Archive for March, 2006

Rickards not guilty

March 31st, 2006 at 4:45 pm by David Farrar

Assistant Police Commissioner Clint Rickards (and his two fellow defendants) have been found not guilty on on all 20 charges.

I am not surprised in that that there seemed to clearly be reasonable doubt, with the testimony of the flatmate especially.

I actually predicted back in February 2004 that this would be a lose-lose affair, and it has been.

While Rickards and co have been found not guilty, I don’t think their careers or reputations will recover. And their actions, while not found to be illegal, reflect badly on them. Whether Rickards can just return to his former role in the Police is highly debatable.

I’ll blog more on this tomorrow, but am being cultured and about go go out for a recital by the NZ Symphony Orchestra.

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Radio NZ

March 31st, 2006 at 4:34 pm by David Farrar

I meant to blog this earlier in the week when I saw the audiocast on Parliament’s website, but forgot. However Radio NZ has reminded me through this press release that they are now audio casting all sessions of Parliament via the Internet.

Radio NZ does great stuff online. I listen to several stories a week through their website, so it is great to see them making a further commitment.

Talking of Radio NZ, Vint Cerf is being interviewed at 9.05 am tomorrow morning on National Radio. If you miss it at the time you can listen to the archive afterwards.

For those who want more background to the ICANN meeting which has just concluded, you can also listen to Peter Dengate-Thrush who was interviewed a fortnight ago. Peter is one of 15 people on the Board of ICANN, like Vint, and is a former President of InternetNZ.

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National calls for halt to Hamas aid

March 31st, 2006 at 12:26 pm by David Farrar

Murray McCully has called on the Government to suspend all financial support of the Palestinian Authority, now that the new Hamas Cabinet has been sworn in.

This is of course the right thing to do. Hamas remains dedicated to wiping out Israel, and carries out regular terrorist attacks. There can be no doubt that any aid given to the PA will end up helping blow up buses of school kids (if you doubt the ability to divert money, remember Arafat was possibly a billionaire from stolen money).

However this may create a political dilemma for the Government. You see Labour are very anti-Israel and as long as some of their socialist friends agree, will probably be quite happy to keep funding the PA. They will justify it on the basis of there being a truce and it is unfair to punish the Palestinian people for Hamas (despite those people electing Hamas).

However Foreign Minister Peters will not at all want to be the apologist for giving money to terrorists. So National applying pressure on this issue could see a nice wee spat between Helen, Phil and Winston.

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Freakonomics

March 31st, 2006 at 10:30 am by David Farrar

Jordan (no not that one) has lent me a copy of Freakonomics which is a great read. A wonderful study of how human nature and incentives work. I’ve been reading it every night (bar one) this week.

Anyway one of the items in there was about how US taxpayers used to be able to get a tax credit for their children. In 1987 they then required not just to list the children but also their social security numbers. Overnight *seven million* children disappeared.

Anyway the day after I read this in Freakonomics it turned up on the Snopes Urban Legends site who confirm it is true.

I wonder what proof of children our tax system requires?

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Voting by Mexican Wave

March 31st, 2006 at 10:23 am by David Farrar

Heh someone must have spiked the ICANN Board’s coffee. They just voted on a resolution to aim to have a process for considering new generic TLDs by 1 January 2007 and they voted for it by way of mexican wave from left to right.

Sort of had to be there to really appreciate it, but it was very funny and some welcome levity during a long session (2.5 hours and no break so far).

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Jill Carroll freed

March 31st, 2006 at 9:06 am by David Farrar

CSM journalist Jill Carroll has been freed in Iraq after 100 days captivity.

It’s wonderful to have had a good outcome to this.

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.xxx delayed not dead

March 31st, 2006 at 8:18 am by David Farrar

The Board has just voted to continue negotiations with the .xxx applicant with amendments to the proposed TLD registry agreement to be negotiated to ensure there are adequate mechanisms to address any potential registrant violations of the sponsor’s policies.

