms in its district plan.

Soil and Health Association chairwoman Marion Thomson said all councils should be taking a long-term precautionary approach to any untested GM technologies.

Luddites win again.

GM technologies have been in use for over 30 years without a single adverse incident. There are a group of people who have a near-religious aversion to “interfering” with nature and they use the precautionary principle as a ruse. The truth is they will never ever support GM regardless of the benefits or science.

We had a Royal Commission into GM and it weighed up the evidence and said it should be allowed under strict conditions. Local authorities should not be able to over-ride that decision and impose the views of Councillors on every farmer in the district.

Williamson appointed Consul-General in LA

Murray McCully announced:

Maurice Williamson will be appointed as Consul-General in Los Angeles. He has been MP for Pakuranga since 1987 and has held several Ministerial portfolios, including Science and Technology and Information Technology.

“Mr Williamson will be responsible for engagement with US investors and innovators to ensure New Zealand policies and exporters remain at the leading edge of change,” Mr McCully says.

“California and other western states of America are major export markets for New Zealand and important investment partners, particularly in added-value food and beverage and technology.  The United States is New Zealand’s largest market for intellectual property-based exports, and those exports will continue to grow strongly.”

Maurice is a good fit for LA with Silicon Valley and I am sure will do well there.

Unless his resignation is delayed, I presume this means a by-election in Pakuranga.

Pakuranga is very safe with a 12,867 majority. And on the party vote Labour got just 16% so you feel a bit sorry for whomever their candidate will be.

UPDATE: I am told no byelection is planned so presume appointment will commence next year then.

2,000 same sex marriages

Radio NZ report:

The bill legalising same-sex marriage passed its final reading in Parliament in April, 2013, and came into effect on 19 August, 2013.

It said people can marry, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Statistic New Zealand figures show 2118 same-sex couples have married since the legislation changed.

So 4,000 people who wanted to be married now are. Great. More people are marrying to pledge their commitment to their loved ones.

And the downside has been …. well zero.

Almost 970 of those couples have travelled from abroad to marry here.

Extra tourism spending also.

Union membership drops

Stats NZ reports:

In the June 2016 quarter, around 1 in 5 employees belonged to a union

In a 2012 survey they had union membership at 27.6%, so it has dropped from 27.6% to 20% in just four years.

People under 30 made up 29.1 percent of all employees and 15.4 percent of union members.

And the trend will continue as younger workers don’t join up.

The majority of union members today are public sector workers. With lower incomes jobs getting priced out of the market or disrupted by technology the number of private sector union members will keep declining.

Broadband speeds and data by area

Chorus sent me a spreadsheet of the average connection speeds and monthly data usage by area. Quite interesting

Fastest average connection speeds (Mbps)

  1. Dunedin 151
  2. North Shore 36
  3. Rotorua 34
  4. Auckland 33
  5. Porirua 32
  6. Manukau 31
  7. Palm Nth 31
  8. Papakura 30
  9. Waitakere 29
  10. Lower Hutt 29
  11. Nelson 29

Slowest average connection speeds (Mbps)

  1. Waimate 11
  2. Otorohanga 11
  3. Central Hawke’s Bay 12
  4. Waitomo 12
  5. Wairoa 12
  6. Hauraki 13
  7. Tararua 13
  8. South Taranaki 13
  9. Opotiki 13
  10. Western BoP 13
  11. Waikato 13

Highest Average Monthly Data Usage (GB)

  1. Manukau 155
  2. Waitakere 140
  3. North Shore 139
  4. Papakura 136
  5. Auckland 132
  6. Porirua 126
  7. Palmerston North 119
  8. Rotorua 114
  9. Wellington 114
  10. Dunedin 109
  11. Lower Hutt 109

Smallest Average Monthly Data Usage (GB)

  1. Thames-Coromandel 49
  2. Kaikoura 49
  3. Waimate 50
  4. Buller 52
  5. Central Otago 55
  6. Kaipara 56
  7. Hurunui 57
  8. Southland 57
  9. Central HB 58
  10. Clutha 58

Biggest increase in speed (Jan 15 to Jun 16)

  1. Dunedin 255%
  2. Porirua 88%
  3. North Shore 88%
  4. Rotorua 88%
  5. Auckland 82%

Biggest increase in data used (Jan 15 to Jun 16)

  1. Marlborough 169%
  2. Masterton 144%
  3. Waitaki 137%
  4. Dunedin 130%
  5. Rotorua 129%

The huge increases in data used reflects that many plans have now ended data caps.

