Archive for November, 2007

Bail hearing for Mallard

November 30th, 2007 at 7:52 am by David Farrar

My views on Trevor Mallard’s behaviour are well known but I think it is preposterous, and the private prosecution starts to look considerably vindictive, when bail is oppossed.

I previously blogged that I didn’t support the private prosecution, and this just reaffirms my concerns.

It is obvious to everyone that in no way does Mallard (even if guilty of assault) not qualify for bail.  There is a 0.0000000001% chance he will not get bail. It is being done just to humiliate him by forcing him to argue why he is not a flight risk/risk to the community etc. Now some may say – sure but that’s a good thing.  My response is – not by abusing the court and judicial process.

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A wretched failure

November 30th, 2007 at 7:40 am by David Farrar

The Dominion Post calls a spade a spade when it comes to the Electoral Finance Bill:

By any measure, the Electoral Finance Bill is an abject failure, The Dominion Post writes.

It fails to promote participation in parliamentary democracy – one of its lofty ideals; fails to achieve what the prime minister set out to do – end anonymous political donations – and fails to meet any competent law-drafting test.

As the Law Society says, it is so defective and incoherent as to be irredeemable and should be withdrawn. The Government has instead tried to revise it.

National’s deputy leader, Bill English, has damningly dissected the bill’s worst flaws, so irritating Justice Minister Annette King – now in charge of the bill – that she says the law of common sense will apply. No one can find a copy of that.

The bill is still so muddled that Electoral Commission chief Helena Catt has felt compelled to issue a coded admonition to her political bosses, saying she does not intend interpreting the “law of common sense”. Hers was truly a warning shot.

There are political reasons for Labour to push ahead with the bill; confusion suits the prime minister. The absence of countervailing debate will make it so much easier for Labour to get its message across next year, bolstered by taxpayer-funded departmental advertising for KiwiSaver, Working for Families and sustainability, whatever that means.

Had the Government the country’s electoral health at heart, it would take the Law Society’s advice and start again. It might then, for example, remember that, in democracies, elections are not for the parties that contest them but for the people who choose which among them will lead the Government. It would also consult all political parties – not just those in Parliament – because all voters have a stake in elections.

At election time in real democracies – New Zealand used to be one – ordinary voters, as well as lobby groups, can participate through public meetings, advertising, marches and, in this technological age, the blogosphere. No longer. National has promised to repeal the bill. If it really wants to give Labour and its acolytes pause for thought, it should back off and let them stew in their own juice.

I would blog all the editorials in favour of the Electoral Finance Bill, but I can’t find them.

Actually one has to give the media a lot of credit for opposing this bill – because it is against their own interests.  If you restrict the ability of parties, candidates and the public to communicate their views to the public, then the media become far far more powerful.  The media almost become the sole arbiters of what messages they agree with and publicise to the public.

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Moreu on Key DVD

November 30th, 2007 at 7:27 am by David Farrar

moreu.JPG

Heh Moreu is in fine form.

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Labour too right wing

November 30th, 2007 at 7:23 am by David Farrar

Jordan Carter has been enjoying European socialism too much, he wants more of it here:

My colleagues in the Labour Party sometimes are a little bit baffled when I express frustration about how “right wing” our party is. It is a disconcerting thought that what was a “third way” fifty years ago is now seen by many as hard left.

Well my guess is because every country with a hard core socialist policy agenda has pretty much failed spectacularly.  But hey I’m all for Jordan encouraging Labour to pursue the policies of the 1950s.

I do not accept that current Labour politics – in the UK, or in New Zealand, or in Australia or anywhere else – gives enough substance to this drive to equality. It can only be achieved with strong public services, carefully regulated labour markets, generous welfare states and the substantive promotion of political, social, economic and cultural rights. This is not where left wing politics is these days. It is far out on the right wing edge of it.

I may be wrong but when Jordan talks about economic rights, I suspect he is not talking about for example defending people”s economic and property rights – but instead legislating to over-turn the rights of individuals in the economy.

The next challenge is going to be in the next election, showing how we are planning to build on our success to date to begin to move down the agenda of building a more equal society.