So it has been delayed again, but I can’t see any reason it will not be given final approval in the next few months. Mind you I thought it would be approved at this meeting! It is important to note the TLD was approved in principle last year and the remaining step is only approval of the final contract.

I noted on radio this morning that the three main Governments trying to stop the .xxx TLD are the US, Australia and Iran – strange bedfellows indeed :-)

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Dom Post on United Future

March 31st, 2006 at 6:55 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial comments on the religious issues with United Future, and how “for every voter drawn to a Christian party, a dozen or more are driven away”.

Of course United Future try to claim they are not a religious party, the editorial again makes the key point “Mr Dunne can assert United Future is not a religious party till he is blue in the face, but while the likes of Outdoor Recreation and Mr Blumsky suggest otherwise, the perception will linger that he is alone in the Christians’ den”.

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$79 million down the drain

March 31st, 2006 at 6:28 am by David Farrar

In 2001 the Government announced a National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy with a $79-million, five-year budget.

Yesterday they announced it has failed. In fact the growth in non-renewable energy use under Labour’s plan had been higher than a 2001 “do-nothing” scenario before the strategy was adopted.

Just think then. If they spent twice as much money, they may have failed twice as badly!!

Also remember there is no money available for tax cuts!

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Another cartoon!

March 31st, 2006 at 6:15 am by David Farrar

An Islamic paper in Indonesia has published a cartoon showing Aussie PM John Howard and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer as fornicating dingos with Howard mounting Downer saying “”I want Papua!! Alex! Try to make it happen.”

UPDATE: Image from news.com.au.

Unfortunately Australia will not be declaring jihad on Indonesia or burning down their embassy. In fact Howard has said “I’ve been in this game a long time. If I got offended by cartoons – golly heavens above, give us a break”

I’ve tried to find an online verson to publish here but no luck so far. If anyone can find a copy let me know. The cartoon was in the Dom Post print edition and is quite funny, albeit certainly offensive.

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ICANN Public Forum

March 30th, 2006 at 10:09 am by David Farrar

Currently in the ICANN Public Forum (link is to a webcast). I continue to be amazed at the speed of the typists who do the real-time transcript. I asked one of them if they knew how many words a minute they type at and she said she had been measured at 260 words a minute!!

UPDATE: Being at a meeting where 95% of the participants have laptops and are online makes for interesting meetings. As one example an unofficial IRC channel has been running during the conference for those who want to use it. Two of the 15 ICANN Board members are on it, so during the public forum there is also a reasonable amount of unofficial dialogue where questions are asked through IRC and where possible info posted back there also. So as one meeting is taking place through microphones a complementary one occurs through IRC. And as usual with IRC some very witty comments are made, which wouldn’t be said over an open mike. The best of both worlds!

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Even MPs may become beneficiaries

March 30th, 2006 at 7:06 am by David Farrar

Bad enough we have middle class welfare but Labour even has welfare for the rich. Yes even MPs on $113,000 can now get working for families welfare.

The Government’s $15 million propaganda campaign is ironically so true. It shows the “needy” family as living in a $700,000 house, and having all the latest gadgets such as Ipods.

This is not what Michael Joseph Savage intended I am sure. A safety net for those in need is one thing. Taxing the hell out of those NZers who earn money so the Government can hand it out and turn almost every NZ family into beneficiaries is quite another.

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Former PMs Travel

March 30th, 2006 at 6:43 am by David Farrar

The NZ Herald has done a story on how much travel has been done by former PMs at taxpayer’s expense – which is a fair enough story.

However taking the $10,000 air travel costs for one former PM and equating it to 38 full-cost flexi fares is somewhat silly as it is comparing it to 38 one way fares. Now who actually flys one way from Auckland to Wellington? I mean do you walk back to Auckland? The better comparison would be to 19 return fares as this is what 98% of travellers do.

