Archive for July, 2003

It just gets worse

July 31st, 2003 at 8:05 pm by David Farrar

Once you get the Government involved in commercial enterprises like banking you just know it won’t be able to resist meddling to favour the enterprise they own.

Following on from the $40 million additional taxpayer funds put into Kiwibank, the Government is now guaranteeing $106 million to mortgage seekers.

However this is not just for anyone. Two big conditions. To get this government guaranteed mortgage you must:

1) Borrow off Kiwibank
2) Generally be a criminal or a beneficiary

Another great triumph for the average kiwi.

Letting rapists out early

July 31st, 2003 at 7:57 pm by David Farrar

The Government seems to excel in convincing people they are doing one thing whin in fact they do the opposite. Take last year’s sentencing act which they claimed was a response to the 90% referendum vote for tougher sentences. How many people realised it allowed criminals to get parole after only one third of their sentence now.

The Act has also been so badly put together that not even the Court of Appeal can work out what it means. They have asked Parliament to “rewrite Section 86 more clearly” as they saw `major problems” and could `foresee this subject being a fertile source of difficulty for some time to come, both for sentencing judges, and on appeal”. In the normal diplomatic language of the courts, this means it makes no sense and is contradictory. This is what happens when you use Acts to try and con people that you are doing what they want.

One Appeal judge described a section of the Act as “inept drafting” and “something like the Hampton Maze”.

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Euthanasia Bill fails first reading

July 31st, 2003 at 10:42 am by David Farrar

Peter Brown’s Death with Dignity or Euthanasia Bill failed to even make it to select committee after failing its first reading by 57 votes to 60.

Personally I’m somewhat disappointed as I beleive a select committee debate and submission process would have been worth-while. Personally I am not sure how I would eventually vote on the Bill if I was an MP, as my instincts are to support it, but I do have a concern coming from a medical family background about Doctors having a role of anything other than preserving life. Having said that passive euthanasia is very common and indeed sensible.

The voting breakdown on the Bill is interesting with the majority of Labour MPs actually voting against (some what surprisingly). The breakdown by Party was:

Party – For – Against – Abstain/No Vote

Labour – 25- 26 -1
National 7 – 20 – 0
NZ First 9 – 3 – 1
ACT 6 – 2 – 1
Greens 8 -1 – 0
United 1 – 7 – 0
Jim & Matt 1 – 1 – 0

Greens most in favour at 89% and United most against at 88%. The sole Green MP against was Ian Ewen-Street and sole United in favour Marc Alexander.

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MP for Courtenay Place

July 31st, 2003 at 10:31 am by David Farrar

The MP for Courtenay Place, Rt Hon Winston Peters, is not being charged by Police over the dispute with a Somali taxi driver.

In terms of the public relations side to the issue, it was rather unfortunate for Mr Peters that the Somali taxi driver turned out not to be some barely coherent recent immigrant, but a well spoken if accented gentleman who has done five years post university study in New Zealand. The Dominion Post concluded “No matter what gloss NZ First tries to apply to this debacle, the party’s leader behaved abominably and demonstrated the depth of his dislike for foreigners. If not a racist, he is certainly a bully. ”

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We’re all racist!

July 30th, 2003 at 10:30 am by David Farrar

According to Dr Cullen Bill English is racist for calling for legislation to exert exclusive crown ownership of the beaches and seabed.

Apart from the infantile stupidity of calling anyone who disagrees with Laboru a racist, Dr Cullen’s problem is that Mr English is merely calling for what Helen Clark and Margaret Wilson promised to do a few weeks ago before their Maori Caucus woke up. So does that make Helen and Margaret racists also?

And does it make the 50,000+ people who have signed a petition at calling for the same also racist.

It would be nice to live in a country where one can disagree on issues relating to the Treaty of Waitangi and not be called racist.

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That Duplicity again

July 30th, 2003 at 8:56 am by David Farrar

As a prime example of the duplicity which seems a hallmark of the Government, we have the scandal over whether the Immigration Service lied to the media over a suspected terrorist.

The Minister (Dalziel) claims the Spokesman didn’t technically lie because the NZ Herald asked whether a suspected terrorist arrived last night and he had arrived a few days earlier. I mean can you believe it – how many suspected terrorists do we get here. Whoops sorry – you mean that terrorist – I thought you were referring to an entirely different one.

