Archive for April, 2004

Turia resigns

April 30th, 2004 at 3:24 pm by David Farrar

My spies in Wellington (I am in Thames as I type this!) report that Tariana Turia has resigned from Parliament.

I am told Radio Watea reported that she has decided to resign from Parliament over the foreshore and seabed issue and that the news was announced at 3pm on Radio Waatea 603am.

Turia is holding a press conference at Ratana Pa.

A by-election must be held between 4 and 8 weeks from now. May knock the budget bribes off the front pages. The Pm effectively will decide the by-election date.

UPDATE 1: NZPA has a story.

UPDATE 2: Turia resigns on 19 May so election will be late June or July.

UPDATE 3: Clark has just sacked Turia from Cabinet and the Executive.

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Did you know?

April 29th, 2004 at 10:58 pm by David Farrar

I reported a while back how surprised people are when told that the proportion of Maori in Parliament was 40% higher than their proportion of the adult population.

Now even I was surprised when reading the annual report of the student loans scheme to find that 17.2% of Maori aged over 15 are in tertiary education, while only 9.5% of non-Maori aged over 15 are in tertiary education.

So Maori are twice as likely as non Maori to be in tertiary education.

Also women outnumber men in tertiary education by almost 50% now.

So someone tell me again about how we are targetting on need? Why is there not an outcry over the low status of non-Maori males in tertiary education?

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More wisdom from Auckland students

April 29th, 2004 at 8:48 am by David Farrar

A couple of weeks ago Auckland students voted to instruct their President to apologise to Don Brash for calling him a racist.

Yesterday they voted again by a 2:1 majority in favour of “That AUSA urge the government to drop the 33% and 39% marginal tax rates so that graduates have more money to repay their loans faster.”

I understand TV3 and Radio NZ attended the meeting, yet have not noticed any coverage of the resolution. Have I missed it?

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The official ACT leadership book

April 27th, 2004 at 7:51 pm by David Farrar

Even though I am sure it breaks some minor gambling rule, I am offering odds on all ten contenders for the leadership of ACT.

Maximum bet accepted is $5, and bets will preferably be paid out in beer.

Odds will be revised from time to time, as the situation changes. Note definition of odds of (for example) 2:1 mean you get $2 if you are right, and pay me $1 if you are wrong.

The initial odds in alphabetical order, plus comments are below:

Awatere-Huata, Donna. 1000-1
Coddington, Deborah. 12-1
Eckhoff, Gerry. 25-1
Franks, Stephen. 3-1
Hide, Rodney. 3-2
Newman, Muriel. 6-1
Prebble, Richard. 10-1
Roy, Heather. 15-1
Shirley, Ken. 2-1
Wong, Kenneth, 100-1

Major positives and negatives for each candidate:

Awatere-Huata – positive is very high name awarensss – negatives are she has been expelled from Caucus and is facing fraud charges.

Coddington – positives are her research and writing skills plus being a good looking woman in a party that usually gets few votes from women – negatives are her inexperience and her husband.

Eckhoff – positives are his likeability and tenacity – negatives are no appeal to urban voters, little visibility and lack of charisma.

Franks – positives are his legal skills and knowledge, his visibility on law & order and acceptability to the hierarchy – negatives are lack of charisma, limited profile and unkown leadership ability.

Hide – positives are his huge public profile, being Auckland based (where most ACT voters are), being seen to have a chance at winning a seat, and his ability to run a scandal for weeks on end – negatives are his (un)popularity with colleagues and hierarchy, being seen to be more interested in scandals than policy, his lack of caution and questions about whether he is better as a one man commando than as a General.

Newman – positives are relatively high profile on welfare issues (but less since Katherine Rich moved into that portfolio for National) and eights years parliamentary experience – negatives are not being seen as leadership potential by colleagues and not always being well briefed on the facts.

Prebble – positives are having been an MP since 1972 and Leader since 1996, negative is that he has just resigned as Leader.

Roy – positives are she has done nothing wrong so far, gaining credibility in health and looks ten years younger than she is – negatives are only 18 months in Parliament, inexperience and still gaining in confidence in the House.

Shirley – positives are very good spells as Acting Leader, a capable whip, experienced former Minister and did quite well in his electorate seat – negatives are almost no national profile, lack of charisma and not a good TV performer always.

Wong – positives are no bad press and chance to be be seen as new broom – negatives are he won’t be an MP until Awatere-Huata is convicted or stops her appeals against ACT’s use of the Electoral Integrity Act.