Well good on Jordan for posting the challenge, even though of course I disagree – but I’m not his target audience.  He is basically saying that Labour has done well managing the economy for eight years and he wants more spending to create an “equal society” to overcome the morally arbitrary luck that gives some people more talent.

Of course Helen is now promising tax cuts – so I’m not sure how that fits in.

And it would be nice if commenters in the thread focus on the policy and political debate, rather than personalities.

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Evenings in Auckland

November 30th, 2007 at 6:53 am by David Farrar

Has been a fun three nights in Auckland.

Caught up with Cr Bhatnagar and Coast to Coast Girl on Tuesday evening – tapas and wine at The Banque.   Highly recommended – lovely old fireplaces, superb food and great service.

During the day Wednesday it was obvious I had a cold, so the plan was to have an early night.  But I also had two invites that I couldn’t say no to.

First I had the invite for the launch in NZ by Vodafone of the new Blackberry Curve.  This was at the Gus Fisher Gallery and was a very classy event.  Hollie Smith did a live performance, the multimedia art display was fascinating and yes as Russell noted, I did enjoy a Blackberry Cocktail. It helped the cold considerably :-)

Vodafone put on a very good event.  One of the organisers used to work for Pead PR, so I delighted in telling her about the Eating Media Lunch episode last week which featured Deborah Pead.

Best of all was the “Goody Bag”.  And the No 1 goody was a Blackberry Curve.   I have been proudly showing mine off all day yesterday.  It’s a lot lighter than the old Blackberries of the same size, and has camera, video player, GPS and mapping.  And best of all, I just take the sim card out of my old phone, stick it in and hey presto it works.

I have become even more of a menace to my friends with the camera function.  And it’s all so easy to use.   The goody bag also had other cool stuff like a small bottle of 42 below vodka, some Versace for men (I presume the girls got something different), Phoenix organic juice etc.

I left Gus Fisher gallery a bit after 9 pm and rang Ben at the Agenda (TV One) Xmas Party. He had said it would probably be over by 8.30 pm but as it happened a few people were still there so I headed over to the Westhaven Marina.  As I was driving I mainly had non alcoholic, but still a very convivial evening and then at some stage after 10.30 pm someone suggested dinner.  A very good idea.

I gave Richard Long and Barry Soper a lift into Ponsonby as we were going to Prego. Barry thought I was a taxi and was trying to convince Trevor Mallard to come with us.  The thought of being Trevor’s driver amused me greatly, but sadly Trevor had to head off with his partner.

At Prego, our host Mr Harman was also there, plus the effusive Chris Trotter – around a dozen all up.  Chris and I actually agreed on a couple of things, which is either very good or very bad – I can never recall.  Eventually headed home a bit after midnight.

Thursday also was a lot of fun.  Was meant to be a low key night – a quick meal with a friend, but we eventually ended up with five of us having initial drinks in the hotel bar, and then going to Wildfire for dinner around 9 pm.  We chose Wildfire as Coast to Coast Girl has been a vegetarian for the last 15 years and has just given it up. For those who don’t know – the restaurant specialises in a massive meat barbecue – they bring spits around to your table and carve off as much as you want.

The food was good but the service somewhat variable.  But was a good night out and again it was close to midnight when we finished.  Luckily this time I had the strength of will to say no to karaoke and got home while it was still Thursday.

End result has been a bloody good three days, but a cold that has (not surprisingly) got worse.  I think I may need some drugs when I get back to Wellington.

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Dim-Post on Burton Parole

November 29th, 2007 at 4:58 pm by David Farrar

The satirical Dim-Post comments are too good to leave off the front page, so here’s his latest:

Burton Given Parole on Basis of his Own Diagnosis

Dim-Post Tuesday 27 November

Documents supplied to the Dim-Post by sources within the Corrections Department sources show that paroled murderer Graeme Burton was released on the basis of a psychiatric form that he himself filled out.

The one page report used by the parole board to asses the suitability of Burton’s release contains two sections; the first to be filled out by the prisoner and the second to be written by a qualified psychiatrist.

On the form obtained by the Dim-Post the prisoner name is that of Graeme Burton and the Psychiatrists name is ‘Doctor Dum Faggot.’ However the style of handwriting on both sections is identical.

The Corrections Department have no record of Dr Faggot on their staff.

