Archive for April, 2005

Hotel log: Samuels not sober

April 30th, 2005 at 7:39 am by David Farrar

Hmmn this is interesting.

Labour whip Darren Hughes said yesterday that during a meeting after the incident “there had been no suggestion from the hotel that Mr Samuels was drunk”.

Yet the log entry form the hotel says Samuels was “not sober”, was aggressive and yelled at hotel staff.

So who do we believe? The hotel who recorded the incident at the time, or the spin several weeks later?

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Another bad headline

April 30th, 2005 at 7:31 am by David Farrar

I almost got excited when I saw the headline $1b company tax cuts in Budget. Alas it is not a reduction in company tax rates, but changing depreciation thresholds etc.

A UMR poll in the NBR has also shown that now 62% of people think they are paying too much tax. I presume the otehr 38% don’t pay tax!

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Locke supports Defence Chief

April 30th, 2005 at 7:23 am by David Farrar

Keith Locke is backing the NZ Defence Chief, against Australian criticism.

Poor old Air Marshal Ferguson must be appalled, because to most in the defence forces, being backed by Keith Locke would be like having Brian Tamaki endorse the head of a gay lobby group :-)

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MPs Assets

April 30th, 2005 at 7:08 am by David Farrar

The NZ Herald has done a search of public registers, to find out what assets are owned by MPs.

The house values are always interesting. I’ll summarise below the top few and bottom few:

Under $200,000 in property

Parekura Horomia $114,000 for two houses in Gisborne plus land in Wairoa!
Nanaia Mahuta $126,000 for a property in Waikato
Darren Hughes $141,000 for a house in Howowhenua
Dave Heroera $160,000 for a house in Manukau
Keith Locke $193,000 for a house in Auckland

Over $1,000,000 in property

Lockwood Smith $1,005,000 for four farms
Wayne Mapp $1,035,000 for houses in North Shore and Wellington
Phil Goff $1,045,000 in Manukau
Tariana Turia $1,140,000 for a house in Wanganui and farm in Rangitikei
Pansy Wong $1,154,750 for two houses and a plot.
Ann Hartley $1,233,000 for five houses in North Shore and Auckland
Richard Worth $1,330,000 for a house in Auckland
Maurice Williamson $1,450,000 for a house in Auckland and a house in Manukau
Sandra Goudie $1,450,000 for property in Hauraki District
Sue Kedgley $1,450,000 for a house in Wellington
Judith Tizard $1,530,000 for homes in Auckland and Coromandel
Dover Samuels $1,900,000 for motel and dwelling in Matauri Bay
Murray McCully $2,110,000 for three houses
Jim Sutton $2,120,000 farm in Waimate and flat in Wellington
Dail Jones $2,129,000 for five properites
David Carter $2,141,100 for four farms and a unit in Canterbury
Pita Paraone $2,260,000 for three orchards and a house
Muriel Newman $2,826,000 for three farms and a house
Brian Connell $2,940,000 for a farm in Ashburton and two properties in Christchurch
Shane Ardern $3,125,000 for two farms in South Taranaki
John Key $8,395,000 for four properties

No ACT MPs in the over $1,000,000 list. They must be better at hiding their assets :-)

UPDATE: That is no ACT MPs except Deputy Leader Muriel Newman. Missed noticing her.

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Internet Banking Fraud

April 30th, 2005 at 6:43 am by David Farrar

A story in the NZ Herald about a $34,000 fraud through probable use of a trojan horse keystroke logger program.

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Did the SST name a source?

April 30th, 2005 at 6:35 am by David Farrar

Audrey Young in the NZ Herald says “The fact that a newspaper named a source of one of its stories about former Police Commissioner Peter Doone was a shock to the industry this week”.

However it is not clear to me, that they did. Later in the story we read that she was not subpoenaed, and in fact chose to give evidence to avoid Margaret Wilson having to testify, and also “to avoid the possibility of having her own involvement revealed by someone else giving evidence during the case”.

