Archive for November, 2005
David Benson-Pope seems to be subscribing to the school of thought which is “Why tell the truth, when a lie will suffice?”
Last week he cowered away from the House, and said it was because he did not think there would be any questions for him – a claim not even a moron would believe.
And now this week he is still cowering away, so timid and scared that he can’t even face a select committee. And his reason for not fronting up is because he claims it is the Chief Executive’s job.
As G-Man has pointed out, it is not just normal practice for the Minister and the Chief Executive to front up, it is almost unheard of for the Minister not to be there.
UPDATE: Some readers have made the point, which is not unreasonable, that when it is a financial review, not an estimate, it is less common for a Minister to attend. Standing Orders do not clarify that this is the case. Of course DBP could still choose to front and get the issue dealt with. Instead I am sure his Chief Exec will just have to fend off all the questions by themselves on his behalf.
UPDATE2: The Dominion Post reports that Benson-Pope’s predecessor, Steve Maharey, did attend the Select Committee with his Chief Executive for two of the last three times.Tags: Labour
How long will Helen and Winston cling to the pretence of what they have cobbled together as being a workable arrangement? Today we read that the European Parliament MEPs were asking Clark to explain the roles, saying they can’t understand it. Yeah well join the group.
And can someone give Helen a prize for Orwellian doublespeak as she keeps referring to the arrangement where we have a Foreign Minister claiming not to be part of the Government as an “innovation”. If that’s an innovation, then so is bird flu!
Let’s quote one European MEP:
“The position he stands for is diametrically against the position you’ve adopted for six years. Many people in Europe don’t understand that.”
Yep. Winston claims his biggest priority is repairing the relationship with the US. Helen says there is no problem to be repaired.Tags: Winston First
Air NZ and Qantas have managed the near impossible – uniting the politicial spectrum to declare they are a bunch of idiots.
Not only do you have the Greens and National both declaring how stupid it is to ban men being seated next to children on flights, one has offended men and women almost equally. The number of women who have declared that just because they have ovaries doesn’t mean they should have to be landed with kids next to them is matched by the men who really are rather offended at the suggestion they are unsafe.
Keith Locke hs referred the issue to the Human Rights Commission, and it wil be interesting to hear their response. Hopefully more sensible than the Children’s Commissioner.Political Correctness
The Tauranga electoral petition outcome will be very interesting. Not just for Bob Clarkson, but for all those involved in campaigns as the current law is notoriously hard to interpret and the court judgement will hopefully provide some clarity.
As the NZ Herald reports it may come down to whether materials include donated services.
Interestingly even if it is found Clarkson over-spent, the Judge has said that Peters has to prove that the over-spending was deliberate for Clarkson to be found guilty of corrupt practices and the election voided.No tag for this post.
It’s good to see that Jim Sutton has got over his hissy fit over Tim Groser standing for National, and has included Tim in his delegation to world trade talks as an advisor.
Good to see National and Labour working together to advance our trade interests. Now all Labour has to do is to get their Foreign Minister to also support the Government on this issueNo tag for this post.
One of the overseas blogs I read is that of Miss Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey. When I read she had been in Vancouver I e-mailed her to see if she would still be there, when I was there, so we could catch up.
Apart from always being nice to meet other bloggers, I figured it would be useful to meet someone whom I almost went out with!
Jacqueline and Terrence had actually crossed the border back to the US by the time I got here, but as they are not far away, popped back for a day so we could all catch up. As the conference wasn’t allowing access until today, I had the whole day free.
We met at my motel and went for lunch at a local restaurant. Terrence is from Vancouver, but despite this we managed to walk past the restaurant several times. It was quite funny being known to Terrence as the “runner up”
After lunch Jacqueline and I let loose with our common passion for science-fiction and oh Buffy! First we headed to Warriors & Wonders where we looked at some great weapons to purchase. The trouble is that I suspect Customs would object to me travelling with a Mace, even a smallish one.
This is Jacqueline trying out a Roman sword and helmet.
And now with a nice battle-axe.
Upon discovering there was a Buffy section at the local bookstore, J made herself comfortable.
Then went to a pub for a while and we tried Canadian Cider. Very very nice I must say. J was shocked by how stingy my tip was, and made her one larger to compensate. Seems 15% is recommended.
A photo of us taking photos of each other. I imagine J will put up the matching one on her site.
We then met up with Terrence who had nobly lasted for most of the shopping expedition. His apartment is next door to the stadium which had just had the Canadian Superbowl final, so we had 40,000 people walking the other direction towards us which was fun.
By this stage it was becoming somewhat apparent that J had possibly had a bit too much cider. This led to some amusing conversations, along the lines of her reminding Terrence that if it didn’t work out with him, I was the backup. As it happens Terrence and Jacqueline are a very good couple, and I have little doubt they will last. In fact Jacqueline even confessed that if they ever marry she thinks it would be cool to then be known as Jackie Chan
We then all headed out to dinner, where J provided a running commentary, as only slightly drunk people can, on the faults in the TV coverage of the poker tournament that was showing on the screen (Terrence is a professional poker player).