The Psychological Evaluation section that the parole board cited in their decision to release Burton does not contain a clinical analysis and instead consists of the single sentence: ‘Graeme is totalee [sic] cool let him out now scum.’

Under Examiners Diagnosis and Conclusions is a sketch of a large penis and the words ‘let him out or u will die’ repeated over a dozen times.

A large drawing at the bottom of the page in a section labeled Medication, Treatment and Additional Clinical Comments depicts a naked woman nailed to a crucifix with knives poking into her eyes, breasts and genital area.

Corrections Department Director Barry Matthews told the Dim-Post that he considers the form to be a vindication of his department and the parole board.

‘The lower half of the document was filled in by Burton in a ‘breathtaking breach of procedure,’ Matthews said.

‘The bottom of the form is clearly marked examiners use only,’ Matthews said. ‘It is to be filled out by the psychiatrist and not the prisoner. How can we anticipate that kind of dishonesty?’

”We evaluate parole decisions on the advice of highly trained experts,’ Matthews said. ‘Mr Burton has no formal clinical training and was not qualified to diagnose himself as ready to be released into the community.’

Corrections Minister Matt Robson announced that the Department will be implementing an IT based solution to prevent this problem from reoccurring.

‘An optical character recognition device will ensure that the two people filling out the form are different people,’ Robson said. ‘This will put an end to deadly mistakes made by my department once and for all.’

The solution has been priced at one hundred and fifty million dollars and will be rolled out to New Zealand prisons over the next eight years.

Keep them coming, Dim.

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Nelson wins 45 to 42

November 29th, 2007 at 4:04 pm by David Farrar

Brendan Nelson has defeated Malcolm Turnbull 45 – 42 for the Liberal Party leadership. Julie Bishop is Deputy,

Nelson should make Turnbull Shadow Treasurer.  That would be a fairly good team.  Still can’t see them being able to win in 2010 but events as always may influence that.

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Digital Future Summit Update

November 29th, 2007 at 3:20 pm by David Farrar

Has been an interesting day and a half so far at the Digital Future Summit.

David Cunliffe gave an excellent speech to the Summit – most agree it was a highlight. It was good on both presentation and content.

For the first time the Government said the future is fibre to the home. Yay. He also spoke of being interested in alternative ideas for meeting the country’s investment requirements, which is promising. He advocated two targets for fibre to the node:

  1. Towns with greater than 10,000 residents (representing approximately 76% of telephone lines) will have access to broadband at speeds of at least 20Mbps
  2. 90% of New Zealand’s lines will have access to broadband at speeds of at least 10 mbps

Cunliffe also touched on the issue of the high prices of international bandwidth, and the need for more overseas pipes.

Russell Brown also thought it was a good speech, and he interviewed me for Public Address Radio on the Summit.

Some other points made by speakers:

  • It used to be anti social for a kid to be in their room alone, now it is considered anti social to be away from your computer for too long
  • The “word of mouse” is replacing the “word of mouth”
  • David Skilling made the point that while many reasons for increased broadband are social, there is also a strong economic argument for NZ to have better broadband or keep losing people off shore.
  • Maurice Williamson had an excellent suggestion that all government agencies should be directed to make land and resources available for fibre and to facilitate consent. Transit should be required to place pipes with roads. Maybe make compulsory for new subdivisions fibre to the home, along with sewerage, power and phone.
  • Someone said that having fibre to the node, instead of to the home, is like having a motorway to your suburb and then a dirt track to your house 3 kms away. And Telecom’s plan is only to reduce the dirt track to 2 kms – is that much to cheer about?
  • A very funny moment as Rod Oram was explaing to an overseas video linkup why so many people in the audience have moustaches this month. His exact words were “Men, well mostly men, grow moustaches s for November”
  • Sam Morgan was very good, and divided people into those born before 1967 and after 1967.  I was born in 1967 but identified with the after 67 crowd as he described them as those who use Wikipedia, Bit Torrent, Technorati and Facebook rather than pre 67s who use Amazon, Stuff and the Herald.
  • Andy Lark spoke about how 1 in 8 US adults getting married met online, and how Myspace by population is the 11th largest country in the world.

