Archive for May, 2005

Watch TV3 tonight

May 31st, 2005 at 5:03 pm by David Farrar

I missed some of question time, but according to Rodney Michael Cullen has had to do a retraction to TV3 about one of his accusations, so TV3 should be fun tonight.

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Miss Universe

May 31st, 2005 at 4:23 pm by David Farrar

Something wrong when it is a gay friend who msns you to tell you that Miss Canada has been crowned Miss Universe! At least Canada has some defence to all the Southpark jokes.

She is 23, born in Russia, and is a classical pianist and composer.

Now people would be disappointed if I blog about Miss Universe with no photos, so one below and a couple more after the break!

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Tze Ming Mok on NZ First

May 31st, 2005 at 3:41 pm by David Farrar

I don’t read all the bloggers on Public Address, but will be subscribing to Tze Ming Mok from now on, who has written a very readable piece on NZ First, immigration and the National Front.

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Letting down students

May 31st, 2005 at 3:18 pm by David Farrar

The unholy alliance that exists between the leadership of many student associations and staff unions has always baffled me.

We saw this recently in Wellington where they marched to demand lower fees AND higher wages for staff. Hello – have we all failed standard four mathemathics!!!

Now it has got even worse. Staff unions are threatening to withhold students’ first semester marks, unless they get their 10% pay rise.

Any students’ association worth its salt should be out there defending the interest of its (generally compulsory) members and saying that such an action is totally unacceptable, and that such a move would destroy the goodwill to the staff. If the students’ association will not stand up for the interests of students, then who will?

But instead we have the WSU President (2% turnout in their last election) saying they supported the staff doing this!!!!

Let me say that I will be very disappointed if we do not have voluntary membership of students’ associations within 90 days of a National-led Government sworn in. With voluntary membership you would not be able to have the association leadership ignore the interests of their members, as they would lose all their income if they did.

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Colin James on the Greens

May 31st, 2005 at 3:03 pm by David Farrar

Colin James has a thoughtful column on the Greens and environmentalists.

I quote the last three paragraphs, which I think are pertinent:

The GM food stance sounded extreme in 2002. It was a hardline regulatory approach. Much of the rest of the Greens’ approach is similarly regulatory. They suspect the market and its instruments. Though most Greens are splendid people, you can get the impression from being around them that they also suspect humans.

But if sceptical humans are to be taken along a more environmentally sustainable route, regulation is hardly likely to get them to go willingly. The market and its instruments are proving more effective in other fields because they coax more than goad. Logically the same will increasingly apply in environmental issues.

Labour is slowly learning that lesson, against the grain of its own instinctively regulatory tradition. Maybe it is time for the Greens to do some of the same sort of learning. For all our sakes.

Personally I’m a big fan of using the market rather than regulations. They are at their best (in my view) on animal welfare issues but at their worst when (for example) having a go at the Warehouse for stocking big easter eggs. I mean who really wants MPs telling companies that their easter eggs can only go up to a certain size etc.

The Greens’ Frog has his/her comments blogged.

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Business confidence at 17 year low

May 31st, 2005 at 2:31 pm by David Farrar

The National Ban’s monthly business outlook survey for May 2005 is out, and it is not pretty.

Economic growth is now projected to crash to 1%.

A net 57% of companies are expecting business conditions to decline and this is spread over all agencies ranging from -46% in retail to -70% in agriculture.

I’ve graphed the series below. It is not just a 17 year low, but almost an all time low. The post 87 crash period is the only lower time.

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Tax under Labour

May 31st, 2005 at 1:57 pm by David Farrar

Bernard Wooley has a nice graph showing actual tax receipts by Treasury/IRD and how it has skyrocketed under Labour.

And as the polls show, most NZers don’t think the servies have improved despite all the extra tax.

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May blog stats

May 31st, 2005 at 1:25 pm by David Farrar

End of month time again. They come around very quickly – only another 600 or so before I am due to die :-)

As always, grateful if any NZ political bloggers can count up their number of posts and comments and e-mail them to me (firstname@lastname.com), or stick them on their own blog. I’ll cover those who don’t, but it does help reduce a job which takes a few hours.

I’ve been slow with updating my links also, so anyone not yet linked is welcome to send me a reminder.

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The Press on National’s List

May 31st, 2005 at 1:19 pm by David Farrar

The Christchurch Press editorial is very positive about National’s list saying “National will have the largest, strongest and best balanced caucus line-up that the party has mustered for many years”

Reaction universally seems to be very positive. The challenge is to get a high enough party vote to get Caucus up to hopefully 50 members or so, so one can form a stable Government rather than a four-way coalition of Labour/Maori/Green/Progressive!

