Archive for June, 2005

Debate Preparation

June 30th, 2005 at 6:45 pm by David Farrar

Arrived in Auckland at 5 pm and got to hotel (Heritage – very nice) at 6.15 pm so have an hour before I have to head over to TVNZ.

Reasonably nervous, which is unusual for me. I’ve done TV dozens of times before, but as far as I can recall this will be the first live programme I have been part of. I have been part of the studio audience for the last three election debates at Avalon but in theory you are not part of the programme (in reality my heckling of the PM almost got me evicted by Paul Holmes :-)

The more I think about Dr Cullen being a no-show the more amazed I am. All the polls say that this is shaping up to be “the issue” of the campaign. There’s a one hour programme on tax with every other party participating, and the Finance Minister refuses to attend. This is quite extraordinary. I spent enough time in the Beehive to know that normally one would move heaven and earth to change one’s schedule to take part in a debate like this.

Anyway better get ready. Hopefully I will update live from the studio (starts at 8.30 pm on TV One) but they were not 100% sure this would be possible. Will be interesting to see how the format goes – with 30 people and 44 minutes of screen time, I expect most people will only get to speak once or twice, and hence one won’t get much actual debating.

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Maori TV has 0.3% viewing

June 30th, 2005 at 7:24 am by David Farrar

Maori TV has gone out of its way not to release ratings in a comparable way to other studios (actual number of people watching particular programmes) but even their best case figures of 14,200 viewers a day is 0.3% of New Zealanders only 2.5% of Maori.

Now I actually believe that Maori language is one area where it is appropriate the Government provide some funding. But the question is whether Maori TV is the best way to do it. $25 million a year is a lot of money, for what appears to be very few viewers.

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The SuperBlues

June 30th, 2005 at 7:13 am by David Farrar

No they are not an Auckland rugby supporters club, nor are they a group of people who dress up in tights and capes to fight socialism, they are what could be seen as the flipside of the Young Nationals.

To quote their own website, “The SuperBlues are 60+ voters around the country who are working to ensure a National victory in the upcoming election, and to ensure a strong voice in the National Party for those aged 60 plus.”

I get to qualify for membership in 23 years times. Of course I will also still be a Young National then :-)

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How to get around election restrictions

June 30th, 2005 at 7:04 am by David Farrar

1) Amend the law so it is illegal for any employees to be part of a collective contract unless they join a union

2) As Ministers, approve public service pay settlements which pay staff more if they join the union (one of my friends has said she would gain $1500 if she joined the PSA)

3) Unions gain hundreds of thousands of dolars of extra funding indirectly from the taxpayer

4) Unions spend this taxpayer money on an advertising campaign to get Labour re-elected

It is so obvious and blatant, that even the NZ Herald Editorial registers its unease at it.

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Cullen refuses to debate tax

June 30th, 2005 at 6:46 am by David Farrar

Once upon a time nothing would have kept Dr Cullen away from a good debate, but alas he is too busy to take part in tonight’s one hour tax debate.

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Body Snatcher?

June 30th, 2005 at 6:39 am by David Farrar

A column has appeared in the NZ Herald labelling Hubbard and Hucker as “The lame duck and the megalomaniac“.

It is obviously written by Aaron Bhatnagar,yet somehow he has managed to take over the body of Bernard Orsman whose name it appears under.

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Garth George compares Peters to Holyoake

June 30th, 2005 at 6:33 am by David Farrar

It is almost funny – Garth George has labelled Winston Peters “the most astute and intuitive politician we have seen since Keith Holyoake”.

Is that the sound of someone turning in his grave, I hear?

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Whoops!

June 29th, 2005 at 5:50 pm by David Farrar

Aaron B just IM’d me to suggest I look at the Xtra homepage at www.xtramsn.com.

Looks like someone forgot to pay the US$35 :-)

xtramsn.JPG

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The Great New Zealand Argument

June 29th, 2005 at 12:57 pm by David Farrar

Russell has been in the news this week for the release of his book “Great New Zealand Argument: Ideas about ourselves”.

I’ll be picking up a copy at the weekend, as part of my normal shopping spree for books. Expats can order a copy from this site.

I am intrigued at what Margaret Pope says on the Oxford University speech which she authored.

One day I must get around to finishing my own book about life in Parliament for National. Playing with the title “Four Coups and a Wedding” :-)

Trouble is too many people still alive for it to be safe to publish!

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Poll Demographics

June 29th, 2005 at 9:29 am by David Farrar

The NZ Herald has reported some demographic breakdowns in its latest poll.

Now the first think to remember is that the sample size for a demographic group is quite small – sometimes only 200 or so, and hence the margin of error can be as high as 8% or so.

But bearing that in mind, it is interesting that National leads by 13% amongst men, and trails by only 6% amongst women. Traditionally world-wide CR parties have a 10%+ gap with women voters.

On the age breakdown, it is superb to see young people voting for their future. with National having its strongest support from 18 to 24 year olds.

What is also fascinating is that for the first time in 15 years probably, National has more support than Labour amongst over 65 year olds. This is ironically due to the resurgence of NZ First.