Pete Hodgson also spoke yesterday, and he was absolutely terrible.  He shuffled everywhere and was not particularly coherent.  Most people thought he might be sick. Seriously he was that bad.

Cullen spoke this morning.  I missed that as I’m sick myself (have a cold) so was late getting here.  But people said he did well as expected, filling in for Helen.

The best Minister today was Trevor Mallard.  Trevor spoke on broadcasting and especially digital broadcasting and knew his stuff quite well.  He also used humor very effectively referring to his front bench demotion.  Mallard also announced that TVNZ will stop analog broadcasts in either 2012 or when 75% of viewers have gone digital.

Bernard Hickey from Fairfax gave an excellent presentation on how Fairfax is coping in the digital age.  I’ll actually do a separate post on it, once I can get hold of a copy of the presentation.

The only real downside was this morning when they tried to do some sort of consultation process, by way of people at each table voting on answers to some questions on ICT.  But it was a fiasco as an obviously transparent attempt to claim consultation has been done on the outcomes.  Imagine 400 very intelligent peeved off people using the online feedback channels to exclaim that they reject the premise of the questions let alone the five multi-choice answers which were all wrong.  True consultation is not a multi-choice response to some pre-selected questions.

Overall has been very worthwhile so far, and it’s good to be able to attend.  The quality of speakers has generally been first class.

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Refugee Numbers

November 29th, 2007 at 1:11 pm by David Farrar

No Right Turn compares our refugee numbers with Australia and finds that they take in far more per capita than NZ.  He says that the Immigration Service is in denial with their claim NZ has a high refugee rate per capita.

I wondered who was correct, so I went to the UNHCR website and pulled out the latest stats on actual refugees over the last year for each country, and compared it to their population.  I pulled out the main European countries.

refugees.JPG

This does show us towards the bottom end.  Now one has to be aware of certain factors in each country.  For example Germany does not take many legal refugees but has millions of illegal immigrants or economic refugees, so they probably feel they more than do their bit.

I generally support an increase in our refugee quota, but with a couple of disclaimers:

  1. We need to remain vigilant against fake refugees, bogus asylym seekers etc.  These queue jumpers take the places of genuine refugees who have been judged by UNHCR as needing refuge.
  2. We should use some common sense in accepting refugees, who are most likely to do well in NZ.
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$100 bribe if out in six hours after birth

November 29th, 2007 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Capital Coast Health is now giving mothers $100 if they leave the hospital within six hours of giving birth.

Why stop there.  How about $250 if they are out within one hour?  Even better $500 if they don’t even come into the hospital.

Or they could even make it a competition.  Have a daily pool of $2,000 and the first patient to discharge themselves gets 50%, the next one get 50% of the remainder and so on.

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Graeme Burton

November 29th, 2007 at 10:54 am by David Farrar

The coroner’s hearing into Graeme Burton’s murder of Karl Kuchenbecker has made it very clear how flawed the parole system is.

Burton was the last person in the world who should have been paroled.  He terrorised prisoners and guards, and was commonly regarded as a psychopath.  So why was he released?

Because his psychopathy rating was downgraded from “very high” to “high”.  So fine to let them out when they are only a high level psychopath as oppossed to very high.

How’s this for a better system?  Only let them out early if their psychopathy score is low or preferably very low.

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Youth Organised and United

November 29th, 2007 at 10:44 am by David Farrar

A youth lobby group has been set up.  I’m always a big advocate of young people getting involved in politics, regardless of what side they are on.

Youth Organised and United’ is a new political lobby group; aimed at getting young people’s voices heard by society’s decision-makers.

A group of representatives will visit Wellington on the 5th and 6th of December to meet with parliamentarians responsible for youth portfolios, ministers with a youth overview and representatives of other youth organisations.

We want to empower young people to get their voices heard. To do this, we see it as imperative that young people are, in equal measure, united and organized.

YOU is a national organization with youth active in every region listening to the views and opinions of a wide spectrum of youth. These views can then be discussed nationally and action can be taken.

They have a blog also.

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Facebook Politics

November 29th, 2007 at 10:38 am by David Farrar

One of the applications in Facebook is NZ Politics. You can choose a party you support, and then see who all your friends support.  You get to choose whether or not your support is made public.