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ACTing up

March 30th, 2006 at 6:30 am by David Farrar

Cathy Odgers has guest blogged an article on Clint Heine’s blog. Cathy praises both Roger Douglas and Rodney Hide, and laments their “family feud”. A warm nice tribute to both men.

Talking of feuds though, Robin Booth vigourously attacks the new ACT President. It is fair to say that his allegations are disputed, and you can see some of this in the comments.

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Productivity

March 29th, 2006 at 1:25 pm by David Farrar

I was interested by this article in the NZ Herald about how from 1988 to 2005 labour productivity grew by an average of 2.6 per cent a year in New Zealand compared with 2.3 per cent in Australia.

I wondered if there was a difference between Governments. Well Sage has done the research and shows us:

From 1993 to 2000 productivity growth was a whopping 3.1%. From 2000 to 2005 it was half of that at 1.5%.

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Telling the truth is dangerous

March 29th, 2006 at 1:07 pm by David Farrar

The Government often blames its staff for things like getting projections wrong etc.

A foolish scientist yesterday was quoted as saying with regards to climate change that the problem is that Pete Hodgson “basically directed the staff to model the next target as if it had been accomplished” and “stuffed it up”.

Today he has been ordered to clear his desk and leave work.

I can’t say I am surprised. But it is a good reminder that Ministers often dictate the assumptions on which civil servants have to make forecasts. So when things go wrong and a Minister blames his or her officials, make sure you ask about what involvement the Minister had in the forecasts.

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Israeli Election

March 29th, 2006 at 8:49 am by David Farrar

Thanks to Tim Blair, have found this blog covering the Israeli election.

If I was voting I would be voting for Kadima and then Labour ahead of Likud. The rump left behind by Ariel Sharon are too extreme (mind you that worked for Hamas!).

Current exit polls suggest Kadima should get 30 – 32 seats and are likely to be able to form a Government with 62 – 66 seats out of 120 in support.

This means there will be a partner for peace on the Israeli side. The ball will be firmly with Hamas as to whether they are prepared to achieve a lasting piece.

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Dogs and Poodles

March 29th, 2006 at 7:08 am by David Farrar

EIght years was more than long enough to spend as a staffer in Parliament but I do sometimes miss the routine of watching question time with your colleagues and friends on house sitting days. The collective reactions to great lines is always good.

I can just imagine how well Gerry Brownlee’s line went down yesterday. Jim Anderton was being asked about micro-chippings dogs (and how he as No 3 in Cabinet got rolled by Mahuta at No 18). Somehow apples started to be talked about and then Winston Peters tried to ask a question about apples also.

The Speaker (correctly) ruled it out of order over Winston’s objections. In a rare move though Gerry Brownlee took a point or order to support Winston:

I raise a point of order, Madam Chairperson. I think that perhaps it is appropriate for the House to grant leave in this case, since we are on dogs, to get a question from the poodle.

Classic.

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Quiet DPF

March 29th, 2006 at 5:59 am by David Farrar

Oh dear I am starting to lose my voice. This will not be because of my contributions at the ICANN conference sessions itself (even though there have been a few) but because I also have the job of being the host or MC at the ICANN Bar every night.

We have 200 or so people there in a very happy mood (as the bar is sponsored and free) and I have to stand on a stool and interupt them for 10 – 15 minutes a night to thank the sponsor for the bar that evening, and then find a way to give out 30 prizes with quickfire questions. This involves a fair degree of talking loudly, especially as one night the PA system wasn’t working. Hence my fading voice.

People seem to be enjoying the quick-fire quizes as a lot of them have said I should give up my day job to be an MC. Mind you that might just be because they think I am a crap pollster :-)

Anyway need to start work on 30 more questions for tonight. Always fun to find out trivia such as the dingo fence of Australia being twice as long as the Great Wall of China.

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Competing Carnivals

March 29th, 2006 at 5:48 am by David Farrar

You remember the case of the GP who is turning his medical centre into a brothel because he claims the Government bureaucracy made it impossible to carry on as a GP.