Once again no-one should take the numbers above as gospel, but they do point to some interesting trends.

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Yee haa, another one bites the dust!

June 29th, 2005 at 9:20 am by David Farrar

Another Government plan has bitten the dust, thanks to Opposition parties and sector groups.

Labour are backing down on forcing farmers to provide public access near waterways.

Amazing what an election will do.

How many days will it be until Labour do their next backtrack? Will they have any policy left by the time of the election?

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Time for Christian Heritage to wind itself up

June 29th, 2005 at 8:59 am by David Farrar

I think it is time the Christian Heritage Party winds itself up. Some may think this is a bit harsh, as after all every party has a share of ratbags. Yes, this is true, but in the case of Graham Capill, it is different. Why?

Firstly Graham Capill was not just a member, or even just a leader. He was Christian Heritage. I am not sure if he literally founded the party, but he was Leader for over ten years, and the party even had his name as part of its official name. Capill was to Christian Heritage what Anderton is to the Progressive Party.

Secondly the CHP was basically a single-issue party. It was all about moral values. They will never ever have credibility on moral issues again. You can not be led by a child rapist for ten years, and ever be taken seriously on moral issues. And his offending began *prior* to him becoming Leader of the CHP. He was raping and abusing little girls throughout his entire time as CHP Leader. I’m sorry but a few Hail Marys is not going to have that sin forgiven, or at least forgotten.

The combination of being leader and public voice, and being found guilty on the one issue they are most associated with is not something you can just shrug off, and say “We were not to know”.

The analogy is if, for example, NZ First Leader Winston Peters was found to be have Saddam Hussein living in his house as an illegal immigrant, and speech writer.

Or if Helen Clark was found to be the owner and manager of a sweat-shop (No I don’t mean the Burns Unit) forcing children to work 16 hours a day for 20 cents an hour.

These are blows from which there is no return, despite what Ewen McQueen thinks.

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Quote of the Day 28 June 2005

June 28th, 2005 at 3:17 pm by David Farrar

“Am looking forward to the (Political) Apprentice. Instead of ‘You’re fired’, the NZ version would have ‘You’ve been promoted to ambassador’.”

– Zippy Gonzales (Will) in the tax debate thread.

So true!

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Now you can call him a child rapist!

June 28th, 2005 at 3:01 pm by David Farrar

Graham Capill, former Leader of Christian Heritage, has pleaded guilty in Christchurch District Court to five more sex offences against young girls, including one of rape.

I repeat the comments I made when he was charged (and which were possibly premature, though not inaccurate):

“Frankly the thought of anyone at all raping a young girl is sickening. But the thought that over the entire last decade while Capill was preaching how gays are sinners, and self-appointed himself our moral guardian, he was raping and abusing little girls makes me want to sign up to vigilante justice.”

In amongst the anger at Capill, is a great sadness at the impact this had had on his own family, and on the families of the victims.

Grant doesn’t like me predicting sentences (and I got the threat to kill the PM one totally wrong) but surely he is now looking at a sentence of at least ten years?

Thank God he never made it into Parliament. I’m proud to have done my part in 1996 to have kept the Christian Coalition from making 5%. There were many of us in National, who viewed the thought of being dependent on Capill to form a Government as abhorrent, and were active in the campaign to stop them. In hindsight, we have no idea how lucky were were that we avoided such a nightmare.

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Tax Debate TV One Thursday

June 28th, 2005 at 12:44 pm by David Farrar

Just had a call from TVNZ inviting me to take part in The Tax Debate on Thursday at 8.30 p.m.

It’s going to involve the Finance Spokespersons (or subs) from the parties, and a couple of dozen other people.

And best of all, they are going to arrange it so I can live-blog the debate, as well as take part in it. David Slack will also be there (a good excuse to meet up).

I better start thinking about what to say!

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There is a solution for Zimbabwe

June 28th, 2005 at 8:16 am by David Farrar

If I was even more cynical than I am, I would suspect the Government doesn’t actually want to stop the cricket tour to Zimbabwe, it just wants to be able to keep banging on in public about how it is going to try and do something.

Now I am very much against the Government forbidding any private organisation from travelling overseas and playing sport.

However if it is the case they NZ Cricket really do not want to go, and the only reason they won’t cancel is the $2.8 million fine, then the Government could of course simply agree to pay the fine. I mean they managed to find $500 million out of the blue just last week.

The solution is in Clark’s hands. But then, that would remove the ability to keep talking about the issue for weeks on end.

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Broadband Targets Will Not Be Met

June 28th, 2005 at 8:09 am by David Farrar

The Telco Commissioner has delivered a blunt warning to Telecom that if it does not change its attitude to wholesaling, then the issue of local loop unbundling will come back on the table.

This makes me somewhat more optimistic that we will get a good decision out of the Commerce Commission with regards to the UBS determination, which may lead to faster and cheaper broadband offerings. Hearings on the draft determination will be held next week.

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Labour continues to fall

June 28th, 2005 at 6:36 am by David Farrar

This morning’s Herald Digi-Poll continues a remarkable trend where in two months the National-Labour gap has shifted 17% in just two months.