I have 4 friends supporting the Greens, 7 supporting ACT, 12 supporting Labour and 24 supporting National. A total of 363 votes have been cast.  Would be good to have others take the test.

Also a good Facebook app for political types is the Political Compass.  It asks you question and places you on both an economic right vs left axis but also a social issues authoritarian.

59 of my friends have done the compass test.  Only two of them are more right wing on the economic front (damn you Bishop! :-)).  On social issue around 24 people are more sociallly liberal than me, and 35 more socially conservative.

13 people are economically right and socially conservative.  20 are economically left and socially liberal.  26 are economically right and socially liberal, while only one is economically left and socially conservative.

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Abbott out

November 29th, 2007 at 10:33 am by David Farrar

Tony Abbott has dropped out of the competition for Liberal Party Leader.  It is now Malcolm Turnbull vs Brendan Nelson.  Nelson is well thought of, but Turnbull would be my pick.

Deputy should go to Julie Bishop.

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Electoral Finance Bill Speech

November 29th, 2007 at 9:53 am by David Farrar

Paul Walker has a copy of the speech given to the Christchurch march against the Electoral Finance Bill, by Eric Crampton.

It takes a lot to drag an academic economist out of his office to a political rally downtown. If this were simply a protest over bad legislation, I’d have stayed in Ilam: bad legislation, unfortunately, isn’t all that uncommon.

And, this is very bad legislation – so bad that, even after amendment,the New Zealand Law Society wants it scrapped. This is amazing. When law is badly drafted, it’s the lawyers that profit by the resulting court battles. Lawyers from Chapman Tripp warn that the courts may well decide the next election – they expect court action. Legislation has to be shockingly bad before we’d expect lawyers to say it should be scrapped entirely, but that’s what they’ve done.

Even worse, the legislation seems pointless.

The best social science evidence shows that donations to political parties don’t buy the donor a whole lot in terms of changes in policy. And, when sitting politicians spend money on election campaigns, the spending doesn’t have a very big effect on vote share. Spending can matter a lot for challengers, who have to work very hard to get their names known. But, spending doesn’t matter much for incumbent politicians.

Further tightening up of campaign spending rules, and especially changes like the ones now proposed that allow political parties to use Parliamentary budgets for electioneering, protect sitting MPs against challenges by newcomers. It’s an incumbent protection racket plain and simple. New parties and new ideas will be frozen out, and the same old hacks are guaranteed job security.

As bad as all of that is, it’s not the main reason I’m here.

This isn’t just bad law. It’s a bad law that affects how we make laws, and threatens the legitimacy of government itself. Constitutional rules stand apart from other bits of legislation. They affect fundamental rights and freedoms, and they set out how all the other rules will be written. The Electoral Finance Bill directly affects our freedom of speech. Once it’s passed, we’ll only have freedom of speech 2 years in 3. And, it sets out the rules for how an election is conducted – how legislation for the subsequent three years will be formed. These have constitutional implications.

Constitutional rules aren’t like other rules. They really require broad agreement across society. I studied under James Buchanan, who won the Nobel Prize in economics for his work in this area. He likened it to setting out the rules for a poker game: you get everybody to agree to the rules before you deal the cards. If everybody’s agreed to the rules before the cards are dealt, the outcome of the game is fair and legitimate. What Labour and its support parties here have done is dealt the cards, taken a peek at their hands, and then declared deuces wild. This violates constitutional justice and threatens the legitimacy of any government that is elected under the new rules.

Electoral rules – constitutional rules – require broad agreement if the government that’s formed under them is to have legitimacy. We’re here today to say that we don’t give that assent. If Labour rams this bill through Parliament, shuts up anyone who opposes it during the 2008 election, then squeeks through a tight coalition win after a lot of litigation, will that government have any legitimacy?

That’s why this Bill must be stopped and that’s why I’m here. The Bill violates the spirit of our constitutional foundations. It throws freedom of speech out the window. And it rigs the election to protect the politicians who pass it. Helen Clark, Annette King, throw out this Bill!

A great speech Eric – especially for an economist :-)

The NZ Herald has a story on the march – very powerful symbolism when people read about a war veteran marching, and his comments.