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Prebble resigns

April 27th, 2004 at 1:30 pm by David Farrar

Richard Prebble has resigned as Leader of ACT.

My sympathies go out to his staff who all lose their jobs automatically. Never a nice place to be, even though some or all may be rehired by the next Leader.

In my opinion ACT have to elect Rodney Hide as Leader. He has huge visibility nationally, is a good performer in the House and a very hard working MP. He is their best chance of making 5%.

Rodney is a bit of a risk, as he can jump in with both feet before checking for nails in the puddle, but at 2% you need to take some risks.

I agree with Sir Roger that it would be great if Prebble stays in Parliament. He would be a huge boon to any centre right Government with his experience.

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Political Drama

April 27th, 2004 at 12:26 pm by David Farrar

One News has just reported that Tariana Turia left the Labour Caucus meeting at Premier House after only 45 minutes and in the PMs car.

Also that Richard Prebble is calling a press conference this afternoon regarding his leadership.

Highly likely that Turia has been told by Clark, she is being sacked. Less likely that Prebble is standing down.

Turia certainly pulls nu punches. At a time when some may be looking for compromise, she said, in response to asking if she will resign as a Minister “I haven’t done anything wrong, and usually people resign because they’ve done something wrong. They have either been drunk-driving or not quite told the truth in a way that the public would expect.”

I am sure Ruth Dyson and Lianne Dalziel appreciated that!

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Picking Polls

April 26th, 2004 at 2:23 pm by David Farrar

The latest Hard News post has quite a bit on polls.

Strangely nothing at all on the TVNZ poll which has National 11% ahead of Labour.

But we did hear a lot about US polls. To quote:

“As they are on both coasts, it would seem, but they’re blaming Bush: a New York State poll finds John Kerry early 20 points ahead of Bush. Support for Bush is very much on the slide in California and amongst Latinos too, but remains roughly equal to Kerry’s nationwide.”

But I went to check these at the source. Yes in New York Kerry leads Bush by 19%. But in the 2000 election Gore beat Bush there by 25%, so Bush is 6% better off.

And in California Bush trails Kerry by 10%. Again in 2000 Bush lost by 12% so another improvement in a very liberal state. This pust the polls into context.

USA Today has a story on other state polls, indicating they are good news for Bush.

In Maryland Kerry is ahead by 5% only, and Gore won by 17%. New Jersey which had Gore 16% ahead is now a tie. And in Michigan and Pennsylvania, Bush is ahead, and he lost it to Gore by 5%. Also Bush is ahead in New Hampshire, another state Gore won in.

A good summary is the Washington Dispatch which projects the Electoral College on the basis of state polls. It currently is 317 Bush to 221 Kerry.

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Kiwi Cruise Missiles

April 25th, 2004 at 8:25 pm by David Farrar

Sunday on Tv One had a very good item on Bruce Simpson of Aardvark fame, focusing on how he produced a cruise missile for under $5,000.

It also goes on to tell how the IRD bankrupted Bruce which killed a deal with a US firm to export the tecnology. Seems very short sighted of the IRD as they did not recover all their debt by bankrupting Bruce, and may have if the deal had gone through.

I met Bruce at his home a few years ago and he is a really nice guy. It is a real shame what happened to him.

The new TVNZ website (which isn’t bad) has a story online about Bruce and the missile deal.

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Latest Poll

April 25th, 2004 at 6:12 pm by David Farrar

Helen Clark will not be happy with the latest poll results. Not only is the gap Labour has behind National increased to 11%, but she is now only 1% ahead of Don Brash as preferred PM. Historically PMs tend to be at least double the Leader of the Opposition.

The One News poll results are

National 48% (-1% from last poll)
Labour 37% (-2%)
ACT 2% (+0%)
NZF 5% (+1%)
UNF 2% (+0%)
Green 5% (+3%)

Using the St Lague formula, this would give an election result (change from 2002 election in brackets) of:

National 60 (+23)
Labour 46 (-6)
ACT 0 (-9)
NZF 6 (-7)
UNF 2 (-6)
Green 6 (-3)
PCP 1 (-1)

Preferred PM has

Brash 31%
Clark 32%
Peters 7%

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An evil evil regime

April 24th, 2004 at 12:17 am by David Farrar

My first reaction upon reading that a train accident in North Korea had destroyed 1,850 households and killed or injured up to 3,000 people was disbelief mixed with incredible sadness for the families of those affected.

The sadness for the poor families and community involved is still there, but also I have to say a feeling of hatred for that evil regime in charge of the country.