Then dropped off at the hotel around 10 pm to say good bye. Was very nice to meet J in the flesh so to speak, and we managed to talk non-stop pretty much the whole day (heh except when engrossed in reading new purchases) which confirmed that our instincts were pretty correct. I may be staying on in Canada for a while (on which I will blog later), so if so may end up catching up with them again next week, by driving down to Seattle.
Thanks to Terrence and Jacqueline for the hospitality. What could have been a slightly awkward day was in fact great fun, and I look forward to staying in touch.Tags: DPF
It is very easy to blame Transit for being biased against Transmission Gully (and they are) but at the end of the day the decisions are made elsewhere, and illustrated in this exchange:
Further, the Environment Court had clearly stated that Transmission Gully was the project that would proceed in the long term. “What happened between 2000 and 2004 to bring forward a proposal that was rejected in 2000?” Sir Brian asked.
Transit Wellington regional manager Graham Taylor said more accurate costings were done on both options and presented to then Transport Minister Pete Hodgson.
The Government chose to provide enough money to build the coastal expressway, he said.
I pointed this out at the time. It was Claytons consultation as the Government said in theory you can decide whatever you want, but we are only providing enough money for one option.No tag for this post.
Tracy Watkins has a useful summary of all the maiden speeches, along with some awards.
The only issue I would take with Tracy is where she has criticised several speeches as parochial. The traditional maiden speech has always been heavily parochial where MPs talk about their electorate, their constituents and the issues for their electorate. Now with MMP this doesn’t apply so much to List MPs, but one should hardly be surprised that those who ran in a seat, talked a lot about that seat.No tag for this post.
Oh you do have to appreciate the mischief that the press can get up to. Colin Espiner has a wonderful piece on the Peters issue, but what really made me laugh was when the press gallery asked, I’m sure ever so sweetly, if the PM and the Foreign Minister would be having a joint press conference. The reaction seemed to be what one would get if you asked them if they would like to contract leprosy.
Peters’ reaction was especially hilarious. He responded “Where on Earth would you see that, anywhere else in the Western world?”.
The answer of course is, well basically everywhere.
The full article is worth reading, because Espiner does a clinical fisking of Peters lies. Peters has survived for years from bluster, and it is great to see someone who will quote his own words from the previous day back at him to expose the man. Take this example:
Then he took TV3 to task for quoting him asking for “a second chance” from the public. “I did not ask for a second go or a second chance,”‘ Peters said. Yet he is on tape telling reporters the previous day: “How about giving Winston Peters a second chance?”
One can not disagree with the conclusion:
Clark and Peters will continue with the pretence that he is foreign minister for at least a while longer.Tags: Winston First
It appears the Greens have won some small baubles also. Each Party gets a parliamentary service budget based on number of MPs out of which staff are hired, and funds allocated.
Despite also not being in Government, and in fact having said they will abstain on supply and confidence, the Greens are getting staff funded from Ministerial Services (which doesn’t come out of the Greens allocation).No tag for this post.
Or so Air New Zealand and Qantas seems to think, with news that it is policy to ban men from sitting next to unaccompanied children on flights.
It’s not that I personally mind – sometimes having a child next to you on a flight is like being on the 5th level of Dante’s Hell, and often the best seat of any plane is that with no-one next to you.
But nevertheless how fucking offensive, and yes I mean fucking. Think if Air NZ banned Muslims from sitting within the front ten rows of a plane, just to protect the pilots? I mean after all it is true that just as a man is more likely to be a paedophile, a Muslim is more likely to be a terrorist? Never mind that 99.xxx% of men are not paedophiles just as much the same percentage of Muslims are not terrorist?
And how about buses? Let’s have children and women only areas on buses, with men forced to sit down the back.
Oh and we better ban men from being teachers or youth leaders, because hey you never know when one of them might be a child abuser.Tags: Political Correctness
Okay finally Winston is scoring some decent baubles. Sure the VIP cars and the extra salary and staff are all very nice, but will you remember them in 20 years?
But getting to watch the All Blacks achieve the grand slam in Scotland, from the Royal Box no less – that’s a stunning bauble.
Hell let’s be honest I’d be half tempted myself to sell my party and promises out for some test match tickets. More than half temptedTags: Winston First
Snuck out last Thursday to see the Harry Potter movie during the afternoon. It was a good movie but that is because it is based on a great book.
Three of the four HP movies, including this one, follow the book almost religiously. And as I said the books are great, so they make good movies. But never do the movies grip you, never do they fill you with suspense. They really don’t come close to say Lord of the Rings. Perhaps it is that the books are so fresh on everyone’s memories, but the third movie which didn’t follow the book so tightly, was in my opinion the best.
