Archive for September, 2005

Chief Justice John Roberts

September 30th, 2005 at 11:27 pm by David Farrar

John Roberts has been confirmed by the Senate and sworn in as the 17th Chief Justice of the United States.

What I find interesting is that, according to Wikipedia, his 78-22 confirmation vote by the Senate was the highest number of votes in favour ever recorded by a Chief Justice. It really indicates that only the most partisan Senators voted against.

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SPCA needs to lighten up

September 30th, 2005 at 11:19 pm by David Farrar

Good God now the SPCA do wonderful work and I love them to pieces. But they need to lighten up rather than do silly press releases complaining that someone did a hoax auction of a dolphin on Trade me!

If anyone saw a dolphin being auctioned on trade me, and thought it was real, they need to seek medical help.

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High praise indeed

September 30th, 2005 at 11:10 pm by David Farrar

Dear Cathy on her blog praises me by saying:

“David taught me a great deal of what I know about being a smarter, devious, nastier, more ruthless individual.”

I actually thought Cathy had most of that down pat before I knew her. Happy to take some credit though Cathy :-)

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Mark Munroe hanging on

September 30th, 2005 at 10:55 pm by David Farrar

Well just when I thought the Capill saga was buried and had even praised Christian Heritage for getting Munroe to resign, it seems has has been asked to resign, but is refusing.

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The world is far too small a place

September 30th, 2005 at 10:48 pm by David Farrar

Over on a Silent Running thread, Gooner just posted:

DPF, I was listening to Deborah Coddington on ZB the other morning and she is in London too. She said the first person she practically saw when she was walking down Earl

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Field Scandal Part 27

September 30th, 2005 at 10:42 pm by David Farrar

And the latest allegations are that the hard working Labour MP was trying to get schools to enrol children of illegal overstayers.

He is the gift that keeps on giving.

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Donna goes to jail

September 30th, 2005 at 10:35 pm by David Farrar

Well thanks to UK time zones I am almost the last to blog it, but do want to record that Donna Awatere-Huata got sentenced to two years and nine months jail.

There are and were very very few MPs I genuinely detested. Donna was one of the very few, and that was before she got exposed over the stealing. I hope she and Wi learn a lesson from all this – but I suspect they won’t as seen by their appalling supporters yelling our it was “white man’s justice”.

Very sad ending to a career which did have promise.

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Labour Left supports tax cuts

September 30th, 2005 at 3:27 am by David Farrar

Australian Labor’s Julia Gillard, generally regarded as being on the left of the party, has come out and endorsed tax cuts. This leaves NZ Labour as being almost the only party in the world, left or right, which doesn’t support tax reduction.

Gillard says for “those who aspire to move beyond welfare to work, a cut in tax is not just as good a way of increasing a breadwinner’s take-home pay as a rise in wages, it is a better way.”

Hat Tip: Whale Oil

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Labour Left supports tax cuts

September 30th, 2005 at 2:46 am by David Farrar

Australian Labor’s Julia Gillard, generally regarded as being on the left of the party, has come out and endorsed tax cuts. This leaves NZ Labour as being almost the only party in the world, left or right, which doesn’t support tax reduction.

Gillard says for “those who aspire to move beyond welfare to work, a cut in tax is not just as good a way of increasing a breadwinner’s take-home pay as a rise in wages, it is a better way.”

Hat Tip: Whale Oil

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UK Politics

September 29th, 2005 at 7:27 pm by David Farrar

Okay I know I’m meant to be in the UK on holiday, but I can never resist political meetings when I get a chance to attend. For me that is relaxation :-)

Two hours after I flew in to Heathrow on Tuesday (GMT) I ended up at a meeting with some UK thinktanks and lobby groups discussing how to build up a constituency for lower taxes. The main guest was one of the top Republican pollsters, but they added me on also so we talked about taxation and polling from both the NZ and US experiences. Was a fun session, and going to meet the Washington pollsters at length next time I am over in DC.

