Archive for February, 2005

Dalziel sued for $3 million

February 28th, 2005 at 6:07 pm by David Farrar

Lianne Dalziel lost her job as a Minister when found to have lied over the Sri Lankan refugee case. Now she may lose a lot of money also as the girl’s lawyer is suing. Hmmn actually I suspect the taxpayer will actually pay if she is found to have defamed the girl’s lawyer.

No details online yet.

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Bloody annoying

February 28th, 2005 at 5:56 pm by David Farrar

I’m reading an article on Computerworld about IPv6, and a TV ad pops up with the headlines of the TV3 news bulletin to start in a few minutes.

The Stuff website pops similiar up a lot also.

I find that bloody intrusive. I don’t like video ads that pop up without my permission. Most popups are blocked but these ones get through.

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$1.75 billion on uncompleted courses

February 28th, 2005 at 5:37 pm by David Farrar

Bill English understands the wananga scandal is not about mis-doing at one instiution but a total failure of Labour’s tertiary education strategy.

Labour set up the Tertiary Education Commission as the corner-stone of its strategy, and it has been a miserable failure. Since 2000 it has spent a massive $2.5 billion on low-level, sub-degree courses and $1.75 billion of this was on the 70% of sub-degree students who fail to complete their courses.

It is not far from the truth to say that there were no positive educational outcomes for that $1.75 billion. It was on courses created to gain funding, not courses which there was a useful *educational* need for.

As Bill English points out Gisborne

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New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

February 28th, 2005 at 12:19 pm by David Farrar

Brian Rudman writes about funding for the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra and raises the usual Auckland whine about the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Referring to the NZSO as “the Wellington band” is pitiful stuff. The NZSO plays all over New Zealand. The location of their home base is pretty insignificant. I wouldn’t think different of them if their base was in Christchurch, as long as they still played in Wellington.

Incidentially the NZSO will play in Auckland 13 times this year.

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New road rules

February 28th, 2005 at 11:57 am by David Farrar

The NZ Herald has a useful summary of the new road rules which came into effect from yesterday.

One of the new rules, I have good grounds to support.

“Buses carrying passengers will not be allowed to move at any time the bus doors are open. At present the doors may be open within 50m of stopping but not when the bus moves off. “

When I was 11, I was on my school bus coming into Island Bay and at the door waiting to get off. The driver opened the doors while pulling into the bus stop, and a surge behind me pushed me out the bus door. I bounced off a car parked at the back of the bus stop, and went under the back wheel of the bus.

A ten tonne bus is very heavy as it passes over you. I am informed my yell of pain could be heard for some distance. And that was having it go over my leg only.

Being a good capitalist I of course limped around my Evening Post paper run to earn my few dollars of income, and then headed to the medical centre to report that my foot and leg hurt as a bus had run over them.

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Yay – some balance

February 28th, 2005 at 11:32 am by David Farrar

The NZ Herald puts some balance back into the cellphone in car debate by reporting that passengers, adjusting controls and radio/cd players are recorded as being a factor in more crashes than cellphones.

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More Chauvel travel

February 27th, 2005 at 11:05 pm by David Farrar

An alert informer has sent to me some parliamentary questions and answers from September 2003 about Mr Chauvel’s travel.

The trip from 25 January to 8 February 2003 covered just five meetings:

Hamburg

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The biggest propaganda campaign ever

February 27th, 2005 at 5:17 pm by David Farrar

In 1993 Helen Clark attached Nationals $2.5 million of advertising to explain the health reforms.

This year she is spending an obscene $21 million to promote Labour’s

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The Wananga Golf Course

February 27th, 2005 at 4:18 pm by David Farrar

Today’s revelation is that Te Wananga O Aotearoa paid half a million dollars to build a driving range and putting green at Te Awamutu Golf Course.

It is important that people do not think that this is necessarily wrong doing by the wananga. The Government has set the criteria which allows courses like golf to be funded out of the education budget. The system is fundamentally flawed, and we need a Government which will focus on standards, not just allow funding of any course because the forms are filled out legibly.

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More Treaty madness

February 27th, 2005 at 3:47 pm by David Farrar

Maori treaty claimants have written to the country’s leading scientists warning they own indigenous plants and animals and are entitled to a cut of any research and development profits.

If people want a cut of any research and development profits, there is a simple way to get it. Do some of your own research and development – don’t just freeload off the work of others.

