Archive for September, 2006

US attack ads

September 30th, 2006 at 3:33 pm by David Farrar

These have to be listened to, to be believed. They are from a Republican Vernon Robinson who was labelled by a newspaper as a “black Jesse Helms” and then used the tag as a badge of pride.

In this radio ad he claims “If Miller [his opponent] had his way, America would be nothing but one big fiesta for illegal aliens and homosexuals.”

In the second ad, played to banjo tunes. You have to listen to it to believe it. Hilarious (yet disturbing).

This third radio ad rails against illegal aliens and how awful it is some McDonalds staff don’t speak English.

His one TV ad is not so outrageous but still out there.

The highlight though is this ad script:

Robinson for Congress Ad: “Pays for Sex”

Announcer: What kind of Congressman would try to deny our soldiers the body armor they need to save their lives?
(On Screen: Soldiers alongside a flag-draped coffin.)
Announcer: Well the answer is, your Congressman, Brad Miller. That’s right, Brad Miller did not vote for the appropriation to pay for improved body armor for our troops. But Brad Miller has no trouble spending your money, he, he would just rather spend it on sex.
(On Screen: A Picture of Rep. Brad Miller with “XXX” printed over it.)
(Sound FX: Animal noises.)
Announcer: That’s right, instead of spending money on sickle-cell research Brad Miller voted to spend your money to study the sex lives of Vietnamese prostitutes in San Francisco. Instead of spending money on cancer research, Brad Miller spent your money to study the masturbation habits of old men. Brad Miller spent your tax dollars to study something called the Bisexual Transgendered and Two-Spirited Aleutian Eskimos, whoever they are. Brad Miller even spent your tax dollars to pay teenage girls to watch pornographic movies with probes connected to their genitalia. Brad Miller pays for sex, but not for body armor for our troops. If Miller had better priorities, you wouldn’t be having to hear this.
(On Screen: Images of soldiers in combat.)
Robinson: “I’m Vernon Robinson and I approved this message because Brad Miller is out of touch and soon, he’ll be out of Congress.”

I am now curious about “Bisexual Transgendered and Two-Spirited Aleutian Eskimos” :-)

Hat Tip: Boing Boing

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Trotter on Right Wing Blogs

September 30th, 2006 at 3:09 pm by David Farrar

It hasn’t appeared online yet so I’ve copied below yesterday’s Chris Trotter column on right-wing bloggers.

Trotter praises the video parody “Pay It Back” as proof positive that right now it’s the right-wing that is making all the running and (it’s only fair to say) having all the fun.

However the rest of the column is a near semi-hysterical rant as he compares the bloggers to the Third Reich and commits the very same sins he accusses bloggers of. He also compares us to the McCarthy era and the US South fight to maintain segretation. yes – seriously!

So not only am I a Nazi, an anti-Semite, a racist and a McCarthyite, but according to Trotter I also hate women, gays, lesbians, Maori and immigrants.

Something has happened to Chris Trotter in the last two to three months. His columns used to be amongst the best in NZ. Everyone from right to left hung off them and he was quoted everywhere. But something seems to have happened to him, and every week he gets more bizarre from supporting corruption so long as National is kept out of office, to this hysterical rant. He makes Matthew Hooton sound like Colin James in comparison :-)

Anyway here is the article.

CRUEL WAR AGAINST `LIAR-BOUR’

Chris Trotter in Auckland

I FEEL unclean, as if I’ve just passed through a town in the grip of the plague.

I feel compromised, as if I’ve inadvertently opened a madman’s diary. I feel angry and aggrieved — and frightened.

I’ve been in the realm of the right-wing bloggers.

There is a style of political expression that delights in extremity and feeds on its elaboration.

In the past, the rhetoric it produced was restricted to the dinner tables of capitalism’s most vociferous middle-class defenders, and the bar-rooms of its most ignorant working-class dupes.

It was pernicious, but it was also confined — like a dangerous pitbull terrier — to the practitioner’s immediate circle of family, friends, workmates and acquaintances.