So I am unsure how that can be construed as the SST naming a source.

Later in the article, we read that the PM had the two official reports into Doone, and neither of them stated thet he said “That won

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Interns in Washington

April 29th, 2005 at 4:21 pm by David Farrar

A Washington intern for the Daily Telegraph writes about how she is propositioned on an almost daily basis.

bfeatintern26.jpg

I could make some comment, about it being no surprise, but that would be wrong so I won’t :-)

Her article is worth reading, because it does point out it is not just old politicians and lobbyists hitting on young interns, but also some interns do use their sex appeal to ‘climb the ladder’.

Life is much more boring in NZ. Office structures are much flatter in Parliament, so not much in the way of ladders to climb up. Generaly staff being involved with MPs has harmed not helped their careers I would say.

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Monthly Blog Stats

April 29th, 2005 at 12:44 pm by David Farrar

For those political blogs which want to be part of my monthly stats roundup, it would be a great time-save to me, if you can count up late on Saturday the number of posts and comments for the month and send them to me (david@farrar.com). It takes hours to count them all up manually.

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The dumbest hacker either

April 29th, 2005 at 12:34 pm by David Farrar

An article on Slashdot alerted me to this online chat transcript involving the world’s dumbest hacker.

Basically the person he is threatening to hack tells him that his IP address is 127.0.0.1 (which always point back to the person’s own machine). The moronic hacker gets to work and strangely he disappears. A few minutes later he is back saying “dude be happy my pc crashed otherwise you’d be gone” with no idea of why his PC crashed – his own hacking.

He then carries on hacking and boasting that he has deleted his victim’s G drive, F drive etc etc until he gets to the point where he says he is 30% through deleting the C Drive. At this point he disappears and has not been seen since.

Priceless!

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Asian Flu

April 29th, 2005 at 7:14 am by David Farrar

I really should stop linking to items on the Greens’ blog, because well deep down I do actually want to wipe them out :-)

However they have pointed out Winston’s hypocrisy so well, I can’t resist a link. Winston is trying to scare-monger that by 2022 there will be more Asians than Maori (which is not what the stats say anyway), and the Greens point out that this is not consistent with his calls in the past for Maori to see themselves as New Zealanders first, Maori second.

In another blog item, the Greens claim credit for getting Civil Unions passed. Certainly their support was needed, but so was the support of those liberal National and ACT MPs who voted for it. No one party can claim credit for getting the law passed.

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Cows moving up

April 29th, 2005 at 6:59 am by David Farrar

David Young and Ben Thomas, of Dog Biting Men (in)fame are becoming media super-stars.

As well as their fortnightly NBR column, David is also starting work for TVNZ as a business reporter.

I’m fairly amused that we have someone who now writes for both NBR and the Listener. I am sure there are some dead people turning over in graves. To be fair the Listener has opened up to a more diverse line-up of voices under editor Pamela Stirling.

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Drink Driving Penalties

April 29th, 2005 at 6:41 am by David Farrar

A Judge tells a Nelson driver that his alcohol level of 1551 is the highest he has ever seen.

The driver is obviously lying when he says he had just drunk two handles of beer. Maybe two handles of chartreuse!

But then he only gets sentenced to 120 hours community service, and disqualified for a measly eight months. I would have thought someone showing the highest level the Judge has ever seen, should have the book thrown at them? I mean he was doing u-turns in front of traffic and passing trucks on bends. Suicidal.

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Labour Minister urinates in hotel corridor

April 29th, 2005 at 6:37 am by David Farrar

I’m sorry but this is just disgusting behaviour. Urinating in a hotel corridor is unacceptable from anyone, let alone an MP and Minister of the Crown.

Samuels is quoted as saying “he does not know what all the fuss is about”. In another story he denied the incident all together.

It would have taken only a minute to get from the corridor to the lobby toilets. Even if you are bursting, you wet your pants rather than risk other hotel patrons seeing a Minister of the Crown (and No 10 on Labour’s List) with his trousers down, urinating in the corridor. No-one sober could have possibly decided this was an appropriate course of action.