Fell asleep at 6 pm so up nice and early on Wednesday. In the morning had a private tour around the House of Lords and House of Commons by one of the Conservative Researchers. Will post photos later. Some absolutely amazing portraits and statues. An incredible sense of history. God we are so young in NZ.

Then had lunch at the Parliamentary Restaurant which like the NZ one is heavily subsidised. God bless the taxpayer. A full meal for just over a pound :-)

After lunch went to Conserative Party Campaign Headquarters. Somewhat larger than in NZ – they have over 120 staff. But not a lot more space – battery hens have more room than many of their staff. I was there the day after the Party had voted to reject changes to how they elect their leader. The outgoing Leader Michael Howard wanted to go back to the system of the MPs electing the Leader, but it failed to get 67% support. So the MPs will short-list to two candidates and then every party member of mroe than three months standing will get to choose between the two.

This morning I am off to attend the official launch of David Davis for the leadership. He is widely regarded as the front runner and almost beyond doubt will be one of the final two. Opinion is divided as to whether the other will be Kenneth Clarke, David Cameron or Liam Fox. I met Fox in Washington in July and he is seen somewhat as a dark horse possibility to emerge as a compromise candidate. All but Clarke are euro-skeptic.

Have managed to do some shopping and sightseeing also. But much busier than I expected, so not quite as relaxing as I had hoped. Still five weeks is plenty of time to unwind.

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Finally CHP story hits the media

September 29th, 2005 at 7:03 pm by David Farrar

I see the story about a Christian Heritage official minimising what Capill did, has finally hit the media. Only six days or so after I blogged about it :-)

I love how NZPA do not use the term blog but the fuller term “weblog site”. Makes it sound far more respectable!

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The Maori Seats

September 29th, 2005 at 6:55 pm by David Farrar

Just to prove they are not all members of the borg, or vast left-wing conspiracy, two Public Address bloggers have been debating the Maori seats.

Keith Ng advocated they are a bad thing, with his main points being:

* overhang meant voters who had enough votes for four MPs ended up electing six
* Maori seats encouraged distortionary tactical voting
* Maori electorates are not really electorates, and the interests that these MPs represent are not geographical, but ethnic. They are list seats by another name, a kind of proto-proportional representation
* Maori are 15% of voters and do not need minority protection as this can be a significant voting bloc. However they do not vote as a bloc, so why have seats on the basis they do.
* Finally that the Maori seats assume that Maori have more politically in common with other Maori than with any Pakeha – that a rich, conservative, provincial Maori man has more in common with a poor, anarchist, urban Maori woman than he has with a rich, conservative, provincial Pakaha man and hence assumes that, fundamentally, our political interests stem from race.

I thought the most interesting observation from Keith is that the seats are not really geographic seats but in effect a different form of list seat.

Then Che Tibby (he’s a guy by the way!) responds to Keith. He however makes a number of mistakes in his points.

Firstly he says the South Island is an gerrymander as it always get 16 seats. This is not a gerrymander as it does not give South Islanders more MPs per capita, it merely uses the SI population as a starting point to decide the total no of MPs.

Then he says that the electoral population used to determine seat sizes is based on the number of people registered on the roll. This is incorrect. It is based on the total population, including children under 18. This is very significant.

Thirdly he says as the population of the North Island grows, the number of Electorate seats, both Māori and General, increases. Again not quite correct. It is not if the NI population grows, it is whether it grows faster than the SI population.

Che says Māori electorates have essentially the same number of voters as general seats. No they do not. Because it is based on total population, they have far far less voters, because Maori have a much higher proportion of under 18 year olds. I think it is a real issue that seats are based on the total population, not the adult population. So the fewer number of voters per Maori seat is not just based on low turnout, but on the way the electoral populations is defined.