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Charles Ashe MP

November 29th, 2007 at 9:48 am by David Farrar

Just been informed that one of the more obscure List MPs, a Mr Charles Ashe, now has his own website. He has set up a video diary of his campaign to win a constituency seat. The first episode is below.

Those on Facebook can also interact with Charles through his facebook page.

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From larrikin to bully

November 28th, 2007 at 2:55 pm by David Farrar

The Dominion Post calls out Trevor Mallard over his vicious attack on Erin Leigh.  Mallard has got off far too lightly over his actions, so it is good to see an editorial highlighting the issue:

If nothing else, Environment Minister Trevor Mallard’s savage attack on the former government contractor who alleged political interference within his ministry has shown one thing. Mr Mallard’s contrition over his assault on National MP Tau Henare was not genuine, The Dominion Post writes.

If it was, he would not have lashed out so violently against a political non-combatant a few weeks later.

I think it is obvious Mallard has an anger problem. And I think his entire contrition line was an act – confirmed by Clark giving him far more senior portfolios.

True, the assault on Mr Henare was physical. He was punched on the jaw. Erin Leigh, the public relations consultant who resigned her job after a Labour Party activist was hired to rewrite her work, was subject only to a verbal assault.

But the verbal assault is likely to have longer-lasting consequences than the punch. It was nothing more nor less than a calculated attempt to damage Ms Leigh’s future earning power by destroying her professional reputation.

Yes. And it was a warning to all other public servants – this is what you will get if you speak out.

If the Madeleine Setchell affair is anything to go by, the less courageous of the public service’s bosses will have already drawn a mental black line through her name. But the reverberations go wider than that. Private sector employers will also think twice about hiring a woman a senior government minister says had “repeated competence issues”.

Think how much she could win in damages if he said it outside the House, and she successfully sued.  This smear was covered in almost every media outlet in NZ.

It may be that Mr Mallard is right. It may be that Ms Leigh was so incompetent she had to be asked to fix the same piece of work six times.

But the comments of her former boss, Neal Cave, who has said she was “the best comms person I’ve ever worked with”, and of former ministry chief executive Barry Carbon, who has said he had no problem with her work, suggest otherwise.

And good references from three other Ministers, don’t forget.

So does Ms Leigh’s contention – yet to be denied – that it was Prime Minister Helen Clark’s chief of staff Heather Simpson who kept ordering alterations to a draft communications strategy. Put those things together and the suspicion must be that Ms Leigh’s true failing was not one of competence but a refusal to churn out Labour Party propaganda while employed by a government department.

The lack of denial has spoken volumes.

… in the meantime, Mr Mallard should accept Ms Leigh’s challenge to repeat outside Parliament the comments he made inside it about her.If he was right, he has nothing to fear. If he was wrong, Labour’s tough guy should not try to hide behind Parliament’s skirts.

Any bets on whether Trevor will do the right thing and repeat them outside?

It is one thing to make war on political opponents. It is another to use parliamentary privilege to trample over non-combatants.

Indeed.  It exists to allow MPs to reveal wrong doing by powerful interests. It isn’t meant to be used to destroy the professional reputation of someone who reveals misconduct in Government.

Mr Mallard is a capable minister who for a long time enjoyed grudging respect from all sides of the House as a fierce opponent.

But he is in grave danger of being remembered not as the likeable larrikin he once was but as an unpleasant bully. He should think again about the way he is conducting himself. And Miss Clark should find him a different anger management course. The one he’s on is clearly not working.

Knowing Clark, she’ll give him even more powerful portfolios as a reward.  Sure she’ll tut tut about it afterwards – but Mallard has achieved what he set out to do – fire a warning shot to scare off any other former public servants from speaking out.

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General Debate 28 November 2007

November 28th, 2007 at 2:38 pm by David Farrar

The Banque in Auckland is a damn nice bar and restaurant.

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Williams on Tamihere

November 28th, 2007 at 12:36 pm by David Farrar

NZPA has a number of stories about a rumour that John Tamihere might stand for National. I’ll return to the substance in a second, but look at this quote about how badly Mike Williams hates Tamihere:

“I said I would only vote for John Tamihere if the only alternative was Osama Bin Laden.”