I’m not a huge believer in the idea that MPs are role models in terms of their private life, and must be saints. But urinating in a hotel corridor is not a private act. It staggers me that Labour thinks there is no issue about this, and in fact whip Darren Hughes is more concerned that it was made public, than it happened.

This is not the first incident of this type for Dover Samuels. I recall that some time ago he was not allowed to board a domestic flight due to his behaviour, which media suggested was alcohol affected. This suggests a recurring problem, not a one-off lapse.

UPDATE: The other incident was Joe Hawke, not Dover Samuels. I retract the last paragraph. They are both Labour Maori List MPs from Northland, hence my confusion (Hawke retired last election). Apologies for the error, but this does show the nice thing abotu blogs that people will pull you up if you make a mistake, and the errors can be corrected quickly.

UPDATE2: I understand the allegation from the hotel staff member is quite explicit and it is not simply a case of could not hold on, but some very specific undesirable behaviour. Hopefully the staff member concerned will not be gagged and can clear the issue up.

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Weary of Tamihere

April 28th, 2005 at 8:20 am by David Farrar

No doubt inspired by the Tamihere McLeary audio file, some clever person has created another little ditty called “Weary of Tamihere” which got emailed to me last night.

The voice likeness is amazingly well done. Listen and enjoy – only 800KB.

Download file

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“Are you with the Labour Party?”

April 28th, 2005 at 8:08 am by David Farrar

I had to laugh at this article in the Timaru Herald where a teeanger thought Don Brash was with the Labour Party, but then when she realised he was National’s Leader wanted to shake his hand.

From the sound of the article, education is going to be a huge issue which is good as the two main parties are poles apart on this.

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More on Clark knifing Doone

April 28th, 2005 at 7:20 am by David Farrar

All the newspapers have the story of how Helen Clark knifed the former Police Commissioner as their lead story.

It really is incredibly bad judgement to talk off the record to a newspaper, about your own Commissioner of Police, when he is the subject of a formal investigation. If the PM had evidence of wrong doing, then she should have been quoted on the record or released the official report, but to confirm off the record a rumour or allegation is just incredibly unprofessional and disloyal.

Clark would have known that the newspaper wanted confirmation so they could publish the allegation. And this was an untested alleagtion that had not been verified by either of the two parties involved. So by confirming the information, she knew it would undermine the Commissioner of Police, regardless of its truth.

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Another defamation suit for the PM?

April 27th, 2005 at 2:24 pm by David Farrar

Helen Clark has already lost, or had to pay out, on two defamation cases and may be facing a third. The Sunday Star-Times has confirmed Helen Clark as “the apparent source of alleged defamatory statements run by the newspaper” about former Police Commissioner Peter Doone.

It would seem incredible that a Prime Minister would backstab their Commissioner of Police in such a way. Regardless of what Doone did, he should not be tried by way of leaks to the media.

Rodney is already asking questions. Will be fun once the House resumes, and Helen is back in NZ.

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I knew it!

April 27th, 2005 at 2:17 pm by David Farrar

A reader sent me this blog item on how speed cameras in the UK have actually led to worse driving behaviour and higher average speeds.

Worth reading the comments also.

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St Molesworth: Top 10 reasons Nandor Tanczos got demoted

April 27th, 2005 at 2:14 pm by David Farrar

St Molesworth is back with Top 10 reasons Nandor Tanczos got demoted.

My favourites:

3. The party realised he is an embarassingly crap hacky sacker.

7. Businesses he was involved with were uncovered making a profit.

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Well done Chris Liddell

April 27th, 2005 at 1:16 pm by David Farrar

As many will have read, a New Zealander – Chris Liddell, has been appointed Chief Financial Officer of Microsoft.

This is the most senior role in Microsoft after that of the Chairman and Chief Executive. The turnover last year was a bit above NZ$50 billion. Microsoft is the third largest company in the world.

