Archive for August, 2003

BooBoo the Fifth Tellytubby

August 28th, 2003 at 1:26 pm by David Farrar

Marian Hobbs is reminding everyone why she got a nickname of “BooBoo” as the fifth tellytubby.

First we had her comments about whether she would be happy to eat GE food and the response from our Minister in charge of GE was “Um, I don’t know”.

Now today we find out that Ms Hobbs has not even read the Nicky Hager book, yet this did not stop her claiming “Mr Hager’s book has all the facts wrong, his claims are wrong”

Next no doubt she will claim she too was abused by Peter Ellis!

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

August 28th, 2003 at 1:19 pm by David Farrar

When Corngate hit the news during the election the PM swore black and blue that she hardly knew anything about it and promised full release of all documents.

It has transpired that not only did she ring her brother-in-law (a scientist) to get advice on the issue, she also received a detailed briefing from one of her advisors on the GE scare. The advisors said that they could not be certain the corn was not contaminated.

Despite the promise of full disclosure, her own Chief Executive suppressed the memo from public release, even over the strong objections of the author. He claims he did this without the PM’s knowledge.

One has to wonder why such a respected civil servant would not comply with the public assurance given by his boss to release all papers. Why he persisted in this even after he received a strong complaint over the supression. Could it be because he knew the political consequences of releasing a memo showing the PM was fully informed of the issue, just hours after she had denied it.

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Derek The Fox

August 25th, 2003 at 8:35 am by David Farrar

Derek Fox shows how he got his nickname of “Derek The Fox” in this article in the NZ Herald where he claims his sudden resignation has nothing to do with the complaint against him by a female staff member, but because of attacks on Maori TV Service by MPs.

In the words of Tui – “yeah right”.

Fox has been handsomely rewarded for his work with MTS. The Govt promised as Chair he would get only $30,000 and instead he got over $100,000, and after hiring John Davy he then chaired the appointment panel which rejected all other applicants so he would be appointed CEO on a very well compensated salary.

If one is to believe Fox that his resignation is unrelated to the complaint, that is a shocking abandonment of MTS – bailing out before they are even on air and having pocketed several hundred thousand dollars.

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Please explain!

August 24th, 2003 at 6:07 pm by David Farrar

There appears to be a lot of misplaced sympathy in Australia for Pauline Hanson over her three year jail term for electoral fraud.

I think the term is highly appropriate, not so much for what effectively was the theft of $500,000, but because the fraud basically led to a diferent electoral result than would otherwise have been the case. This is a more subtle form of stealing or rigging an election, and in a democracy such behaviour has to be met with a very stiff deterent.

Let’s face it, I doubt any politican after this is now going to lie over their membership numbers in order to get funding.

Now if only it was a criminal act to pass a special law to re-elect one of your mates who has lost his seat!

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Another Maori broadcasting scandal

August 23rd, 2003 at 3:30 pm by David Farrar

MTS has had yet another scandal with the resignation of Derek Fox (the man who chaired his own appointment panel!).

When the news broke yesterday there was much speculation that a woman was involved, and the NZ Herald confirms the staff member making the complaint was female.

I can be persauded that it is not unreasonable for the Government to fund some Maori language broadcasting (well for as long as we own or fund TVNZ and Radio NZ) but the history of scandals and incompetence with ATN, MTS, TMP and now even a manager on almost $200,000 within TVNZ to ensure the news is politically correct on maori issues is pushing even my tolerance.

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Rodney vs Brian

August 21st, 2003 at 8:24 pm by David Farrar

Russell Brown observes that Brian Edwards should stop his show antics before it gets stopped for him.

Brian Edwards has claimed his show is not a conflict of interest with being PM’s media advisor as it is merely a chat show, not current affairs. But who has he had on to date – Donna Awatere-Hauta, Lindsay Perigo, Rodney Hide, Lynley Hood all politically involved.

A good article is at the NZ Herald.

Unlike Russell I have seen the interview (three times now I enjoy it so much) and the highlight for me was when Brian Edwards lied and said he had no idea who paid him to be Helen Clark’s media coach and Rodney Hide incredulously asked whether he got paid in cash – delicious the visual images of brown envelopes full of hundred dollar notes being passed from Clark to Edwards.

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The Fart Tax Blues

August 21st, 2003 at 8:12 pm by David Farrar

NZ Pundit’s posting of the lyrics to The Fart Tax Blues reminds me that National’s Flatulence Tax website has had a link to a realplayer version since last week.

Who says nothing good ever comes out of Gore!

Keeping me busy

August 21st, 2003 at 8:02 pm by David Farrar

The reason there has been no updates for a couple of days is now over.

Been working on the sale of Domainz in my spare time. Thankfully now over. End of a very long project. Yay!