Most submitters against runway extension plan

Radio NZ report:

Hundreds of people have lodged opposition to the proposed extension of Wellington airport’s runway.

A summary of 776 submissions made on the the airport’s application for a resource consent shows more than two-thirds are against.

I’m surprised so many were against. But to some degree this is not what is important. Submissions are for reading, not counting. It is the quality of the arguments that matters.

Airlines, residents’ associations and hundreds of individuals do not want a bar of the extension.

Recreational fishing enthusiasts said they were not consulted, and cray catchers said the exclusion zone around the construction site was excessive.

“There are twenty or more commercial pots regularly set in the general area proposed to be closed to fishing during and after construction with an estimated daily value of $2600 and seasonal value of $89,000/tonne,” Power Squadron Marine Management’s submission said.

“Applicant makes no provision to address the impact.”

Many submitters cited environmental concerns, construction noise and the cost of the project.

Some also pointed to tourism as a so-called “false friend” which “increases the proportion of low-wage jobs”.

Better to have more low-wage jobs than more people not in work.

Both Qantas and Air New Zealand opposed the project, along with the Board of Airline Representatives.

Qantas’ submission summarised that while there may be possible economic benefits, “over-investment in infrastructure is likely to result in higher ticket prices in the medium term which could reduce demand and have negative economic impacts”.

That is a big issue. How much would landing fees increase for current flights?

Those in favour particularly cited the opportunities for economic growth.

Submitters included Chambers of Commerce and tourism development groups from Marlborough through to Hawke’s Bay.

It also included local icons such as Weta Workshop and the World of Wearable Arts.

Tertiary education providers, WelTec, Whitireia and Victoria University support the extension and hope it will help them take a larger share of the international student market.

Some heavyweight names in support.

Labour hypocrisy hits a new high

Jenna Lynch at Newshub writes:

The candidate who will benefit from the Labour-Green deal in Mount Roskill has hypocrite written all over him.

Michael Wood supposedly hates dirty electorate deals. In fact these very words came from his mouth just two years ago.

“We are calling for a straight contest and an end to the dodgy deals.”

Wood stood for Epsom at the last election. Epsom. The home of the dirty deal.

And boy, did he tell everyone about it.

In fact he went as far as bringing a bag of flour along to debates to replace National candidate Paul Goldsmith who stepped aside to make way for ACT’s David Seymour.

“Every time that Paul Goldsmith fails to front in this campaign, we’re going to remind people about the dirty deal with this bag of wholemeal flour,” Wood said on The Nation’s Epsom debate.

“This is going to sit in place of Paul Goldsmith, who is not fronting and is facilitating a deal with the ACT Party, to get them back when they don’t deserve it.”

He tugged at the heartstrings of voters, saying they’d effectively been exploited for their vote.

“This is an electorate which has been kicked around and abused and used. And I actually think that the least the ACT party could do at this point in the proceedings is to concede that there is a deal that is on the table or in the offing.”

He told The Nation that voters were sick of dirty deals.

“That is the only way that the ACT party has survived, they don’t stand up on their own two feet. And I think that heaps of people are sick of it.”

He called for David Seymour to call the deal off.

“Call for no deal David. Call for no deal.”

That was all in one debate.

Now the Greens look likely to stand down their potential candidate who’d run against him in Mount Roskill as part of the Memorandum of Understanding. (This is assuming Phil Goff wins the Auckland mayoralty, resigns as an MP, and forces a by-election).

Yes Wood was very vocal at denouncing such deals. And of course in Epsom no candidates were pulled, unlike in Mt Roskill where Wood is so nervous about whether he can hold the seat, Labour are trying to get the Greens to not even stand.

It won’t be easy for Wood – he needs the “dirty deal” he once supposedly despised.

My question is who is bringing the bag of Quinoa to debates to stand in for the Greens?

What a good idea.