Only rarely was it permitted to break out of this confined political space to assault the wider public sphere — usually when those at the summit of society felt threatened by the stirrings of those at the base.

The incessant drum-beat of anti-democratic and anti-Semitic propaganda that characterised the politics of Weimar Germany, is probably the most vivid historical example of this phenomenon.

Other examples include the vicious red-baiting of the McCarthy era, and the outpouring of racist propaganda in the Deep South during the campaign for black civil rights in the early 1960s.

What differentiates those earlier periods of ugly political extremism from the present, is that they were permitted to continue only for as long as they served the interests of those who unleashed them.

Newspaper editors could decide when to publish the ravings of abusive letter-writers and when to consign them to the rubbish-bin.

Whether or not inflammatory utterances were banned as seditious or protected as free speech was entirely at the discretion of the judiciary.

Police commanders could issue permits for political demonstrations, or break them up as threats to public order.

In other words, the extremists’ ability to influence political events was strictly controlled.

Today, the development of the Internet and the explosive growth of the Worldwide Web has undermined the authorities’ ability to switch political extremism on and off like a gigantic megaphone.

The essentially anarchic nature of the Internet affords extremists of every hue — red and blue — unprecedented access to the sort of audiences activists formerly required considerable wealth and power to reach.

But right- and left-wing bloggers don’t need a set of multi-million-dollar printing presses or a network of radio and television transmitters to reach thousands of people. All they need is a personal computer and a phone connection.

This leaves political extremists completely free to peddle their most objectionable material directly to the public. They do not have to pass Go (secure the blessing of The Powers That Be) and they do not need to collect $200 (get their hands on the TPTB’s money).

The only constraint currently operating on political extremism is the imagination of its growing army of propagandists.

The current (quite brilliant) video parody of The Rolling Stones hit-single Paint It Black — “I see a red card and they got to pay it back. They stole from public funds now they must pay it back . . .” — is proof positive that right now it’s the right-wing that is making all the running and (it’s only fair to say) having all the fun.

And if there was nothing more in the right-wing blogosphere than clever video parodies there would be no genuine cause for concern.

Sadly, there is much, much more — and it is neither funny nor clever.

I hardly know where to begin to describe — let alone explain — the viciousness of the (mostly) young New Zealand males who inhabit this fetid environment. Their hostility towards the Left extends far beyond honest disagreements between fair-minded citizens over how best to organise human society.

In their eyes, the Labour Government is not merely mistaken, it is evil.

No term of abuse is too strong; no accusation too bizarre; no punishment too condign for Helen Clark and her “Liar-bour” colleagues.

And here I have to say that, inspiring and infusing a great deal of what ends up in the right-wing blogosphere, are deep-seated and profoundly disturbing feelings of hatred towards women, gays, lesbians, Maori and immigrants.

It has required only a single generation for the dragon’s teeth sown in the 1970s and 80s by the reckless identity politicians of the Left to produce a truly terrifying harvest.

The chilling lines of W. B. Yeats’s 1921 poem, The Second Coming, have finally, and to my great disquiet, assumed an ominously contemporary resonance: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity”.

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I’m with Fran

September 30th, 2006 at 9:38 am by David Farrar

I’m with Fran O’Sullivan, supporting her call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the 2005 election. A panel of Judges would be an excellent way to establish what exactly did happen, and how much truth there is to all the various allegations. It’s remit could include:

* Labour’s alleged over-spending
* National’s GST on broadcasting
* Exclusive Brethren and other third party activity
* Labour’s claims of cash for policies
* Tariana’s claims of $250,000 to support Labour
* Use of taxpayer funds by parties and MPs
* Hiring of private detectives, theft of Brash e-mails

In reality there is almost no chance of this happening though. Steve Maharey on Agenda seemed as enthusiastic about the idea of a Royal Commission as a vegetarian feels about a nice fillet steak. The thought of actually having to prove all their silly allegations of cash for policies probably frightened him as much as the the thought of the decision making over the pledge card being made public.