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32 ways to lose your licence

February 26th, 2005 at 12:08 pm by David Farrar

The NZ Herald has an article on the new traffic regulations which come into effect tomorrow.

The number of ways to get demerit points has increased from 15 to 32.

I actually support most of the changes, and welcome the focus on overall safe driving, not just the speed of a car.

I suspect not many people will be fined for “Failing to give way to rail vehicle approaching level crossing” as the consequences of not giving way tend to be pretty fatal!

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Charles Chauvel

February 26th, 2005 at 12:01 pm by David Farrar

The Dominion Post reports that Labour’s candidate for Ohariu-Belmont, Charles Chauvel, has quit the board of Meridian Energy after warnings of a potential conflict of interest from SOEs Minister Paul Swain.

I am somewhat surprised one had to be advised by the Minister before making that decision independently. Also surprised Mr Chauvel claims it is not due to the advice from the Minister, but simply because he is too busy. I would not have thought ministerial appointees routinely ignore ministerial advice.

Also interesting is the $80,000 in travel expenses for the Lotteries Commission, with Chauvel saying it was generally a 10-day trip to Europe.

I travelled to Europe, business-class, last year for just over a week. The total cost was around $12,000. That is either a hell of a lot of 10 day trips to Europe, or some very atypical costs.

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Lies, damn lies and …

February 26th, 2005 at 11:51 am by David Farrar

Police Statistics.

Georgw Hawkins loves to boast the crime resolution rate is at an all time high. Now we know why.

Crimes are being recorded as “resolved” in police statistics without the alleged offender being spoken to, arrested, charged or convicted.

The criminals must love this. “Hey the Police have resolved my crimes in their computer, so I’m off the hook”.

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No barriers now

February 26th, 2005 at 11:40 am by David Farrar

Te Wananga O Aotearoa has itself requested a commission of inquiry to investigate accusations made against it.

The Government should set one up immediately, as originally proposed by Ken Shirley. If they do not, it will signal that they wish to hide their own role in the scandal.

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Banking Regulation

February 26th, 2005 at 11:27 am by David Farrar

The Dominion Post reports that Dr Cullen ignored the advice of all his top officials when he caved in to an Australian push for a single banking regulator.

Now to be fair to Dr Cullen, National’s John Key is on record as saying he supports a single regulator.

Now Mr Key probably knows more about banking than I know about anything, so that gives me some reassurance.

However I wonder if both men are over-looking the well documented history of Australian Governments doing over New Zealand, if it is in their interest. Remember single trans-tasman airline policy?

If an Australian bank gets into trouble, I am damn sure New Zealand customers will be well down the list of people to look after. Somewhere after paying the pet store for the food for Millie, the bank’s pet cat.

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Heh heh

February 25th, 2005 at 7:07 pm by David Farrar

Aaron Bhatnagar manages to combine the Wananga scam with a more common scam on his blog.

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Michael Laws vs Exclusive Brethren

February 25th, 2005 at 6:58 pm by David Farrar

The Broadcasting Standards Authority has ruled against Radio Pacific over comments made by Michael Laws and others about the Exclusive Brethren.

Michael certainly didn’t hold back, describing them as “mad, ignorant, bad neighbours, and probable child abusers who should be bred out of the human race”. Okay I guess he doesn’t like them.

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National Radio on PM Howard

February 25th, 2005 at 6:51 pm by David Farrar

National Radio displays intelligent insight (Yes I am being sarcastic) in discussing Australia sending some troops to Iraq to guard Japanese Engineers. Their summary:

“Simplisticly one would look and say that John Howard is kowtowing to George Bush, trying to get an invitation to the ranch to stay in with his mate in the White House”

Never mind that the issue wasn’t even discussed with the US, and was due to a direct request from Japan.

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Well that was interesting

February 25th, 2005 at 11:19 am by David Farrar

Last night we had the closing function for Apricot, and afterwards we went back to the Hotel bar to carry on drinking. At the bar I was on a couch, and the rest of the Kiwis on chairs.

A very drunk Japanese couple in their early 40s comes over to us. We know they were drunk because they asked us ten times how long we were staying in Japan for.

The couple insisted on buying us round after round of drinks, and we enjoyed some great saki. They sat next to me on the couch, and I could not avoid noticing that they were, umm feeling each other up repeatedly. This was a bit surprisingly, as he claimed they were brother and sister.

Anyway as the drinks continued, their aim got worse, and they both started to grope my legs at increasing frequencies. My friends, from the safety of their chairs, were signalling to me not to walk away, as this might dry up the rounds of free alcohol. And they were trying to stop themselves bursting out laughing at the increasingly distressed looks on my face.