WCC Mayoral candidates on spending

Can you give an example of current WCC spending that you would vote against in future?

  • Nick Leggett: I would review all spending and ask CE to find organisational savings. Specially take the $9.6 M “slush fund” away from politicians and more into the hands of those who pay the rates.
  • Nicola Young: Revamp of Frank Kitts Park ($5.5m = 90% of this year’s general rates increase)
  • Justin Lester: I voted to cut spending on Council’s move into new premises and reduce costs on the Civic Square upgrade. I also opposed $1m proposed spend on an auditorium and $25m for a new deep water swimming pool.
  • Helene Ritchie: Any further expenditure on the runway extension or lawyer’s fees.
  • Andy Foster: Reduce cost of Basin Reserve lights from $9m to $2m, Defer $65m concert venue until we can afford it
  • Jo Coughlan: I voted against the Island Bay Cycle way and would do so again on a cycleway that didn’t seem sensible or practical.

If Council had an additional 10% revenue, or $40 million, what would be your priority spending areas?

  • Nick Leggett: Three water infrastructure and dedicated new bus lanes to assist Bus Rapid Transit.
  • Nicola Young: I’m committed to freezing the rates; next would be paying off city’s $500 million debt.
  • Justin Lester: I’d save the funds unless there was a valid project that would benefit Wellingtonians. A priority area within WCC’s existing financial envelope ist be Arts. if elected Mayor I will take on the Arts portfolio.
  • Helene Ritchie: From where??? Yes, if the increased revenue comes from budgeted airport extension costs. Essential services, affordable housing, strengthening and opening the Town Hall, or giving some rates relief!.
  • Andy Foster: Half on urban design, resilience, transport, small amount on natural environment – and leave the other half in the ratepayer’s pockets
  • Jo Coughlan: Pay off debt

A good start for transparency

The Herald reports:

Environment Canterbury is publishing credit card expenditure on their website in a bid to increase its “openness and transparency.”

It said that after media requests for the information, it now recognised the “public interest” in credit expenditure.

The data was published last week and showed about $4000 of spending over June and July.

A useful start. However what I’d like to see is all local and central government payments over a de minimis amount listed online in a searchable database. That would be real transparency.

Sarah Higgins RIP

The Herald reports:

A young Auckland local board representative has died suddenly, shocking fellow politicians who knew her.

Sarah Higgins, a real estate agent for Barfoot & Thompson and member of the Franklin Local Board, 24, died on the weekend.

Andy Baker, board chairman, said the death was an utter shock.

“She was the youngest member ever elected to this board and probably one of the youngest to be elected in the whole Franklin area over many decades,” Baker said.

“It’s left the local board absolutely devastated at her loss. This is a loss not only for the board but for the community. It’s such a tragic waste of a wonderful young life with so much to offer. Our thoughts are with her friends and family,” Baker said.

Higgins was on the board for a three-year term so was in her early 20s when she was elected, Baker said.

Sarah was a lovely and talented young person. I’d met her a few times at party events. Despite her youth, she had already carved out a successful career in business and politics. She had a great future ahead of her, and her death will leave many people shattered – her family and close friends most of all of course.

It’s a sad reminder that mental health challenges can affect everyone in society. People can appear great superficially, be popular, be successful – but still have issues underneath.

Sarah will be missed by all those who knew her. Rest in Peace.

Media want your tax dollars

Stuff reports:

Probably the most common suggestion is taxpayer funding for news as an essential public service, like “schools, hospitals and courts” in the words of Nicky Hager.

“Public funding is the only viable model, and is entirely appropriate since news is a public service,” he writes. He wants “new and greatly strengthened publicly owned news organisations, working alongside the privately owned ones”. This would cost four times what is currently spent on news by central government, he estimates. 

Co-editor Tiso endorses the idea, even as he acknowledges that John Key’s National-led Government is unlikely to make such a commitment.

It is the socialist ideal – the government funds the news. Funding dished out by government appointees.

This also effectively kills off private news companies, which means you get left with the only news available being from the Government.

Wellington academic Peter Thompson offers an alternative to taxpayer funding – a “marginal levy” or small charge added to the price consumers pay for phone and internet services, advertising, subscription and on-demand services such as Netflix and retail goods such as televisions. 

