Archive for June, 2008

Paris

June 30th, 2008 at 3:54 pm by David Farrar

After the UK leg of our trip, we had six days in Paris – partly to attend an International Democratic Union conference, and partly for holiday.

This is the view from the hotel we were at the first night. Pretty damn good. Mind you the rooms cost more than the GDP of a few third world countries.

Converting prices in Europe back to NZ dollars is damn depressing and eventually I just gave up, and abandoned any idea of fiscal restraint. I don’t mean buying unnecessary things, but not fretting that a small bottle of coke is NZ$8. In the end can’t do anything about the fact that high inflation in the 1970s and 1980s devalued our dollar so much that our purchasing power today is reduced.

Ginga Ninja, German Girl and The Stig out enjoying the nightlife. We ate and drank outside every night – beautifully warm, sunny and light. There are thousands of places to choose from also. The six days there went all too quickly and will be returning.

I didn’t realise the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris was actually on an island in the Seine.

Students performing outside the Notre Dame Cathedral.

The Arc de Triomphe at Place General De Gaulle.

The Eiffel Tower. Superb.

Around 11 pm the Eiffel Tower lights up magnificently. It serves as a beacon for thousands of Parisian youths to party in the park next to it.

Tags: ,

How to recover?

June 29th, 2008 at 7:18 pm by David Farrar

Keith Ng looks at how Labour can recover from four post-budget polls which has them 20% to 25% behind National.

It’s a label that Labour can’t seem to shake off, but that’s because nobody knows what Labour really stands for, says Dr Jon Johansson, a leadership expert at Victoria University. “The real weakness of Clark is that there is no over-arching explanation as to what the purpose of her government is. We’ve seen this right through the three terms.

“It never mattered for the first two terms, when National was in disarray,” says Johansson. “One year it’s economic transformation, then it’s environmental sustainability. In the absence of some over-arching narrative about purpose, people end up thinking, ‘Well, all these people want is to stay in power’. Clark has always abhorred rhetoric, and now she’s paying the price for that.”

It is true that Labour has almost swapped goals every few months, and with none of them really being achieved. If National gains office and wants to retain office it is going to have to have a couple of simple goals which it can measure progress against at every election.

Johansson thinks that Clark needs to explain the purpose of her government, and in particular, front up over its most unpopular positions: the Electoral Finance Act and why it took so long to give tax cuts.

I think it is too late on both those fronts. The basic truth is the motives behind the EFA were a crude attempt to fuck over National and critics of the Government, and help gain a permament grasp on power.

The tax cuts issues may once have been redeemable for them, but they mishandled the Budget even though it did deliver tax cuts. Instead of the public seeing a Government talking about how pleased they were to let peopel keep more of their own money, they just saw a gloating Dr Cullen boast about how he had prevented National from offering bigger tax cuts.

Tags: , ,

Missing the difference

June 28th, 2008 at 7:54 pm by David Farrar

The ultimate nanny state bill is being pushed through Parliament, having survived select committee. And the Greens say:

The Green Party said the bill would mean the health minister could issue regulations to reduce the risk associated with non-communicable disease.

“Given that poor diet is the leading cause of preventable illness and disease, it is vital that we take steps to create an environment which encourages healthy eating in New Zealand.”

The party said it was strange that there were virtually unlimited powers to prevent communicable diseases but little to prevent or respond to non-communicable diseases.

The Greens disagreed with part of the bill that allowed people who were not vaccinated to be considered a public health risk.

So the Greens (and Labour) think we need the same state powers for a communicable disease (eg bubonic plague) as we do for primarily self imposed conditions such as obesity.

If this law is passed, and not changed, then I predict it will become more unpopular than the EFA and the anti-smacking law combined. Give the state a few years of telling people what food they are allowed to sell or buy on what days, and you might be able to get the parties responsible for it below 20%.

Tags: , ,

Schapelle Corby

June 28th, 2008 at 7:46 pm by David Farrar

I’ve never had much doubt that Schapelle Corby was guilty and indeed her lawyer has admitted the defence that the baggage handlers must have placed the drugs in the bag was fabricated. Yet so many people fell for it because she is attractive.\

Her entire family seem to be in the drigs trade with her father and two brothers all having convictions.

Tags:

Electoral Commission decisions on EFA complaints

June 28th, 2008 at 6:58 pm by David Farrar

The Electoral Commission has made four decisions on complaints before it. They are:

  1. A determination that some NZ First banners in Tauranga were illegal election advertisements as they had no promoter authorisation statement. In a fit or arrogance, NZ First has not even deemed it worth responding to the Commission, so they have been referred to the Police for prosecution. Winston is ignoring the law he voted for, and believes he is above even responding to questions from the electoral authorities.
  2. A determination that some Green Party posters displayed in Auckland were unauthorised election advertisements but that they were not done by the Green Party itself (and had been modified without permission) so no offence by the Green Party. This does raise the issue of whether any effort will go into identifying who did display the posters because they almost certainly have broken the law.
  3. A determination that National’s “join the conversation” flyer is not an election advertisement as it main purpose is to communicate policy and solicit feedback for policy formulation.
  4. A determination that the Green Party broke the law by listing their financial agent’s work instead of residential address, but not referring to the Police as it is inconsequential.