Well on the same day as his gala brothel opening a group next door is holding a “Good Vibrations Carnival” to celebrate “wholesome family values”.

This may be one of the more stupid ideas in recent times. It attracts far more attention to the brothel opening and also probably ensures way way more customers as people will go to the “good vibrations” carnival for a couple of hours of free fun and then head next door for the “good vibrators” carnival for a couple more hours of paid fun!

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Protesting Fathers

March 29th, 2006 at 5:41 am by David Farrar

I have some sympathy for the argument that current family court laws and practises are not fair to male parents. There have been some horrendous cases of fine fathers losing access to their children.

However the tactics of “men’s groups” both in NZ and overseas sadly always go a few steps too far and they marginalise themselves.

Today’s example is handing out pamphlets and using a megaphone outside the homes of some Auckland Family Court lawyers.

Not only is the protest against the wrong people (lawyers don’t make the laws) but targeting people at home comes across as nasty and intimidatory.

In the UK it got even worse with a plot to kidnap the infant son of Tony Blair!

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Do prisoners get air points?

March 29th, 2006 at 5:34 am by David Farrar

After revelations that the Government is sepending $100,000 a month flying prisoners around NZ, Damien O’Connor has asserted that inmates are not getting airpoints.

I’m not sure that the Minister can be 1005 sure. There are three basic ways to get airpoints:

1) Give Air NZ your airpoints number when booking the flight
2) Give Air NZ your airpoints number when checking in
3) Send in your boarding pass to Air NZ after you fly

Now with (1) we can assume that not even the Corrections Department asks prisoners for their airpoints numbers and uses them in making bookings. However if the prisoner knows what flight he is on, he could get a friend to phone Air NZ with his airpoint number and have it added on.

With (2) again I think we can assume that prison guards do not allow prisoners to hand over their frequent flyer cards at check in.

But with (3) it is possible that if a prisoner retains his boarding pass, then he could post it in afterwards and claim the airpoints.

Are there any other ways prisoners could be claiming air points?

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Field wants his job back also!

March 29th, 2006 at 5:26 am by David Farrar

Oh dear – with Helen Clark saying Parker may get his Ministerial jobs back immediately if not charged (despite admitting he broke the law as an MP), this has led Taito Philip Field to say he also expects to be back in the Ministry if ‘cleared’.

Of course the inquiry into Field was set up with such limited powers, such as an inability to compel witnesses to co-operate, that it may be stale-mated. Also the inquiry is not able to determine if a crime has been committed – the Police or SFO make decisions on prosecutions.

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Heh indeed

March 28th, 2006 at 2:14 pm by David Farrar

WOW Report.JPG

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Marital Expectations

March 28th, 2006 at 10:08 am by David Farrar

It can be a sensible idea for a couple getting married to set out their expectations to each other. However prepare to be amazed at this list of “wifely expectations” set out by a Iowa man in a proposed contract with his wife. I summarize some below but you really should read the whole thing:

* She must shave every third day, with definitions of where to shave and even specifying a maximum 2″ x 1″ patch you know where with a maximum length also!

* At least half of shoe purchases must be high heels of greater than 2″ and panties must be thongs except during that time of month

* Must get naked within 20 minutes of the kids going to bed (now that one isn’t all bad :-)

* He has three hours a day of “my time” during which she must not argue, complain, cry, sob, whine or pout. She also must during this time be subservient, submissive, cheerful and adoring and oh yeah is not allowed to say no to swallowing or greek.

* Dressing up for parties or going out dictates skirts must be no lower than two inches below the knee, except (get this) when going to church!

* The duration of certain acts such as fellatio is defined

* Her birthday present every year is getting to select a sex toy for her!

My God reality is often stranger than fiction. I suspect when the jury get read out this contract they will not need to hear any other evidence relating to the case. I also suspect he didn’t show his wife the proposed contract *before* they got married!

Hat Tip: Silent Running

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