The party vote results are:

National 40.1% (+4%)
Labour 36.2% (-7%)
Maori 3.1% (+0.4%)
ACT 1.9% (-0.6%)
NZ First 11.8% (+4%)
United Future 1.3% (-0.5%)
Greens 4.0% (+0.7%)

If minor party leaders hold their seats, Parliament would be:

National 52
Labour 47
Maori 4
NZ First 15
United Future 2
Progressive 1

Total 121

You need 61 votes for a Government so NZ First is the only party which will count.

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SinkF69

June 27th, 2005 at 9:56 am by David Farrar

I found out on Sunday that there is in fact a bar on board the former HMNZS Wellington, moored behind Te Papa.

In the helicopter bay, a lovely bar has been set up to help raise funds for SinkF69, the project to sink the frigate near Island Bay – which will make a good diving attraction.

Beer Man, Tory Girl, Angry Man and myself had a very pleasant time on the couches in the helicopter bay drinking Bennett’s Beer and staying warm in front of the heater. Not quite as warm as a toaster, but still very good.

It gets sunk in 104 days, so if you want to have a nice beer on board a frigate, get a move on!

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Oh I just can not resist

June 27th, 2005 at 9:08 am by David Farrar

Someone sent me this one, and I just can not resist blogging it. Rodney has a great sense of humour, so I know will have a good laugh himself at it.

act4.jpg

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Let’s not get too precious

June 27th, 2005 at 8:57 am by David Farrar

I certainly think the personal abuse we saw last week in Parliament was bad, and indeed all sides have taken steps to prevent a repeat.

But now I think one is getting too precious if, like the Dom Post, you put in the same category nicknames such as “”Prime Moneywaster”and “Waste-Master General” as examples of “derogatory terms … providing further proof that this year’s election will be a nasty fight.”

I’m sorry but there is a world of difference between suggesting someone is bonkers, or has been an alcoholic, and labelling someone a “money waster” due to spending scandals. The former are personal comments, the latter comments on performance.

And the obvious humour in referring to Maharey’s team as the “Smarmy Army” is again light years removed from being “nasty”.

If one wanted examples of “nasty” well calling Dr Brash “a cross between Mr Magoo and Dr Strangelove” would be much closer to the mark. Personally I don’t have a problem with that either, as if Don becomes PM, makes it all the more enjoyable.

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Single-Sex Schools

June 27th, 2005 at 8:30 am by David Farrar

As I mentioned on Sunday, Bill English gave a superb speech on education with solutions, not just identifying problems.

He showed graphs which illustrated how single sex schools on average achieve much higher results for both boys and girls. Yet the state has not established any new single-sex schools since 1961. So he, as Minister, is going to change that.

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Oh what a coincidence

June 27th, 2005 at 8:21 am by David Farrar

I don’t think a single journalist believes Helen Clark’s claims that the timing of the announcement on the Israeli apology was a coincidence that it was on the same day as Don Brash’s conference speech. Yes, I am sure she did not even realise the conference was on. And one always makes foreign policy announcements on a Sunday.

The Herald reports the timing as deliberate, and points out it was agreed to in principle a couple of months ago. On National Radio the PM admitted it had all been agreed 1 – 2 weeks itself ago, and the Israeli letter was in fact post-dated, so I think it’s beyond debate.

Fran O’Sullivan points out that the PM all but lied outright in claiming the timing was at the request of Israel.

In terms of the apology, it is a good thing that Israel has apologised, and the issue is resolved. They were in the wrong. However Peter Metcalfe points out the apology is at the very low end of the scale, and is almost a clayton’s apology.

It is interesting that as Labour is losing the battle on domestic issues, they are turning to foreign ones. The timed apology, the sudden enthusiasm to do something about Zimbabwe etc. I predict more foreign issues in the next four weeks.

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Quotes from Brash Speech

June 26th, 2005 at 12:02 pm by David Farrar

The entire speech is after the break, but the part which I think is most important is:

It has become clear to me that it is the ultimate in hypocrisy to claim a concern for the sick and the needy whilst slowly strangling the goose which will lay the golden eggs to pay for our hospitals, our schools, our housing and our social services.

And I say to Helen Clark and Michael Cullen today: there is no bigger threat to the quality of the healthcare which New Zealanders will enjoy in ten years

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Conversations

June 26th, 2005 at 10:26 am by David Farrar

My favourite conversation to date has been the one where someone asked a delegate who I was, and upon being told, exclaimed “Oh he’s the Joey Lucas of the National Party” :-)

Incidentally I do suffer from a form of deafness (low signal to noise ratio) like Joey. Personally Josh Lyman is the West Wing star I would most like to be, while Joey is the one I would most want to be with! Well maybe second place after Donna.

Also had a huge number of candidates comment on the blog, saying they check it more often that any other place to be kept up to date on stuff. One said that he only discovered it last week and spent two hours reading the last fortnight’s worth of posts. Another confessed that half his government agency are reading it regularly (proof there is waste in the public service :-)

Anyway the Leader’s Address is due to start soon, so better get back to the conference!

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