Spam spam spam spam

August 17th, 2003 at 5:18 pm by David Farrar

Spam has been my major activity in the last three days. No, not sending it, but trying to stop it.

Had a meeting with the DMA (who are anti spam unlike some of their overseas counterparts) in Auckland on Friday to discuss ways to reduce spam. On the way to the meeting read in the taxi a NZ Herald story about Christchurch resident Shane Atkinson who boasted of up to 100 million spam e-mails a day. A further story looks into the ingredients of his penis enlargement pills.

Internetnz decided to lodge complaints with various regulatory authorities and I’ve spent most of the weekend looking through enough penile growth websites to last a life-time, as background for the complaints. Also done a few media interviews on the issue.

The full PR from InternetNZ follows. Should be further updates on this issue on Monday.

InternetNZ is lodging complaints against Christchurch spammer Shane Atkinson with three different regulatory bodies.

Atkinson has been identified in the media as being responsible for the sending of up to 100 million spam e-mails a day to promote his penis enlargement pills.

InternetNZ Vice-President, David Farrar, said that complaints are being lodged with:
– The Commerce Commission for breach of Section 10 of the Fair Trading Act 1986, relating to misleading conduct in relation to goods.
– The Ministry of Health for breach of the Medicines Act 1981
– The Privacy Commissioner for breach of the Privacy Act 1993

“Mr Atkinson is an unrepentant spammer who believes that those who don’t want to receive spam should not connect to the Internet. InternetNZ disagrees that connecting to the Internet is a license for Mr Atkinson to promote his penis
enlargement pills to every man, woman and child’s e-mail address he can find” said Mr Farrar.

InternetNZ has been considering investigating the possibility of advocating for NZ legislation to combat spam.

“If nothing is done to stem the tide of spam, we will start to lose Internet users as they become overloaded with junk mail. It is estimated that just over 50% of all email travelling the Internet is now spam”. said Keith Davidson, InternetNZ President

“If spammers believe there is nothing wrong with spamming, then legislation will become a definitive requirement in New Zealand. Many other countries have passed or intend to pass anti-spam legislation. While New Zealand has been able to rely on industry self regulation and a high degree of co-operation between ISP’s in the fight against spam, it is becoming apparent that further steps towards legislation may be desirable if attitudes like those of Mr Atkinson
exist.” according to Mr Davidson

InternetNZ urges the appropriate regulatory authorities to prosecute Mr Atkinson to the maximum extent permissible under current laws.” concluded InternetNZ Vice-President David Farrar


Agreeing with Russell

August 14th, 2003 at 8:30 am by David Farrar

In a rare occurence, I am agreeing with not one, but two things Russell Brown is saying in Hard News yesterday.

Russell sums up the Edwards funding issue well by saying “But writing a highly familiar letter to the Minister of Broadcasting – a recipient of your media training services – seeking a policy change in one’s own personal interest is simply off.” and also.

Russell also writes about Jonathan Marshall’s “tabloid” website and how someone has set up a site on Mr Marshall now. It seems Marshall now appreciates how appearing on TV isn’t an automatic right to be stalked as his lawyers have sent a letter to the latest site asking them to take it down. Hopefully there are some lessons beign learnt here.

The truth comes out

August 14th, 2003 at 8:22 am by David Farrar

The NZ Herald reports a damning story by NZPA about how Harry Duynhoven told some constituents that he was happy for there to be a by-election but that Labour was worried it would take a hammering over the foreshore and seabed issue.

Now some people have not been convinced that this is a big issue. But just think about the precedent that we have allowed this Government to not just set, but get away with.

We now have a precedent that the Government can retrospectively amend the electoral act to avoid an election, because the timing is politically inconvenient.

Clark has already shown a willingness to have an early election on the filmiest of grounds (that seven minutes a day of points or order were making the Government unmanageable), and now she has cancelled an election on equally flimsy grounds. Arrogance doesn’t even come close to the epitaphs I am thinking of.

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But what about the level of rates Helen!

August 12th, 2003 at 8:25 am by David Farrar

Helen Clark has waded into the ARC rating debarcle and declared that the problem is “the system adopted by Auckland Regional Council was biased against lower and modest-income people and shifted the rates burden away from business on to residents.”

What she doesn’t mention or condemn is the outraegous 34% increase in the total rate take. That is the bigger issue, but it is usual for the left to squabble about how to divide the pie up, rather than concentrate on how big (or small in this case) the pie should be.

Of course having led a Government which has increased on introduced 18 taxes or levies (and seven more on the way), Miss Clark is hardly likely to decry the ARC following her lead. In fact it seems their main sin is that unlike the Government they haven’t socked it enough to business.