The woman thought she was being subtle by placing her arm beneath her own leg, as she reached over for mine. Unfortunately it did not work and my colleagues almost lost it at this point as at the same time the guy reached over her leg to do the same.

Just as I was reaching the limit of my ability to prostitute myself so my friends get free drinks, the couple decided to call it a night. Once they leave the bar, said colleagues burst into hysterical laughter and suggest I follow the couple.

Moral of the story – always choose a chair over a couch.

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Depeering may be why Tradme not contactable

February 24th, 2005 at 4:28 pm by David Farrar

The very popular trademe site is uncontactable for most people today.

According to discussion on the network operators group, this is probably because at 11 am today Telstra-Clear depeered from WIX (Wellington Internet exchange).

It is thought this has overloaded AT&T’s Wellington pipe, as much traffic has to go through them now, rather than directly.

Best people don’t keep trying the site. I’ll do an update when it seems problem has been fixed. And oh yeah this is one of the reasons why peering is a good idea – minimises traffic having to go via international circuits.

UPDATE: It may be a denial of service attack, not linked to the depeering. No confirmation yet.

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Married to “a Maori builder”

February 24th, 2005 at 4:05 pm by David Farrar

PNN has highlighted a lovely quote from Buckingham Palace:

“An aide said the Queen did not always attend family weddings, citing the example of the marriage of the Duke of Gloucester elder daughter, Lady Davina Windsor, to a Maori builder.”

Nice to know Camilla ranks below a Maori builder on the desirability scale :-)

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Wince!

February 24th, 2005 at 2:05 pm by David Farrar

I thought this was no longer newsworthy after the Bobbitts.

I hope they washed it before the surgery!

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The new ‘Jobs Jolt’?

February 24th, 2005 at 1:59 pm by David Farrar

The proposed single benefit from the Government is being attacked on all sides. It is not necessairly a bad ideas, but as usual for the Government they are focusing on politics not policy by making an announcement with almost no details.

I wonder if this will be like Jobs Jolt. Lots of pr and spin, but in the end only achieved around 5% of what it claimed it would do. Maharewy is getting good at over-promising and under-delivering.

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NZ anti-spam law

February 24th, 2005 at 1:35 pm by David Farrar

It is great the Government has announced the details of the proposed anti-spam law, and I am looking forward to seeing the actual legislation.

For those who don’t know, I chair InternetNZ’s anti-spam taskforce and have worked very closely with the Government on the proposed law. On the basis of the announcement, it looks like the legislation will be similiar to Australia’s. This is a good thing, as world-wide Australia is generally regarded as having the best law, and also the most effective as locally sourced spam in Australia has almost disappeared.

People should be aware that no-one who is involved in fighting spam thinks legislation by itself will reduce spam. How-ever almost every expert agrees that legislation is a necessary part of a multi-pronged approach which includes education, technical filters, self-regulation and international co-operation.

Very little spam in NZ is sent locally because NZ ISPs are generally excellent in kicking off spammers. However this does not mean NZ is not a source of spam. There are a growing number of NZers who are majorly involved in spamming, and they hire people in the US to do the actual sending for them. At present they are immune from legal action.

The other important aspect of the legislation is that spam is an international problem, and only by way of legislation can we authorise international co-operation to catch the biggest spammers. At an OECD workshop on spam I attended, the US FTC spoke about how they sometimes need to execute within a week or so up to 14 search warrants in half a dozen different countries as one tries to trace the e-mail source, the website host, the domain name registration and the credit card bank account.

By being able to co-operate with the US FTC, and other countries, we will be able to play a party in closing down the major spammers who do spend most of the spam to NZers. We are almost the last country in the OECD to have anti-spam legislation.

Rodney thinks the law is pointless. I hope he will be open to persuasion once we see the actual bill. The law will not stop spam by itself, but without such laws and enforcement actions around the world, we will never reduce the impact of spam from the $25 billion global cost it currently is.

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A nation of share-holders

February 24th, 2005 at 12:59 pm by David Farrar

Dr Cullen wants us to become a nation of share-holders, not just home-owners.

This is rather ironic.

You see if Dr Cullen stopped over-taxing us, and gave us back some of our $7 billion surplus, then hey we would have more money to invest in shares and the like.

So a fairly simple solution in sight. Not of course one Dr Cullen will take, as he would rather spend our money for us.

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