But as we have seen in recent months, public pressure can work. If one could get the minor parties to support a Royal Commission, and then National, that would make it hard for Labour to refuse – especially as they claim they want the truth about the Exclusive Brethren to come out – well they can get it – so long as all aspects of the election are investigated.

If the Government can waste $500,000 on a powerless inquiry into just one MP, and millions on a sidelined inquiry into police conduct, surely a few million into the integrity of the last general election is a cheap price to pay.

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Driver Licence Eye Tests

September 30th, 2006 at 9:25 am by David Farrar

The Dominion Post reports that 70% of those who fail the driver licence eye test, then pass the more sophisticated optometrist test. Naturally they want their test fees refunded.

I’m one of the 30% who failed to see the third column on the LTSA test, and then when I saw an optometrist found out that indeed my eyesight had been declining over time and I did need glasses. It may have been many many years until I had realised myself as a gradual decline is so hard to spot.

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NZ First in-fighting

September 30th, 2006 at 9:08 am by David Farrar

The President of NZ First did the unforgiveable – he spoke of life after Winston. Everyone knows there is no such thing, so he must be punished.

Hence he will be challenged for the job by the NZ First Caucus who have nominated MP Barbara Stewart for the job.

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Brash on Treaty

September 30th, 2006 at 8:50 am by David Farrar

Dr Brash clarifies his views on Treaty issues in the Herald:

“But it is quite wrong to argue that, because Maori are over-represented in negative social statistics, the ‘Crown’, or the Government on behalf of all New Zealanders, has somehow failed to discharge its obligation under the Treaty.

“If Maori New Zealanders die more frequently from lung cancer than non-Maori do, for example, it is almost certainly because Maori New Zealanders choose to smoke more heavily than other New Zealanders do …

“Similarly if there are relatively few Maori at the Auckland Law School – and that despite preferential arrangements for Maori – that is not a failing of the Government, but a result of decisions made by individual Maori,” he said.

“Nobody would suggest that because there are relatively few European New Zealanders in the All Blacks, there has been a breach of the Treaty.”

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Tony Blair

September 29th, 2006 at 1:05 pm by David Farrar

Jordan Carter blogs his approval of Tony Blair’s last party conference speech and Blair’s contribution to the UK. It is certainly a great speech.

I regard Tony Blair as a centrist right winger at heart who was in Labour because the Torys were so unappealing to “middle” Britain. It was when I was over there for six weeks last year I realised that his instincts are of the right.

In health and education he is a champion of choice and competition and the private sector having a role. In law & order he is very genuinely hardline. His welfare reforms (like Clinton’s) have appalled the old left. On defence he is hawk. Even on environmentalism he balances up the need to confront climate change with the realisation Kyoto is the wrong solution for it.

I used to think Blair was like Clark. Clark sometimes goes centrist on some issues. But Clark does it purely to gain votes, or deflate a hot issue. Clark instinctively is very much on the left wing of Labour – she is just willing to compromise as much as is necessary to stay in power (I say that with a mixture of appreciation and condemnation).

Blair though is a genuine believer in education and health reforms which provide choice and competition. His language is often language of the right. He definitely is a believer in third world poverty relief etc, but that is not universal to the left.

It is a pity that Blair’s record will be judged mainly on his decision to support action against Saddam Hussein. He does deserve more consideration than that.

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TUANZ Awards Dinner

September 29th, 2006 at 12:44 pm by David Farrar

I attended my first TUANZ Awards Dinners last night, thanks to lawyer Michael Wigley whose law firm sponsored the ISP of the Year award, and invited me to his table (Michael acts for InternetNZ and various ISPs on telco issues).

It was a very enjoyable night – black tie compulsory so the penguin suit was hired. Personally I can live without black tie dress codes, but the nice thing is the woman then all dress up accordingly and look magnificent, so no real complaints.

Started with pre-pre-dinner drinks in the bar, then official pre-dinner drinks downstairs at the Hyatt and finally after two hours of champagne with no food we make the dinner – 40 tables of ten spread throughout the ballrooms and six screens beaming people and presentations at us.