And incidentially what has caused the 34% increase. A public transport levy to support a system that 95% of Aucklanders will never use. But that’s an issue for another day.

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Painful but fun!

August 10th, 2003 at 8:26 pm by David Farrar

Just returned feeling very bruised and needing a kidney transplant, from go-karting in Petone. A very fun way to spend the evening with competitive masochistic friends.

OSH would have heart attacks to know that halfway through my brake snapped off. Took me a while to notice it also due to lack of use! Eventually decided the ability to stop without ramming something solid was useful so swapped cars. Had fastest lap-time of 31 seconds.

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Hope I made sense!

August 10th, 2003 at 5:38 pm by David Farrar

Just got interviewed by Radio NZ for an item of Internet Political Campaigning. Will play on Monday after 8.00 a.m.

I think I managed not to come across as too much of a blithering idiot. but you never know until you head what actually gets played.

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Two good weekly reads

August 9th, 2003 at 2:12 pm by David Farrar

Two good weekly reads I can recommend. One is put out on Fridays by Murray McCully. It is always funny, often controversial and widely read “apprehensive colleagues, even more apprehensive members of the Government, media and defamation lawyers”.

St Molesworth also appears most Fridays and does a good job of copying the famous Dave Letterman’s Top 10 lists with home grown versions. The latest list is “Top 10 Winston Peters explanations for the taxi incident” and is appended below. No 9 is especially good!

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Margaret Wilson must go

August 8th, 2003 at 8:47 am by David Farrar

Attorney-General Margaret Wilson must go. The Attorney-General is NZ’s top law official and the convention for almost 1,000 years has been that they put the law above politics when making decisions such as appointing Judges, deciding what cases to prosecute etc.

Despite the “unambigious” opinion of the Solictor-General that Dynhoven’s seat fell vacant on 11 June, Wilson voted to over-ride the opinion of her own legal Chief Executive in a shocking display of partisanship. She has just told all of NZ that she effectively has no confidence in the legal reasoning of her own Solictor-General.

Wilson claims it was a “valid if courageous decision to declare the law ambiguous”. About as courageous as a weasel.

And this is the woman who next year may appoint all seven Judges of the Supreme Court of NZ. Her record to date of appointments such as De Bres, Bathgate, Henry and Fortain is about as bad as one can get. There can now be no doubt at all that Wilson will choose to ignore the advice of the Solicotor-General and Chief Justice and appoint her own partisan mates as Judges.

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Harry’s gone but may be back

August 6th, 2003 at 2:43 pm by David Farrar

Both the Solictor-General and the Privileges Committee have advised that Harry Duynhoven’s seat fell vacant on 11 June due to his application to gain or restore Dutch citizenship.

The report of the Privileges Committee is worth a read and the Solictor-Generals advice will be on later today.

Labour and others believe that MPs should be above the law and in an outraegous and totally undemocratic move are going to force a special law through Parliament under urgency to effectively re-elect Duynhoven to Parliament without a by-election. This is a terrible precedent for Parliament to set.

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So what are we banning?

August 6th, 2003 at 8:18 am by David Farrar

An interesting article by former Labour Cabinet Minister on the breakup of ANZUS. He remarks that New Zealand’s anti-nuclear legislation was now sustained by “nothing more than historical symbolism and popular nostalgia”.

I find it hard to disagree with this when you consider the facts.

1) Only US subs have nuclear missiles on them anymore
2) No ships in the US fleet apart from aircraft carriers or subs are nuclear powered anymore
3) The US nuclear subs don’t tend to really visit very often, as their job is to stay out of sight, and those with nuclear weapons on board would still not be eligible to visit, if we amended the law to allow power but not weapons
4) US Aircraft carriers tend to be pretty busy and don’t come down this part of the world very often, and many of them wouldn’t fit into our harbours anyway!

So what exactly are we banning again? If we amended the legislation to remove the ban on nuclear powered ships (and hence remove a major thorn in our relationship with our allies) we would probably have such a ship visit at best once every forty years or so.

For those not convinced, try looking at it another way. If we didn’t have such a ban in place, and someone today proposed a ban on nuclear powered ships visiting NZ, it would get laughed away as there are basically no ships to ban.

Also worth remembering the entire US fleet lets out less radiation in a year than Auckland Hospital does in a day IIRC.

Rodney made me cry

August 2nd, 2003 at 11:37 am by David Farrar

Rodney Hide’s e-mail newsletter on the Euthanasia Bill achieved two things for me:

1) It made me cry (I did know Martin Hames)
2) It persuaded me that if I was an MP, I should have voted for the Bill

Rodney’s newsletter doesn’t appear to have a web archive so I’ve included the text below – I am sure Rodney will not object. It makes me sad reading it again.