The movie I am really waiting for is The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Yes, like many, I grew up on those books and still have the full set as a precious collection. And no I never caught on back then to the metaphors.
The trailers look great. What will be interesting is how well they capture the personalities. Lucy is the small girl filled with wonder, Edmund the troubled whiny younger brother and Peter the typical eldest responsible sibling in the books. I can’t actually recall much of a niche personality for Susan, which may be why they wrote her out in later books!
I do hope the movie does well, for I would love to see all seven books made. I see it opens in NZ the day after I get back. Wish one could book cine-lounge tickets over the Internet!Tags: Reviews
At some stage I must do an extended post on various aiport lounges from good to bad.
In terms of food and drink the Air NZ domestic lounges are actually amongst best in the world (that I have been to). In fact quite a lot better than their international lounges. If only they had wireless Internet!
But I have found a new high in the Japan Airlines lounge in Tokyo. They have a relaxation room where the provide free massages!! Great idea.Tags: Reviews
Silent Running point out that not only is George W Bush being blamed for all the wars on this world, a former Canadian Minister of Defence (says something) also says he may trigger a war with the aliens. And no not the ones from Mexico – he is seriously worried about an inter-galactic war!Tags: International Politics
G-Man has an excellent post on the David Benson-Pope issue. This is in response to David Benson-Pope saying the Police has been “bozo-ish” in their use of language.
Benson-Pope says that prima facie means:
simply that someone has laid a complaint and there’s no guilt presumption or anything else
This is a new definition for me, and I suspect most of the legal profession. G-Man provides a somewhat more reliable definition, from the Oxford Dictionary of Law:
A case that has been supported by sufficient evidence for it to be taken as proved in the absence of adequate evidence to the contrary
I also quite like Lectlaw which says:
Evidence that is sufficient to raise a presumption of fact or to establish the fact in question unless rebutted
I did feel somewhat sorry for Benson-Pope when this first happened, as I doubt any MP doesn’t have something from 25 years ago which is embarrassing. But his behaviour in responding to this has been quite simply contemptuous and outrageous. He has lied to the media and lied to Parliament, and shows a total inability to be even a tiny bit contrite.Tags: Labour
The SST reveals that there may be the numbers in Parliament to repeal the Foreshore & Seabed Act. Basically there are 60 votes in favour of repeal, and 58 votes against with United Future holding the balance.
United Future voted against the Act, so one might expect them to vote to repeal it. However they also voted against the Electoral Integrity Act yet are now saying they will vote for that.
The other possibility is that a Labour Maori MP could vote to repeal it.
The issue is not quite as simple as appears though. While National favours repealing it, I suspect they would want it replaced with something to guarantee access. If they could come to an agreement with the Maori Party on access though, there might be grounds for a way forward.
Wouldn’t that be a great sign of MMP in action, if they managed it.No tag for this post.
I note the Australian Government has asked Helen Clark to lobby the Singaporean PM to not execute Melbourne drug trafficker Nguyen Tuong Van.
If we were to behave like the Aussie Rigby Union had, we should ask the Singaporean’s to hurry the execution up, and webcast it!
I am sure Clark will do as asked, but not go overboard with it. I suspect a conversation like this:
Clark: We would rather you do not execute Nguyen Tuong Van
Nguyen Tuong Van: I understand
Clark: So will you execute him:
Nguyen Tuong Van: Yes
Yesterday’s editorial on David Benson-Pope is spot on. People should read this, especially considering how DBP is outraegously now attacking the Police and still asserting he has somehow been cleared. He has not been. The full Police report will be of interest.No tag for this post.
I agree with their conclusions, if not all their reasonings. It would be folly for in anyone to think that merely reminding people that Winston is a claytons Foreign Minister will be enough, and that victory is guaranteed as no Government gets a 4th term.
National has to tear the Government down, to be confident of victory. And it has to again capture the public imagination with its policies (which most supported last time) and even more so look like a Government in waiting.
One can not just hope people get sick of the Government, even if they do.Tags: Labour
The Herald on Sunday had a story today about how Murray McCully has been warned to stop calling people names. No, not by his colleagues, but by the State Services Commissioner.
Only thing is this was news 16 days ago. McCully revealed it in his weekly e-mail newsletter (which the HoS is calling a blog!) three Fridays ago.
So will next week’s HoS sccop be to reveal that last Monday the weather was sunny?Tags: Media
Pointers to any torrents of these files would be appreciated, as none of the TV channels at the hotel here are in English. 11 are in Japanese and oh yes we also get CNN in Spanish!!
Abbey Road has the best summary of the sports scene at the moment:
Tri-Nations (Union)? No
Tri-Nations (League)? No
Dingo Rooting? YES
Heh. And even Wales beat them.Tags: New Zealand