All four decisions seem pretty sensible to me. The Green offence was relatively inconsequential (so I agree not to refere to Police) but the excuse that the Electoral Commission had not stated which address to use is pretty weak. The EFA could not be clearer that residential addresses are needed and the Greens voted for it.

We have yet to hear what will happen with the late donation returns for NZ First and ACT. NZ First has now twice shown a totally cavalier attitude towards the electoral agencies, as if complying with the law is for lesser mortals.

Tags: , , , ,

London

June 28th, 2008 at 4:11 am by David Farrar

Had three days in London, kindly staying with The Stig. I’ve been there a few times now so didn’t do much tourist stuff – had a hot curry dinner in Brick Lane Saturday night.

Took Ginga Ninja and German Girl through St James Park, and by coincidence it was the changing of the guard just as we got to Buckingham Palace.

Also went to the old Cabinet War Rooms. They’ve now added on a huge amount of material in the Churchill Museum which is connected to it. A must see. It is where WWII was largely won from.

On Monday morning, a House of Commons staffer kindly took the three of us through the Palace of Westminister on a private tour which lasted around two hours. A huge amount of history there.

We enjoyed some sun next to the Thames at Westminster while waiting to listen to Big Ben. Then had a nice lunch in the parliamentary cafe.

Then met up at around 1 pm with top UK blogger Guido Fawkes (Paul Staines). He has a huge impact on politics in the UK, having brought down a Labour Minister and he is now gunning for the Conservative Party Chairman.

We soon moved to the pub, and as Guido blogged under the apt subject line of Totalled, it became a fairly messy afternoon. Guido was excellent company, as were his companions. We carried on drinking until past 5 pm when we then tubed over to Temple station to have drinks with some Kiwis which was also a fun evening – caught up with Nicola R who I hadn’t seen since the 1990s and various bloggers and readers.

Tuesday saw us take the Eurostar to Paris – a pleasant 2.5 hour trip. I was looking forward to seeing the Chunnel, but all three of us fell asleep before we hit it, and didn’t wake up until we got to France!

Tags: , , ,

Silliness on history of NZ Wars

June 27th, 2008 at 8:24 pm by David Farrar

The only way Labour can win is a campaign of denigration against John Key, so they had a go with all guns blazing yesterday over his comments that NZ was formed peacefully.

The NZ Herald compares his comments to Michael Cullen’s and indeed Anand Satyanand and all have said much the same thing. It is indeed one of the things we should be proudest of is that NZ was formed by peaceful treaty not violent conquest.

Of course there were breaches and conflicts later on. NZ behaviour in the 1800s especially was not ideal and this is one of the reasons why five generations on we are trying to do fair settlements of those grievances.

Tags: ,

How Government works

June 27th, 2008 at 8:16 pm by David Farrar

More goodness from the Immigration Service:

However, yesterday, Mr Blake admitted he had not read the report when he first briefed Mr Cosgrove on the issue in December last year so was not aware himself of the wider issues raised by Mr Oughton.

Admittedly Mr Blake was new into hsi job,but really to brief the Minister on a report you had not even read yourself!

Tags: ,

Labour crushed in by-election

June 27th, 2008 at 8:11 pm by David Farrar

Gordon Brown has been Prime Minister of the UK for a year today, and to celebrate his party came 5th in the Henley by-election to replace Boris Johnson.

It was bad enough the previous by-election when a 7,000 majority turned into a 7,000 loss but this is unprecedented. The parties scored:

  1. Conservatives 57.0%
  2. Lib Dems 27.9%
  3. Greens 3.8%
  4. BNP 3.6%
  5. Labour 3.1%
  6. UKIP 2.4%
  7. Monster Raving Loony Party 0.7%

Gordon Brown’s day as PM are numbered when the facsists get more votes than the Government. At least he beat the Monster Raving Loony Party!

David Cameron was at the IDU Conference in Paris yesterday and he really looks and acts Prime Ministerial. He may only be Opposition Leader but to some degree he dominated the meeting despite there being eight actual Prime Ministers there. The UK Prime Ministership may not be the US Presidency, but it is still one of the “big dogs”.