John Campbell was the host, and an excellent choice. Very smooth and witty, yet not dominating so much that he was the “story”.

ISP of the Year went to Orcon. I was picking it would be them or Ihug. A popular choice.

Telco of the Year went to Vodafone, which again was a popular choice. Vodafone are good with the innovation. Life without my Vodafone Blackberry and 3G data card would be like being in a gulag :-)

The media of the year was Telecommunications Review and journalist of the year was Peter Nowak formerly of the NZ Herald who accepted the award by phone from Canada. Peter was again a very good choice as he really gave important stories the prominance and detail they needed.

Finally the Chairman’s Award for leadership went to David Cunliffe, which was clearly the obvious choice with his telecommunications stocktake having invigorated the sector.

Dessert and dancing followed the awards and then after midnight the after-match parties took place in selected rooms. I think I did well to make my 10 am appointment this morning!!

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Wednesday

September 29th, 2006 at 12:23 pm by David Farrar

Wednesday was that very rare day – a day off and in Auckland. I had meetings Tuesday and Thursday in Auckland, so the cheaper and more logicial option was to stay up. It was great to, for once, not be rushing from meeting to meeting and then to a plane.

Managed to catch up with an impressive number of people that day. Started with a random encounter with Craig Ranapia at Borders at 1 pm. Then had a coffee with an insolent chap a couple of hours later at 3 pm and then headed up to Sky City to meet the infamous Chuck Bird at 4.

An hour later at 5 off to a K Road pub for what I though was a small group – meeting Darren G plus two of the Sir H’s crowd – Adolf and Gooner. But also got joined by David W and a Rob and Michael from NZBC who were in the neighbourhood. Finally Phil U from Whoar also joined us so we had a very balanced group. Was good to put faces to names.

After a couple of hours at the pub then headed to Kingsland for dinner with Claire, Lin, Simon and a few others. Can highly recommend Canton for a good feed. We then headed next door for dessert and drinks. The only downside was getting there as my taxi driver (Singh3) not only did not know where Canton Restaurant was, he did not know where New North Road was and eventually admitted he did not know where Kinglsand even was. I will fire a letter off to LTSA iof I have the time. I mean not knowing a street is one thing, but not knowing an entire suburb!!

Then headed into town and ended up drinking with a couple of very sociable students in their apartment for many an hour, finally making it back to the Hyatt at 4 am.

A long, but very enjoyable day.

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Turia must name names

September 29th, 2006 at 9:10 am by David Farrar

Tariana Turia has to back up her allegations of being offered money in return for agreeing to back Labour, or withdraw the claim.

This is not a trivial issue. Is is an accusation of serious illegal behaviour, and blatant vote buying.

Clark’s billionaire friend, Owen Glenn, whom many thought fitted the description, has denied it was him. He says he has never even heard of Mrs Turia. How reassuring that the biggest donor in NZ politics is so well informed!!

A suggestion someone made yesterday was that an MP could write to the Speaker asking this matter go before the Privileges Committee. Turia was an MP last year and by her own words this was someone wanting to pay $250,000 so she and others would vote in favour of Labour on confidence and supply.

If Turia is unwilling to back up her allegation, then she can not expect to be taken credibly on other issues. You can’t make such allegations without proof.

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Unparliamentary Terms

September 29th, 2006 at 8:50 am by David Farrar

Oh a wonderful resource – a (non-exhaustive) list of terms ruled unparliamentary over the years. They include:

* Idle vapourings of a mind diseased
* His brains could revolve inside a peanut shell for a thousand years without touching the sides
* Like a snail leaves a slime behind him
* Frustrated warlord
* Ayatollah
* The Arapawa Goat

This reminds me of that classi Havoc and Newsboy episode where they sat in the shamber with then Speaker Jonathan Hunt and rattlked through a list of obscene words asking him for each one if it could be used in the House. After a dozen or so he looked most relieveved when they finally found one which was legit!