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Billboard No 2

May 30th, 2005 at 3:43 pm by David Farrar

The next in the series of National’s billboards appears to be up. I recall when we had the 100,000 strong online beaches for all petition someone made the comment “Beaches are for Kiwi, not just for Iwi” and that theme is reflected here.

iwi-kiwi.jpg

And yes I know in theory the beaches are still in public ownership, but the Government’s legislation has granted many of the rights of ownership to Iwi, and substance over form tends to be more important.

Hat Tip: Aaron Bhatnagar

UPDATE: I am informed the billboard design Aaron has, and which is copied here, is not identical to the one actually being used by National. Will clarify once details are known, but I understand there is no “Iwis”

UPDATE2: I have now checked things out and can confirm that the billboard shown is not authorised by the National Party, and in fact no billboard is up yet. There are significant differences between the one above, and what will go up. Not my role to reveal details, so suggest people wait until they do go up.

A good lesson for all of us here (including me) that just because you see it on a blog, doesn’t mean it is correct. I saw it on another blog and assumed it was correct, but this was a wrong assumption. Apologies to those involved with the advertising material for the campaign, for any confusion caused.

And for those who think that this was not just a foul-up but a deliberate plan to leak a design, test reaction, and then change it based on the reaction – I can assure you that is not the case. We’re not that clever :-)

I will put up the actual billboard once it is published, and you can then all comment on that, rather than what turned out to be a red herring!

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Tradesports

May 30th, 2005 at 6:09 am by David Farrar

I’m pretty convinced that it will be very hard for the jury to find Michael Jackson guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. There seems to be considerable doubt over the accuser and his family especially.

It seems I am not alone. This CNN article on Tradesports says that the odds are in favour of an acquittal.

Local Blog commentor Berend de Boer is quoted as having bet $1,600 on Jackson being acquitted, so he’ll be following the verdict more closely than most!

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The media perspective

May 30th, 2005 at 5:41 am by David Farrar

It is with a degree of amusement that I read in today’s Dom Post that “an unexpected high-flier was Wellington barrister Chris Finlayson” and also “A surprise omission was former National Party president and 2002 candidate Sue Wood”.

What this means is that the media had not actually checked around to see what was likely, and hence “unexpected” means they had not predicted it. I doubt a single candidate or local activist was surprised by Chris Finlayson’s list ranking.

Likewise the only surprise with Sue Wood would have been if she was standing. Again I don’t think there had been any suggestion from anyone (including Sue) that she was seeking to stand again. And even if she was, her nomination would have been made public before the list ranking so in fact it is even less of a surprise.

The article overall is actually a good one, but I found those two comments rather silly because quite simply neither of them were unexpected or a surprise.

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Just throwing money at the problem

May 30th, 2005 at 5:26 am by David Farrar

Labour has never met a problem that it doesn’t think it can solve by just throwing lots of money at it. Hence the massive increase in expenditure and taxation in the last six years.

They have thrown $3 billion more at health and $3.3 billion more into education (the wananga thanks you for your generosity). So what do the public think of these portfolios under Labour?

Well only 16% of NZers think education has improved under Labour and 44% say it has got worse. And for health 18% say better and 38% worse. A dismal failure in both areas.

The best spin Mallard can come up with is that the survey is of all NZers, not just of parents with school children. I’d bet a lot of money that it would be even worse amongst those parents.

The poll shows that tax has rocketed to the the second highest issue of concern. The 2005 budget is going to soon get its own dictionary definition under own goal.

UPDATE: I win the bet. A Colmar Brunton poll shows only 27% of parents have confidence in the value of NCEA.

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National’s List

May 29th, 2005 at 2:32 pm by David Farrar

National has released its party list. Congratulations to those candidates who have got winnable places, and commiserations to those lower down. Never a nice process to go through. Also well done to the List Ranking Committee who have the difficult and often unpopular job of having to produce the list which inevitably pleases some and disappoints others.

What is important is not just the list, but what we call the effective list. This takes into account the seats a party will win.

On today’s SST poll National would get 45 seats. Now National currently holds 21 seats so if National does not win or lose any seats (in reality I expect National to win a few) then there would be 24 List MPs. Those MPs would be:

1 Don Brash
2 David Carter
3 Katherine Rich
4 Tim Grosser
5 Clem Simich
6 Georgine te Heuheu
7 Pansy Wong
8 Chris Finlayson
9 Nicky Wagner
10 Tau Henare
11 Jo Goodhew
12 David Bennett
13 Chester Borrows
14 Chris Auchinvole
15 Jonathan Coleman
16 Mark Blumsky
17 Eric Roy
18 Kate Wilkinson
19 Nathan Guy
20 Jacqui Dean
21 Jackie Blue
22 Anne Tolley
23 Craig Foss
24 Paula Bennett

And one would also have Allan Peachy in Tamaki and Colin King in Kaikoura. Again I stress this is based on no change in electorate seats and while I am not going to start naming seats I think National will or can win, I do think a few will be picked up. However most of these are contested by candidates in the top 45 on the list, so it may not change things greatly.