Bizarrely Che argues the seats are not a racial gerrymander because Keith Ng could enrol in them if he wanted to. Well yes he could, and one can enrol a dog as a voter also, but that doesn’t mean that by law he is not meant to be enrolled in a Maori seats as he doesn’t have a Maori great great great grandparent. They are by law reserved to New Zealanders who have some Maori ancestry.

Keith Ng has responded. He quotes Graeme Edgeler as saying Maori are 18% not 15% of the population. Well Stats NZ estimates as at 31 December 2004 Maori population was 622,400 out of 4,062,500 which is 15.3% so not sure where 18% comes from. However amongst adults 18 and older there are only 360,300 Maori out of 2,995,640 adult NZers which is 12.0%.

So worth noting there are 21/122 MPs who are Maori, or 17.2% of Parliament, and this is off a voting base of only 12.0%. Now personally I have absolutely no issues with Maori being over-represented in Parliament, as I don’t believe in quotas. I’m far more worried about over-representation from professional unionists! But it does underscore the point that any notion of needing the Maori seats because Maori are under-represented is not borne out by the facts.

Keith responds to claims that his problem is with overhang, not with the Maori seats. He points out that having voluntary opt-in seats – such as the Maori seats – *encourages* overhangs and almost amounts to DIY-gerrymandering. Follow the links to see his reasoning, as it is too eloquent to summarise here :-)

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More on Internet Governance

September 28th, 2005 at 5:35 pm by David Farrar

I have blogged a lot about the attempt to have a UN body given governance authority over the Internet. Some have seen it as US vs UN but this is incorrect. While the US does presently have policy authority over the root name servers, it actually has never used this except in relation to .us. Everything else is delegated to ICANN which is far far far from perfect (in fact deeply flawed in many areas) but does allow the non governmental sector a significant voice in running the Internet.

Compare that to what is happening at the WSIS conference, where China, Brazil and Iran managed to force the Chair to exclude all further civil society
and private sector participation
in the drafting groups. The compromise that they could attend but not speak was not even acceptable to these countries that want to set policy for the Internet.

Luckily for InternetNZ, our Executive Director has been made a member of the official Government delegation, so he presumably has been able to stay in the room. But it speaks volumes about what role the private sector will play in the Internet policy if China, Brazil and Iran get to set the rules in future. None.

There was a period I was so disenchanted with ICANN I thought the ITU might do a better job of it. I still find ICANN hugely disappointing in many areas (yet happily for InternetNZ it is mainly the gTLD issues not the ccTLD issues they are stuffing up), but the more I observe about the motivations and actions of those pushing for ICANN’s role to be transferred or supervised by a UN body, the more I believe this would be one of the biggest setbacks for free speech worldwide.

Luckily there is nothing the Chinas and Irans of this world can do, to force a transfer of authority. However the risk is that at some stage a compromise is done which will start the process off. If the UN sets up a global Internet forum (sounds harmless eh) and it starts making recommendations on allowable content etc, ICANN could find it politically very difficult to not go along with such recommendations.

Key things to watch out for is what comes out of these meetings known as Prep Com 3, and what is recommended to go the big WSIS meeting in November where heads of governments will attend and ratify outcomes.

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What US state should I live in?

September 28th, 2005 at 4:39 pm by David Farrar

Hmmn, not too impressed with Louisiana. It must have picked that because I love clam chowder and parties!

You scored as LOUISIANA. THE BIG EASY IS FOR YOU…LOUISIANA

LOUISIANA

75%

UTAH

58%

California

50%

NEW YORK

50%

WASHINGTON

50%

FLORIDA

50%

NEVADA

33%

WYOMING

8%

What state should you live in?
created with QuizFarm.com

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NZ Herald links

September 28th, 2005 at 4:36 pm by David Farrar

As reported the NZ Herald is not blocking access to old stories (it is to new opionion articles though), it has merely made its internal search engine generate links which require paid access. One can use Google search engine to get around this.