Hat Tip: Tony Milne

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Well done Zoe Chapman

September 29th, 2006 at 8:38 am by David Farrar

Okay – important announcement for all women in Auckland. If you go to Soul Bar before 22 October (5 pm to midnight) and say “Whack it on the Platinum” you will get a free glass of champagne.

Why you ask?

Because some rich bastard fails to get into the pants of Miss Zoe Chapman, losing the bet she extorted from him that the price of failure would be to buy champgane for her and all other women in the bar for a month!

Zoe then e-mailed all her friends to encourage them o frequent Soul and try to bankrupt the property magnate. Good on him incidentially for honouring his bet.

Hat Tip to Ana at Spare Room has checked out the story with the bar and they confirm it is true in regards to the credit card, and not just an urban legend.

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Who offered $250,000 to Maori Party to back Labour?

September 28th, 2006 at 2:25 pm by David Farrar

Tariana Turia is under pressure to reveal who made the offer of $250,000 in campaign funding if they agreed to back Labour, and who was the third party “wealthy individual” the offer was on behalf of.

The offer was made not once but twice according to Turia who says she understood the potential donor lived outside New Zealand, and had donated money to the Labour Party.

Seems to be one obvious candidate. I am sure the media will be asking him if it was him.

Labour claim to know nothing about this. Perhaps then they should set up a propoer commission of inquiry into the allegations so that the truth can come out and they can be cleared. I’d even be happy for the Commssision to also investigate Helen and Trevor’s claims of National accepting bribes for policy as it would be superb to have them actually have to produce proof of their claims.

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Gary Moore to stand down as Chch Mayor

September 28th, 2006 at 2:04 pm by David Farrar

Christchurch Mayor Gary Moore has announced he will not seek a fourth term as Mayor. It seems the announcement was very emotional and it is not clear how much the decision is of his own free will and how much it is a fear of losing.

Moore from my viewpoint, seems to have been a pretty good Mayor. You want a Mayor with energy and presence which he has. And while he is Labour, he has worked with people from all parties pretty well.

I suspect this will see Tim Barnett stand as Mayor. It has been a real mystery to me why Barnett, whom I regard as one of the most politically astute Labour MPs, has never made Cabinet despite being in his 4th term. I presume it is Helen being overly sensitive to having too many openly gay MPs in Cabinet because how else do you justify Clayton Cosgrove, Judith Tizard, Dover Samuels and Harry Duynhoven as Ministers ahead of Barnett.

So if Tim becomes Mayor, wil this see Tony Milne seek the candidacy for Christchurch Central for any by-election?

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The EB need a campaign manager

September 28th, 2006 at 1:50 pm by David Farrar

The things that strikes me with the EB’s foray into politics is how damn awful they are at it. Seriously any conspiracy theory that National is pulling their strings dies on the basis that they wouldn’t make such basic mistakes if they had decent competent advice.

The Press notes in its editorial that the EEB have become their own worst enemies. Not quite true as no-one knocks Helen off her perch, but basically correct.

Almost all of the activities – pamphlets, detectives, letters to the editor have caused them more harm than anyone else.

So my advice to the EB (if they were allowed to use the Internet and could read this) is to go and hire a good campaign manager. Hell think what some smart political nous could do with a few million dollars and 3,000+ volunteers. You could hand deliver targetted direct mail, swamp the letters to the editors sections of newspapers, phone canvass hundreds of thousands of households etc etc. I almost could be tempted to apply for the job :-)

Personally I’ll be quuite happy if they leave politics to God and us sinners again. But if they do insist on staying involved, please go get some help!!

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Turia not happy

September 28th, 2006 at 1:23 pm by David Farrar

Tariana Turia doesn’t want to meet with Don Brash any further, saying their views are so far apart.

I’m surprised she has taken so long to realise it.

However it does pose challenges to National. While I don’t believe a National/Maori coalition or agreement could or would be viabale or stable, it is useful to have a good working relationship on the issues there is agreement on. And as many have noted National doesn’t have many potential partners scoring over 1% at the moment.