People (including the candidates who read this blog) may be interested at who would get in at what level of party vote. Well based on a 5% wasted vote (votes for parties that do not make it into Parliament) the Party Vote table would be:

PV20% – 25 MPs – 4 List MPs – Tim Grosser (No 13) last list MP in
PV25% – 32 MPs – 11 List MPs – Jo Goodhew (No 31)
PV 30% – 38 MPs – 17 List MPs – Eric Roy (No 37)
PV 33% – 42 MPs – 21 List MPs – Jackie Blue (No 41)
PV 35% – 44 MPs – 23 List MPs – Craig Foss (No 44)
PV 37% – 47 MPs – 26 List MPs – Fepulea’i Ulua’ipou-O-Malo Aiono (No 47)
PV 40% – 51 MPs – 30 List MPs – Moira Irving (No 51)
PV 43% – 54 MPs – 33 List MPs – Mike Leddy (No 54)
PV 45% – 57 MPs – 36 List MPs – Gilbert Stehbens (No 57)
PV 50% – 63 MPs – 42 List MPs – Allison Lomax (No 63)

Please note that none of these projections are based on any *inside* knowledge. It is simply a mathematical projection based on public information. And again at the 20% to 35% scenarios the outcomes will be affected more by what seats National picks ups.

For those who like to focus on diversity I note that the top 10 likely List MPs include four women, two Maori New Zealanders and an Asian New Zealander.

Based on today’s SST poll, and assuming no electorate seats change hands, the stats for the National Caucus would be:

45 MPs
12 women (27% of Caucus, and women make up 28% of candidates)
3 Maori (te Heuheu, Henare and Paula Bennett)

Nthn Region 18 MPs (currently 13)
CNI 7 MPs (5)
LNI 7 MPs (2)
CW 8 MPs (5)
Sthn 5 MPs (2)

Auckland 15 MPs (10)
Wellington 3 MPs (0)
Christchurch 4 MPs (2)
Provincial 10 MPs (4)
Rural 13 MPs (11)

Based on the current poll result, looks to be pretty well balanced regionally and geographically.

As a long-term LNI and Wellington party worker I am looking forward to having some more MPs. Of course it all depends on the Party Vote, and Mark is not certain to get in if we had a bad party vote nationwide, so I know he is still set 100% on winning Wellington Central as he does have the luxury of a top ten place like the incumbent MP.

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NZ Nazis

May 29th, 2005 at 11:17 am by David Farrar

Normally I get really annoyed with anyone being labelled a Nazi, because it diminishes the horror of the actual Nazis.

But I think everyone can agree that the New Zealand National Socialist Party are Nazis as they use the swastika, want NZ citizenship to be reserved for those with European parents, all journalists must be Europeans and “opposes the continuation of the Jewish religion within our borders”.

They also want the Government to authorise any non-NZ newspapers. I guess they have not heard of the Internet!

Don’t over-react to this. This is literally a couple of guys, with really really small penises, in a basement somewhere.

Hat Tip: Asher

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Deleted Article

May 29th, 2005 at 10:59 am by David Farrar

I’ve deleted my post commenting on this tax cuts article as I thought it was in today’s SST, but was an article from last week.

Stuff are showing it as a front page link for today, which is highly misleading.

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Maori Party Membership

May 29th, 2005 at 10:51 am by David Farrar

The Maori Party is claiming to have the largest membership of any party with 17,000 members.

Baloney would be my response :-)

I would be interested in how much, if anything, is the minimum membership fee for the Maori Party. Or can people join for free as a show of support?

As the article says, National has had a surge in membership in the last 18 months. The interesting thing is that this has happened, despite increasing the minimum fee from $1/family to $5/person.

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PC on RMA

May 29th, 2005 at 10:42 am by David Farrar

Peter Cresswell has a column in the NZ Herald on why the RMA should be abolished (or destroyed as he calls it).

I’m certainly a fan of changing the RMA. We are the only country in the world where it takes longer to get resource consents for new roads, then it does to build them.

However if it was simply abolished, I do wonder what Peter sees as the mechanism for dealing with land use issues. Is he saying that one should be able to build a 20 story tower block next to someone’s farm house, even if it blocks all the sun from their house?

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SST Poll

May 29th, 2005 at 10:21 am by David Farrar

The SST has a poll out today, and like the NZ Herald it shows a narrowing of the gap – to only 4%. Individual poll results do not always mean a lot, but trends are all important and this confirms a helpful trend.