A clever chap or chapette invented a little script which will take the NZ Herald internal search engine link and transform it to a direct free link. This appears to be legal because the NZ Herald has decided to make both links available – it merely finds them for you.

As with most Net wars, the NZ Herald has moved to plug this loophole, but the author is promising a second version which will use a different method.

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Greens and Business

September 28th, 2005 at 4:30 pm by David Farrar

The Greens made much noise about how they are reaching out to business. However it takes more than slogans and PR efforts. What were the results?

Well the quote of the day has to be from Paul Henry –

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Taito Phillip Field

September 28th, 2005 at 4:22 pm by David Farrar

Aaron Bhatnagar has good coverage of the latest on the dedicated MP for Mangere. It has been amusing to see some on the left defend his previous actions on grounds of cultural sensitivity. I look forward to seeing which culture supports you using your position as an MP to make a $135,000 profit out of a family which came to you in need.

I think there is no longer a question that he will not be reappointed to a Ministerial position. Clark is not stupid. But the real issue is should he resign as an MP? His actions in hiring someone for $1.20 an hour, illegally paying his wife and then ripping off constituents with housing problems all relate to his work as an MP, not as a Minister.

Labour should not be allowed to get away with saying

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New Zealand Day

September 28th, 2005 at 4:20 pm by David Farrar

Lewis Holden notes that yesterday was Dominion Day. Like Lewis I strongly favour that we should have a

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UK Telecommunications

September 28th, 2005 at 4:17 pm by David Farrar

Incidentially this is post no 3,000 for Kiwiblog!

As 027 does not work in the UK, Telecom arranged a UK loan phone for me. I think it sums up how much price gouging happens in NZ, that it is *cheaper* for me to call people in NZ from my UK mobile phone, in the UK, than it is to call people in NZ from my NZ mobile phone when in NZ. Yes seriously.

One of the flats I am staying at tells me they have 8Gb wireless! My current abodes has a neighbour with wireless also

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Hate Speech

September 28th, 2005 at 4:14 pm by David Farrar

In light of the furore over Critic, Anna takes issue with the concept of banning

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Up up and away

September 26th, 2005 at 4:02 pm by David Farrar

In a couple of hours I’m flying to Auckland and then London. Will be away for a month on a long awaited holiday. A wee bit of business and politics while over there but mainly relaxing and catching up with lots of friends.

I don’t expect to be blogging again until Wednesday NZST. And it will be probably very light blogging as, unlike when I am overseas at conferences with broadband, I’ll be relying on dial-up access and cybercafes as I’ll be crashing with friends, not staying in hotels.

Camera is travelling with me, so be prepared to get bored with lots of photos of London, England, Scotland and Ireland and maybe France.

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Three reasons to stay in Iraq

September 26th, 2005 at 3:31 pm by David Farrar

Instapundit has three good reasons the US should not bail out of Iraq.

Many more good reasons here also.

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Question?

September 26th, 2005 at 12:45 pm by David Farrar

Dick Cheney has just been in hospital having surgery.

During the surgery, did he have to sign over power to George Bush?

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Political Test

September 26th, 2005 at 9:56 am by David Farrar

This test is a bit like the political compass, but a different set of questions. I saw it on Risawn’s site where she got 50% socially permissive and 61% economically permissive.

As you can see below I am 80% socially permissive and 88% economically permissive.


You are a

Social Liberal
(80% permissive)

and an…

Economic Conservative
(88% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Libertarian



Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid

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Well done Christian Heritage

September 26th, 2005 at 7:36 am by David Farrar

Christian Heritage have released a statement where they distance themselves from Mark Munroe’s views on the Capill case, and reveal he has been asked to resign as their policy director.

The key aspect, has been succinctly made by Ewen McQueen:

“Like most New Zealanders I am dumbfounded that anyone would want to continue debating the technicalities of the Capill case and what sort of penalties are appropriate or not appropriate. The crimes were appalling. The court made its decision. For the victims

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