As it transpires it now appears that the Immigration Department Spokesperson also lied to the Ombudsman, so the saga is far from over.

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What does it take to get sacked?

July 29th, 2003 at 8:14 am by David Farrar

The NZ Herald reports that the Immigration Department Spokesman wrote a note to his colleagues about how they had all “agreed to lie in unison” about an immigration issue, and expressing disappointment “The others caved in” which presumably means they told the truth.

At a time when the British Government looks almost ready to fall on the basis of claims that Blair’s adviser had exaggerated the issue of WMDs and Iraq, we have back home the admission of a conspiracy to lie to the public and media and the NZ Government’s reponse is merely that he was being flippant!!

Why is this not an immediate resignation – either for the staff member concerned or for those who do not sack him? An admission of a conspiracy to lie should be the main story on every media outlet but it seems to be ranking well below the death of some US entertainer.

Perhaps Winston had it right and New Zealand has just become used to such duplicity.

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Hell has now officially frozen over!

July 28th, 2003 at 10:48 pm by David Farrar

Yep, hell is now frozen over because I have read a speech of Winston Peters and agreed with most of it.

The speech by Peters states with remarkable perception how the hallmark of this Government is “duplicity”. Its the perfect word in hindsight and the analogy of Helen Clark’s Government being like a Hurricanes rugby fan at Eden Park who is cheering on the Blues but betting on the Crusaders is just superb!

So for the first and hopefully last time I commend a speech by Winston Peters to my readers.

No tag for this post. gets worse

July 27th, 2003 at 6:41 pm by David Farrar

The saga of the Government paying $1m for gets worse.

First they tried to get the name by taking legal action under the UDRP (designed for trademark disputes) and not only lost heavily but actually got found guilty of “reverse domain name hijacking” by having taken the case. Lots of bad publicity as it was pompously proclaimed to be in the name of Her Majesty the Queen. Poor Liz got all the bad headlines.

Then they paid $1 million for it – a staggering amount. Having followed domain name politics and values for many years I am not alone in saying this was a magnitude too high. $100,000 may have been defensible but $1 million is just playing Santa with our money.

Finally today it emerges that the staff of Trade NZ didn’t even have permission for their escapades with our money.

So why have heads not rolled? In a private company taking legal action without authority and an unauthorised $1m purchase would see you on the unemployment line.

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Harry’s stuff-up

July 27th, 2003 at 6:26 pm by David Farrar

New Plymouth MP Harry Duynhoven may have caused his seat in Parliament to become vacant due to his application to restore his Dutch citizenship.

The NZ Herald reports how the Privileges Committee is seeking legal advice on whether Duynhoven’s actions breached Section 55(1) of the Electoral Act 1993, specifically Paragraph (c) which states “If he or she does or concurs in or adopts any act whereby he or she may become a subject or citizen of any foreign State or Power, or entitled to the rights, privileges, or immunities of a subject or citizen of any foreign State or Power”

The Speaker has the responsibility under Section 129(1) to determine if a seat is vacant and I suspect that he will very shortly have to conclude Duynhoven’s seat is vacant. In fact one can argue he should have done so some time ago.

There has been some talk about retrospective legislative to stop the vacancy and a by-election, arguing that this is an obscure 150 year old clause. However it is not. The Electoral Act was totally reviewed and passed in 1993 – after Duynhoven first entered Parliament and most MPs know the sections on what causes a vacancy very well.

There is some talk of the Government forcing through Parliament under urgency, legislation to allow Duynhoven to retain his seat. This would be an incredibly bad thing to do, for many reasons.

1) Retrospective legislation is bad at the best of times, but retrospective legislation passed by Parliament for the sole purpose of benefiting a current MP reeks of third world status.

2) Australia has had the same issue with Jackie Kelly and they had a by-election rather than gerrymander the law.

3) While some may regard a by-election as a waste of time, with the result in no doubt, it is the height of arrogance for a Parliament to assume to know how the people will vote in any particular situation, and legislate to avoid an election.

So as much as I personally would rather not have a by-election in New Plymouth, I think Parliament has no choice but to let the law take its course. MPs should not be above the law, and itwould be manifestly unfair for an MP to escape the consequences of his own actions just because he has mates who can change the law

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