The results are:

Labour 40% (-3)
National 36% (+1)
NZ First 10% (+3)
ACT 3% (-1)
Green 6% (+0)
United 2% (+0)
Maori 1% (-1)
Progressive 1% (+1)

If one assumes Maori Party win five seats, and Dunne, Anderton and Peters hold their seats then seat allocation would be:

Labour 50 (+0)
National 45 (+18)
NZ First 13 (+0)
Green 7 (-2)
Maori 5 (+4)
United 3 (-5)
Progressive 1 (-1)
ACT 0 (-9)

Total 124 (+4)

A Labour/Green/Maori/Progressive Government (the horror the horror) would have 63/124 seats – the smallest possible majority.

More likely would be a straight Labour/NZF Government on 63 seats.

A National/United/NZF combination would have 61 seats – just short.

It’s looking to get interesting!

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Helen in fatigues

May 28th, 2005 at 10:51 pm by David Farrar

No, not that Helen! A much nicer one – my friend Helen from Estonia has been doing her military training.

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I don’t know how she can still look so attractive despite being covered in green paint, but she does.

helen2.JPG

And here she is trying out a weapon for size.

Girls in uniform – I’m a sucker for it everytime!

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Schapelle Corby

May 28th, 2005 at 10:39 am by David Farrar

Cathy thinks the Schapelle Corby verdict is an outrage. She also has some excellent travel advice for travelling to “bongo bongo” countries.

Cathy also recounts the time she had some difficulties in a foreign country (and I can verify it was true, as I was doing my small part to help through the UK High Commission). The advice from NZ Govt was “Cathy, do you still have your passport”, “yes”, “oh good – then just get the fuck out of there”.

Her conclusion based on market economics is that “not even an Australian is stupid enough to risk their life to smuggle something as worthless as marijuana INTO Indonesia. It’s akin to importing Coconuts into the Pacific Islands, ice to Antarctica or alligators to New Orleans!

I’m not quite so convinced. From what I have heard Australian marijuana is much more valuable than the local variety and the 4 kgs had a street value of $80,000.

I certainly think the Indonesian legal system has not given her a fair trial. I am less convinced she is necessairly innocent. According to Wikipedia, the customs officer at the airport “he asked Corby to open her bag and she opened up an empty compartment of the bag. When he demanded a different compartment of the bag to be opened, she tried to prevent him from performing his duty”

Almost everyone found smuggling drugs claims “Oh someone else put them there”. Now soemtimes this may be true, but no-one would ever be convicted of drug smuggling if it was accepted at face value. Where the Indonesian justice system has failed though is not finger-printing the bag etc.

It is also unfortunate her father has a (minor) drugs conviction. It shouldn’t be a factor but when trying to convince a court that you would never be involved in this sort of thing, I suspect stuff like that does count.

Now don’t get me wrong. The Indonesian justice system has not been fair, and a 20 years sentence is absolutely way over the top. However one can not rule out the possibility that Corby , despite knowing the penalties, did decide to risk it and make some “easy” money.

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NRT on jury service

May 28th, 2005 at 10:09 am by David Farrar

Idiot at NRT gives a bit of insight into the jury process.

Never done jury service myself. The last comment about “Finding someone guilty has a moral cost, no matter how clear the facts are” is an interesting one. I’m not sure I would find it so, but until I have done it, I don’t know how I would feel.

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Highly Offensive

May 28th, 2005 at 8:35 am by David Farrar

The latest immigration rant from NZ First is highly offensive and bordering on paranoid. Peters proposes an immigration “flying squad” staffed by patriotic New Zealanders. Sounds like vigilantes to me.

Peters plays to xenophobia as he doesn’t oppose immigrants per se, just some immigrants such as Asians. I’ve yet to hear him rail against British immigrants, such as his Deputy Leader.

This sort of xenophobic scare-mongering does have real effects. We just have to look at Antonie Dixon who has just got sentenced to no parole for 20 years for a brutal murder. What did Dixon tell the Police – “he had shot a black bastard who deserved to die, criticised Mr Te Aute for being in a “white area” and complained that the country was overrun by blacks and Asians”

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Polls close

May 28th, 2005 at 8:05 am by David Farrar

The NZ Herald has a poll out today which shows a 5% movement in the gap between National and Labour – going from 12% to 5%.

Rather annoyingly the online edition doesn’t have the full poll details, so can’t predict seats but looks like both ACT and Green under 5%.

Also the NZ Herald seems determined to promote nonsense by asking people if they would like Peters to lead a coalition with National. This is a blatant case of trying to create rather than report news, as it is obvious such a scenario will never happen.

Another poll out tomorrow in the SST.

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My Personality Defect

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

I always wondered what is my main personality defect. Those who know me would not tend to disagree with the finding – a smart ass!
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