As I read more stories, I found out the first reaction of Kim Jong Il was to cut international phone lines in an effort to prevent news of the explosion from getting out.

What sort of sad, mad fuck cuts phone lines when several thousand of his citizens have been blown up, rather than call out for as much help as you can get?

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More free trade

April 23rd, 2004 at 9:37 am by David Farrar

Now this is good news. On top of moving towards gaining access to China’s huge and growing markets, ASEAN has invited us to start free trade negotiations.

It must be lonely for the Greens that the only countries in the world against free trade now are Cuba and North Korea.

Of course some like the US are more in favour in principle than in practice!

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University Research

April 23rd, 2004 at 9:29 am by David Farrar

I am surprised that there has not been more publicity on the fact that around 40% of academics are inactive in terms of research.

When I was on the University of Otago Council, I made myself mildly unpopular with some staff by actually scrutinsing sabbatical leave reports and the level of research done.

The requirement do perform research is the major factor why many academic staff have less than 20% contact hours in a term week, and have around five months a year of non term time. The study I did at Otago found (like the TEC) that many academics had not produced any research for years or even decades.

It is great we do have some top class academics. But I think universities still have some way to go in terms of policies on tenure, research and lecturing ability to pay more and retain the best ones but weed out the bad ones.

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More on Zaoui

April 23rd, 2004 at 9:18 am by David Farrar

The NZ Herald has done more work on the RSAA contentious decision that Zaoui’s trials in Belgium and France were flawed. Many have commented this was because the RSAA simply had little idea of how European courts work.

The Belgium Government has confirmed the assertions Zaoui had no lawyer and no translator was not correct.

One of Zaoui’s co-defendants in the France trial has stated he considers Zaoui got a fair trial.

I’ve considered what should be the standard of prood required for a security risk certificate to be issued to prevent a refugee claim. If someone has no convictions, merely suspicion, then the proof should be at least on the balance of probabilities.

But Zaoui is different. He has been convicted of offences in multiple countries. Therefore to ignore those convictions, one would I submit need to satisfy yourself beyond reasonable doubt that the convictions are unsafe.

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OSH Policy

April 22nd, 2004 at 10:59 pm by David Farrar

Having recently become an employer, I have been spending my nights reading through stacks of government publications ranging from GST Guides, to Payroll regulations and finally got up to the OSH regulations.

I managed to work my way through all 141 pages of the short guide to the Act, and realise that one could not use common sense any more, and I needed to have a written policy on accident and emergency procedures.

Below is the e-mail setting out the policy, as required by law:
(more…)

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Corporate Responsibility

April 22nd, 2004 at 9:32 pm by David Farrar

A very good speech on corporate responsbility by Roger Kerr.

I especially loved the quote to illustrate the point that much so called commitment to social responsibility is just public relations. Guess which company said this in its corporate responsibility report:

“We will integrate social and environmental considerations into our internal management and value system.”

The corporation formerly known as Enron.

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Well done Auckland students

April 22nd, 2004 at 8:43 pm by David Farrar

The Auckland University Students’ Association announced this week the results of the 11 referenda (open to all members of AUSA) it held.

Auckland University used to be the most radical campus in the country, and many of the Labour Party elite come from there.

Two of their resolutions are great to read:

“That AUSA opposses all forms of racial discrimination at Auckland University.”

“That the AUSA President apologise to students for labelling Don Brash a racist after his call for all New Zealanders to be treated equally regardless of race.”

AUSA members also voted to withdraw from NZUSA.

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Gallup Polls

April 22nd, 2004 at 3:19 pm by David Farrar

The Gallup website is always a treasure trove of fascinating information.

Did you know George W Bush has never had a negative approval rating? He has shrunk to a net 1% postive in March but is currently at +7%.

Thiose who support withdrawing some or all troops has shrunk from 57% in October 2003 to 37% today.

On the issue of whether troops should have been sent to Iraq in the first place, the main page reports that Republcans (88% in favour) and Democrats (77% against) are split on party lines but Independents are in favour by 57% to 41%.

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Who is Gordy?

April 22nd, 2004 at 2:43 pm by David Farrar

I did have to laugh that Russell Brown in his latest post, had to clarify that Gordy was Gordon King, not Gordon Dryden who was concerned people may think it was him.

I have to say I would be surprised if a single person could read Gordon King’s opinions and think they are likely to be Gordon Dryden’s, who is a former member of the Communist Party.

The only less likely Gordy would be Gordon Campbell.

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Naked PM

April 22nd, 2004 at 2:10 pm by David Farrar

For those who missed Marc Ellis on Sports Cafe talking about nudity and Helen Clark, you can find the details at NZ Pundit.