I think Tamihere would make a effective colourful Mayor for Waitakere.  But I think his utterances in the past on various topics makes him too risky for National.

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OIA on Curran’s work

November 28th, 2007 at 12:04 pm by David Farrar

Readers will know the story by now of how Claire Curran was hired by the Environment Ministry after David Parker “recommended” her. She had previously been declined.

Now a member of the public has filed a request to the Ministry of the Environment for all information on all work carried out by Clare Curran while employed at, or contacted to, the Ministry for the Environment”.

And the reply from the Environment Ministry CEO Hugh Logan is revealing. He is transferring the request to Trevor Mallard because:

“The information to which your request relates is more closely connected with the functions of a Minister of the Crown”

So pretty much confirms that she was working for the Minister’s private political agenda (as Erin Leigh said), rather than the Ministry, despite them (the taxpayer) paying the $29,000 bill.

Will Trevor release the info before the House rises?  I doubt it.  My pick will be Xmas Eve.

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Electoral Finance Bill marches

November 28th, 2007 at 11:31 am by David Farrar

A reminder that today’s march in Christchurch starts at 1 pm from Victoria Square going to Cathedral Square.

And as the PM scoffed at “only” 2,000 marching in Auckland, another march down Queen Street is on for this Saturday, gathering at 2 pm for a 2.30 pm march.

The advertisement for the marchin today’s Herald is thumbnailed below – click on it for the full ad.

efb-ad.JPG

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Sound familiar?

November 28th, 2007 at 8:53 am by David Farrar

The NY Times reports:

Garry Kasparov, the former chess champion and opposition leader, was arrested Saturday and sentenced to five days in jail after trying to lead a march to the offices of the federal election authorities.

Wow, I didn’t know Russia already had an Electoral Finance Act. Kasparov must have forgotten to put his name and address on his placard.

Hat Tip: Whale Oil

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Inconsistent Sanctions

November 28th, 2007 at 7:29 am by David Farrar

One can only agree with the NZ Herald that Fiji sanctions regime is being handled inconsistently.

It was at that point the ban began to sound very arbitrary; if it suits the Government to grant an exemption it will. And not just to people distantly connected with the military. Mr Sukanaivalu is a minister of the illegitimate regime. The only discernible “value to New Zealand” in his admission for the education gathering is that it teaches us a little more about our fraying sanctions.

It is a lesson also in the arrogance of power. By what principle can the Government argue that an ordinary gathering of ministers is more important to this country than a sporting event such as the chance to host a soccer World Cup qualifying match? It behoves those who intrude on others’ activities to make sure they apply the same rules to themselves.

Fiji seems not to be suffering much from this ban, nor is the New Zealand Government. It seems to apply only to the not-so-well-connected.

Most sanctions are a farce.  Both sides know they will be dropped eventually, and that they are designed to placate people, rather than actually be effective pressure on a regime to change.

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Auckland vs NZ

November 28th, 2007 at 7:10 am by David Farrar

I’ll cover the full Herald Digipoll in my normal monthly summary, along with other polls this month.  But I did want to explore the gaps in sentiment between Auckland and the rest of NZ.

In terms of party vote, the National to Labour gap is a massive 22% in Auckland while a “mere” 9% elsewhere.

Also the Greens are at 4.7% outside Auckland but only 0.9% in Auckland.

In fact if one looks at voting blocs, you have:

Centre-Right: 57.0% Auckland vs 49.7%  rest of NZ
Centre: 7.0% vs 4.7%
Centre-Left: 34.3% vs 45.3%

So the CR to CL gap is 23% in Auckland and 4% in the rest of NZ.

If Labour and Greens can regain ground in Auckland, the election is competitive. If they can not, then it is hard to see how one can win with support in Auckland so low.

So expect to see a lot more focus on Auckland I predict.

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Key DVD Review

November 28th, 2007 at 6:10 am by David Farrar

John Key’s DVD (paid for by the party not the taxpayer) gets a mixed review by John Armstrong. People can watch it for themselves and do their own reviews. It’s already been viewed over 2,000 times on You Tube which a lot more than most NZ political videos.

UPDATE: Is in the top ranks of most viewed news and politics.

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