The levy – 0.5 per cent to 1 per cent – would raise between $80 million and $160m a year, which Thompson would devote mostly to Radio NZ, Maori TV and NZ on Air, although a contestable fund would be available to corporate media.

Why not also tax car sales and use that to fund blogs? And yes I am being sarcastic.

Latest poll

I’ve blogged the latest Roy Morgan poll at Curia.

Labour remains at 25.5% in it, and what is interesting is that Labour have polled below 30% in every Roy Morgan poll since September 2015.

Roy Morgan tends to be quite variable for some parties. They have had National from 43% to 53% in the last year. Greens from 11.5% to 15% and NZ First from 6.0% to 12.5%. But Labour have been below 30% in every Roy Morgan poll.

Also of interest is that Greens and NZ First combined are 24% to 25.5% for Labour. So if there was a three way coalition, Labour would be in a very weak position. It is even possible that Labour could end up being under half the combined Government caucus.

Weiner strikes again

The Herald reports:

Hillary Clinton’s long-serving aide Huma Abedin announced Tuesday that she is separating from her husband, former congressman Anthony Weiner, who resigned under pressure in 2011 after sending suggestive and explicit photographs of himself to women he met online.

“After long and painful consideration and work on my marriage, I have made the decision to separate from my husband,” Abedin wrote. “Anthony and I remain devoted to doing what is best for our son, who is the light of our life. During this difficult time, I ask for respect for our privacy.”

The announcement follows a report Sunday in the New York Post that Weiner had recently sent photos and sexual texts to another woman. The newspaper reported that Weiner sent one picture of his crotch last year while his toddler son, Jordan Zane, was curled in the bed next to him.

This is like the 4th or 5th time he has been caught out. He really can not stop.

Amazed that Abedin took this long to make the break.

Palmer proposes euthanasia law

The Herald reports:

Former Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer has come up with a proposed law change that would allow doctors in limited situations to help terminally ill patients to die.

It would require seven conditions to be met and would involve the Family Court as a means of verifying the conditions.

“My own view is that it is desirable to proceed with caution in this area and not to go further than the circumstances warrant.”

He set out his proposal at Parliament tonight in a lecture in memory of Lecretia Seales whose husband, Matt Vickers, launched a book “Lecretia’s Choice.”

Palmer once worked with Lecretia Seales who died of brain cancer last year. …

Palmer, a former president of the Law Commission, is proposing an amendment to the Crimes Act which would allow a person to be lawfully provided with medical assistance in dying where:

• (a) the person is of at least 18 years of age and capable of making decisions;
• (b) the person is a permanent resident of New Zealand;
• (c) the person has consented in writing to receive such assistance before two independent witnesses;
• (d) two medical practitioners have certified that the person has a grievous and incurable medical condition;
• (e) the medical condition is causing enduring suffering that is intolerable to the person in his or her circumstances and condition;
• (f) the facts have been reviewed by the Family Court and a judge has certified that the criteria laid down in the law have been met; and
• (g) there is a medical practitioner prepared to provide the assistance approved by the court.

Palmer said the proposal had the advantage of avoiding health professional having to take responsibility for decisions about whether the person should be permitted to die.

Looks like a proposal with maximum safeguards, which is good.

McCarten to become de facto Auckland campaign director for Labour

Stuff reports:

Labour leader Andrew Little’s chief of staff Matt McCarten is poised to quit the job and head up a new Labour office in Auckland.

Little said he had not finalised who would staff the Auckland office, though he had been looking at setting it up for some time.

But the move there by McCarten was “voluntary, willingly and with agreement, not in high dudgeon”.

Asked if he had anyone in line to take over as his chief of staff, after McCarten shifted north, Little said: “That’s part of the detail that is to be finalised”.

McCarten’s skill are in campaigning not staff management, so this move makes sense. He will be the de facto campaign manager in Auckland for Labour.

His move to Auckland will leave Little searching for both a new chief of staff and a new chief press secretary after Sarah Stuart quit the latter role in May.

I recall when McCarten was appointed, Labour heralded it as a game changer. His replacement will be their sixth Chief of Staff in opposition and Stuart’s replacement will be their seventh Chief Press Secretary.