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Further falling

September 28th, 2006 at 1:01 pm by David Farrar

All bad news in the media today for Brian Connell. First we have the publicity over his vow not to cut his hair until Don Brash is no longer Leader. Good God – are you 12???? I mean seriously, one is a Member of Parliament.

Then we have David Carter saying that the Independent had confirmed to him prior to the Caucus meeting that they knew someone was going to confront Brash. I had certainly heard the day after it happened that the Independent had the story written in advance and were just waiting for the Caucus meeting to then confirm and file the story..

On top of that one of Connell’s staff, now on either annual or sick leave depending on who you believe, confirming Connell had spoken top the Independent earlier that day. There’s also scuttlebutt around that there has been a refusal to hand over cellphone records showing or disproving if a cellphone had been left switched on and transmitting during the caucus meeting.

And finally in the Herald story, he threatens to take a few people with him if he does retire from politics. Later when he realises it was on the record he says he was “musing” not “threatening”.

The Press has a story about Connell no longer living in his electorate. The Press also notes that he has put out no press releases in two years and asked only 14 written parliamentary questions this term (something I and Andrew Falloon highlighted a week or so ago).

NZPA also reports on the threat to bring others down and how the suspension came as a complete surprise. I’m amazed it was such a surprise as I actually raised the issue on TV twelve days ago and it seemed obvious to me by the response that MPs wanted to take some action.

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A guide to the taxpayer funding debate

September 27th, 2006 at 6:37 am by David Farrar

Audrey Young in the NZ Herald has done a great service by providing some clear questions and answers in relation to the debate over the pledge card etc. It cuts through the spin from all sides, and sets out what is known and what is important etc.

I’m especially pleased to see it debunks the myth that the Auditor-General “approved” the 2002 pledge card.

We need more articles like this one. It doesn’t back any side, it provides factual background, with a bit of opinion.

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The fall and fall of Brian Connell

September 27th, 2006 at 6:05 am by David Farrar

Brian’s suspension from Caucus is indeed not just because of what happend in Caucus two weeks ago (as serious as that was), but really does relate to a series of events over the years, which have all been damaging to National.

All MPs make mistakes from time to time which may damage them or the party. But these are measured up against all the good stuff they do. To take a comparison, Simon Power over-reached in a defence speech a couple of years ago and seemed to commit National to following our allies without question. That was untidy and Simon got pinged for it publicly and privately.

Simon didn’t sulk though as he was moved into the Chief Whip’s role and by all accounts worked incredibly diligently and sucessfully at that (and it is a crucial role) and then since the election as law & order spokesperson has been highly effective at exposing the problems in Corrections and other areas. Hence the defence speech is now history and Simon is again seen as a top contributor to National as he is scoring blows against Labour on almost a daily basis.

This is the contrast to Brian. Most MPs would struggle to name any runs he has scored for the team. And when you not only are not scoring any runs, but getting your team mates run out all the time, it is inevitable they move to drop you from the team.

The run-outs, so to speak include:

* Controversy over candidate selection CV
* Declaring he was Prime Ministerial material before he even was an MP
* Joking he hated cats so much he threw one into a fireplace
* Criticising publicly then Deputy Leader Nick Smith
* Use of extravagent language in opposing Civil Unions Bill, which caused even fellow opponents to cringe
* Publicly calling the Leader stupid over the Katherince Rich sacking
* Contradicting the Leader over the forestry policy during the election campaign
* Publicly attacking Murray McCully
* Calling Dr Brash unfit to lead if he had had an affair
* Suggesting his party membership was of little value to him

It’s the combination of the above which made yesterday almost inevitable. It’s quite sad because on a personal level I’ve always found Brian Connell to be very pleasant, and I have a great fondness for the Rakaia electorate having worked for its former MP. But at the end of the day when you are causing more harm to your own team than the opposite team, a halt has to be called to it – and it has been.

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Doh!