Incidentially Mr Liddell is also a supporter of the NZFlag campaign.

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Porn spam at Parliament

April 27th, 2005 at 12:36 pm by David Farrar

Ruth Berry in the NZ Herald reports on the case of the poor ACT receptionist who was getting around 1,000 pornographic spam e-mails a week.

I have considerable sympathy for her. My old parliament e-mail address would get deluged in spam. It didn’t help that back in 1996 I actually posted from it to some Internet newsgroups including news.admin.network.abuse.email which is where people used to co-ordinate against spammers, and as a result you get added to every spam list for sale, for all time.

And that preview function of Outlook is very embarrasing, especially when a female MP is in your office, and a spam comes in, with a very explicit close-up photo of body parts which only one gender has. A very quick explanation of what spam is, followed.

Parliament has been slow to put spam filters in. The issue has been that one can not block legitimate mail to MPs, so even a 0.1% false positive rate is too high. But most solutions will allow the receipient to decide whether they want e-mails marked as spam deleted without viewing, or diverted to a spam folder that they can check through every so often. This then allows individual MPs and staff to decide if they want to risk false positives.

Personally I got so sick of the spam, that I iinstalled my own anti-spam filters and programs. However very few users can install software on their PCs, as they normally even block access to the C Drive. Luckily there are ways around that :-)

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Happy 30th Megan

April 27th, 2005 at 12:10 pm by David Farrar

And a big happy 30th birthday to Megan. Trust me Megs, the 30s are damn fun. Not so sure about this 40th creeping up on me though – would rather that was a few more years away.

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“The Hobbit” Stage Show

April 27th, 2005 at 12:07 pm by David Farrar

I see in the NZ Herald that the Auckland season of The Hobbit stage show has been ditched after low turn-outs.

I am not surprised.

I have not seen the show. I was planning to go with stats girls and other Tolkien fans, as it sounded great. But Wellington’s former Mayor went to see it on opening night and said it was awful, so I checked around and numerous people told me how bad it was, and how people walked out halfway through.

So despite having wanted to see it for some months, even I got put off going. It shows how important good reviews are. Now I’m just going to have to wait for the movie.

If anyone did see it, be keen to hear their comments on what worked and what didn’t.

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A hard choice

April 27th, 2005 at 11:57 am by David Farrar

You are Prime Minister and you like to spend most of your time overseas. Not a problem normally because your hard working and conscientious deputy Dr Cullen is rather good at filling in for you.

However the Australians, and NZ business leaders, would like Dr Cullen to attend a critically important meeting of the Australia NZ Leadership Forum. This is as high level as it gets, where bi-partisan talks about moves to a common market take place. Opposition Leaders Beazley and Brash are attending also.

The trouble is, having Dr Cullen away overseas at the same time as the PM, means leaving Jim Anderton as Acting PM. A dilemma.

So rather than have Helen miss photo opportunities in Berlin, or risk Jim Anderton nationalising supermarkets while he has the keys to the house, the Leadership Forum has no-one of significance attend from the NZ Government (foreign ministers can do foreign policy but not economic policy which this is primarily about) – a damn shame as the single market issue is one of vital importance to NZ and we need to be pro-active not reactive in this area.

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Business Confidence down down down …

April 27th, 2005 at 11:47 am by David Farrar

I’ve been tracking the National Bank business confidence survey for years, and even have the data back to 1988. The fall to -48% is the 4th lowest in history. It was at negative 67% to 69% in March and April 1988, and at -56% in June 2000. The other 190 or so months have all been higher with 68 months with net negative confidence and 120 months with a net positive outlook.

The NZ Herald quotes the National Bank Chief Economist as predicting economic growth may drop to around 1% only. He says “Costs are rising for many firms, with higher oil prices and rising wage demands, which makes them more nervous”.

However the most disturbing element is that firms are expecting prices to go up, yet profits fall, “increasing the risk of a worst-of-both-worlds outcome of weak growth but high inflation”.

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