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Bloody Predictive Texting

April 20th, 2004 at 8:37 pm by David Farrar

You all know that really cool feature with text messaging where it guesses the word you want. Well sometimes it gets it rather wrong!

3.33 pm text from Charlotte: “Boo! How’s work? I’m bored”

3.37 pm text from DPF said “I have just done my tax return” (March PAYE) and was meant to finish with “Fancy a meal after work?”.

Unfortunately my cellphone thought something else, and as I didn’t check it before I pushed send, it said “Fancy a neck after work?”.

Now’s that fairly unsubtle, even for me!

Note both use the 6325 combination.

Just to make things worse I phoned a mutual friend, Chris, and told him what had happened. Chris has no sympathy for my plight and then texted Charlotte saying “I hear Dave wants to neck you” but he mistyped and sent that to another mutual friend Wendy by mistake. Understandably Wendy (and I imagine her husband) was somewhat baffled and my reputation as a necking solictor gets worse.

New motto: Check before you send!

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Visiting the Neighbours

April 20th, 2004 at 8:09 pm by David Farrar

A quick check around my neighbouring blogs:

The article in the Guardian comparing Don Brash to Enoch Powell was so ludicrous that even Russell Brown has posted that he has “some sympathy with Brash in his indignation over the Guardian column”. My own somewhat more powerful opinion is here.

PNN has a must read article on how Marilyn Waring replied to an e-mail from him calling him a racist and saying she will lay a complaint if he e-mails her again.

Now PNN on his blog can have strong opinions, but his e-mail to Waring was not at all offensive. It pointed out army engineers were actually still working, questioned the wisdom of placating terrorists and challenged that Bush is making to get Jewish votes when most Jewish Americans (by 3:1) are Democrats. Sure she may not want to debate her views (but she did make them on TV) but to call someone racist because she disagrees with them, just shows up her insecurities.

And in the latest round of “Gordy” and “Russ” baiting each other (I am sure they enjoy it greatly), NZ Pundit has come out with the Russell Brown Terzain Aporia Prose-Poetry Parody Game.

I already have two entries in. I thought of a third but not one I’d want to put in writing :-)

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Jihad needed against political corectness

April 20th, 2004 at 12:10 pm by David Farrar

One could not find a better example of cringing Treaty worship and political corectness than in this story in the Dominion Post.

The Wellington City Council has come out with a policy urging people that want to sprinkle ashes of deceased people in public places to consult local iwi before doing so.

The local iwi has sensibly come out and said the policy is an outrage, and they “wouldn’t dream of intruding on how people may deal with death or the consequences of that”.

This is exactly what Don Brash was confronting at Orewa, and why the public has reacted so strongly. It is not about whether this particular law should have this particular clause, but about achieiving a total shift in mind set about what is the role of the Treaty, and the nauseating political corectness that central and local government has developed around it.

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Just shut the xxxx up Helen

April 20th, 2004 at 10:56 am by David Farrar

The PM needs to shut her mouth on the Israeli passport case. Her government’s actions in effectively leaking that the persons charged are thought to be Mossad spies, does actually raise real issues around a fair trial.

The Government is obviously trying to emulate Tony Blair with a strategy along the lines of we will not name them as spies, but we will confirm to anyone asking that we have complained to the Israeli Government about them.

Clark has declared that the Israelis will get a fair trial. Well Helen, you are not the Judge who determines such matters, and in fact it is your government which is creating the situation.

The Government should have refused to comment at all on this issue. Instead we have had Clark saying that once the trial is over, she’ll be having plenty to say to Israel on the issue, which is about as subtle as Trevor Mallard with rugby world cup negotiations.

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Long live the Empire

April 20th, 2004 at 10:40 am by David Farrar

How often do you get to argue in court whether or not you are a colony. The Pitcairn Supreme Court has just ruled that Pitcairn Island is subject to British jurisdiction.

It would have been fascinating if they had found that the Island was independent as it could set up a great paradox. If British law does not apply, then the UK could not not have legally appointed the Pitcairn Supreme Court, and hence the Court could not deliver a ruling!

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Proof National is on right track

April 20th, 2004 at 10:31 am by David Farrar

The Dominion Post today reports that the PPTA ” has warned of more industrial action if the National Party regains power”.

This is surely proof that National is on the right track if the PPTA is threatening action against it. I suspect the PPTA would have threatened action against Galileo for asserting the Earth wasn’t flat, had they the chance.

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