September 27th, 2006 at 5:17 am by David Farrar

Heh. Arrived early for a meeting so sitting in guest lounge enjoying the view and checking out some websites on the Blackberry. Think to myself “Wow, never had the speed so fast” and then realise I am of course in Vodafone’s Head Office which probably explains the good connectivity and speed!

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Connell suspended

September 26th, 2006 at 12:18 pm by David Farrar

The National Party caucus has decided to suspend Brian Connell.

Leader Don Brash says the suspension is the result of Mr Connell’s behaviour stretching back over the past few years.

The party board decided last week that Mr Connell had again failed to show the restraint and discipline expected of a caucus member and decided it no longer had any confidence in the Rakaia MP.

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Auckland all week

September 26th, 2006 at 11:09 am by David Farrar

I’m flying to Auckland early this pm and up there until Friday. For once I’ve actually got some spare time while up there so hope to catch up with a few people on Wednesday especially.

For someone who has vowed to never live in Auckland, I’d hate to add up how many days a year I actually spend up there!

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Presley out?

September 26th, 2006 at 10:58 am by David Farrar

I’ve just heard that a massive split is happening at Callplus/Slingshot with Malcolm Dick (Annette Presley’s former partner) announcing Presley is departing her executive role at Slingshot, but Presley is reported to be denying that, claiming no knowledge of her own departure.

Sounds very badly handled, no matter who wins.

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Culture & Immigration

September 26th, 2006 at 10:38 am by David Farrar

Thomas Lifson states:

It is quite insulting and patronizing to immigrate to a country and expect it to adapt to the very things one left behind. This is the behavior of a conqueror, not an immigrant.

By definition, an immigrant asks for the privilege of being allowed to live in a country not his or her own. Immigrants have no right to demand change. No more than I have a right to barge into your house and demand you rearrange the furniture, knock out the wall between the kitchen and family room, and paint the parlor walls a different color.

An immigrant stipulates that the country to which he or she goes has a superior system. Without such an attraction, why else leave behind family, friends, and the attachments of sentiment?

Do you agree or disagree and why?

Hat Tip: Tim Blair

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A critical analysis

September 26th, 2006 at 7:42 am by David Farrar

On the 7th of September Rodney called the submission by Bronwyn Howell on the Telecommunications Amendment Bill as the finest submission he has ever seen presented to a select committee, and said those arguing for the confiscation of property rights need to respond to Howell’s work if they are to have any intellectual credibility.

Well the challenge has been taken up, and TUANZ and InternetNZ commissioned reviews of the submission by two expert economists. Dr John Small, of Covec is the former head of economics at Auckland University and is an expert in competition and regulatory economics. Dr Tommaso Valletti, is a professor of economics at Rome University and Imperial College, London, and until recently teaching at the London School of Economics. He is an expert in the economics of telecommunications and an advisor to Ofcom, the UK telecomms regulator, the OECD, the EU and the World Bank.

One can read the reports of Dr Small and Dr Valletti online. Here are some extracts starting with Dr Small:

Howell is clearly energetic and passionate about the subject. It may be that these admirable qualities are the root cause of the serious weaknesses in the paper. It is otherwise difficult to understand how she came to blatantly misrepresent the work of others, make statements that would not pass muster in a first year economics course, suggest that her own exceptionally weak empirical work is evidence of anything meaningful, and appear ignorant of her logical errors.

Dr Small concludes: “If I was reviewing it for an academic journal, I would recommend it be rejected.”

Dr Valletti summarises his report with:

It is shown that the literature reviewed in the Submission is very selective and far from being accepted within academia. Some of the results quoted are very controversial.

He also makes the point that many of the studies Howell relies on have not been published
in leading academic journals. This means they have not been vetted by the academic community and by referees.

It is important to note that both reviewers are only commenting on the quality of the Howell submission. They are not saying that there are not grounds on which you could criticise or critique the Government’s stocktake research, and are not necessarily advocating in favour of the Govt’s package – that was outside their remit. What they are saying is that the Howell paper is not something great reliance can be placed on,

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