We had a chat about NZ and UK polls (which are quite similiar).  He remarked that he would be a lot happier if his election had to be held by November 2008 rather than May 2010. I have to agree – a three year term might be too short but a five year term is frustratingly long. Mind you I am not sure Gordon Brown will even last to the end of it.

Tags: , ,

Churchill

June 27th, 2008 at 2:13 am by David Farrar

After Stratford-On-Avon we decided to go visit Blenheim Palace – the home of the Dukes of Marlborough and birthplace of Winston Churchill whose grandfather was the 7th Duke of Marlborough.

The Palace is huge and this is just one portion of it. It is well worth visiting for anyone up near Oxford.

Inside they have an amazing collection of artworks – portraits and tapestries on the ground floor, plus lots of Churchill memobilia. You can easily spend an hour just looking around that floor. And in their Library they have the most magnificant collection of vintage books – including what appears to be an original “Wealth of Nations”. I could happily spend years in their library.

Upstairs they have a digital display telling the history of the eleven Dukes of Marlborough which is a bit tacky, but still quite interesting.

Some rather nice fountains out the back.

Their lawns would be ideal for a very aggressive game of Croquet!

This is in the Secret Garden, and you can see why they kept it secret for so long – it is a wonderfully tranquil place – so tranquil, German Girl didn’t even have her eyes open for the photo!

As we drove out of Blenheim Palace we saw a small sign saying St Martin’s Church and the grave of Churchill was to our right. Now there are monuments to Churchill everywhere but I had never heard about where he was buried and was intrigued it was up here not in St Pauls or Westminister Abbey like so many other British heroes. So we set out to find it.

We worked out the church was in Bladon. But how to get to it proved difficult. There was no big flashing signs. Really no signs at all, and no car parks. Eventually I just had to illegally park the car off the side of the main road and we went up a small path to St Martin’s which is a pretty small church – a maximum of 100 worshippers I would say.

And next to the small church with a plain stone over the grave is the final resting place of the man voted the greatest Brit of the last 1,000 years. No list of offices and achievements – just his name and that of his beloved Clemmie.

Other members of the Churchill family buried next to Winston. As I said, it is not at all promoted and there was no one else there when we were there. Was somewhat fitting to see both his birthplace and his burial place in the same day.

Tags: , , ,

General Debate 25 and 26 June 2008

June 25th, 2008 at 8:52 pm by David Farrar
Tags:

Heading North

June 25th, 2008 at 8:31 pm by David Farrar

At the weekend we then headed North out of Portsmouth as fast as possible. First stop was Stonehenge.

Sadly we did not pick the best day to go there. It was Summer Solstice which means several thousand hippies were camped out there, and you couldn’t get as close as normal. Was still good to see them though as was only a minor detour for us.

We then competed with Jeremy Clarkson for enjoying a good motorway and motored in quick time to Stratford-Upon-Avon. This is me in front of the house where William Shakespeare was born.

This is the Avon River which Stratford is upon. It is a lovely town and wish we had more time there.

Had a nice English lunch at the Dirty Duck.

A local church had the final resting place of Shakespeare. It also served well in the Horse game, allowing me to yell out “Bury all the Horses” (don’t ask if you don’t know how the game works) thanks to his grave.

Finally it almost seemed sacrilege to have a Pizza Hut in a 16th century building!

Tags: , , ,

Blog Bits

June 25th, 2008 at 6:45 pm by David Farrar

Gordon Campbell looks at National policies and has many legitimate questions about them. He may or should regret this line though:

In Ryall’s opinion, money isn’t the main issue anymore in health care – its more about the cultivation of fruitful and personally fulfilling caring, on current rations. “Money talks, but it is not the only, or even the prime, motivator.” Lean thinking, Ryall concludes, is bringing nurses at Middlemore hospital back to the bedside, and lean thinking is allowing them to do what they had trained to do. “They’re happier, enjoying work and doing more.” Truly, as the sign used to say over the gateway to Dachau concentration camp, work will make you free.

That goes beyond tacky.

Frog blogs (?in support) of a James Hansen who is trying to prosecute CEOs of large oil companies for “crimes against humanity and nature”. And their crimes:

Undermining public understanding about global warming

Is that not the most scary thing you have read? This mad bastard wants to lock up or execute people (normal punishment for crimes against humanity) because they disagree with him on global warming. There are fanatics and there are eco-fascists.

Frog doesn’t offer a view as to whether the Greens support jailing and execution of climate change sceptics.

Whale Oil is detecting some photoshopping amongst Labour.

No Minister notes the irony hypocrisy in the following sentence:

A spokesman for Foreign Minister Winston Peters, said it was of “grave concern” that Shameem and the military were using what appeared to be hacked private emails.

Truly no shame.

Paul Walker looks at some research on campaign finance reform, and how mostly it benefits incumbents.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Armstrong on Referendum timing

June 25th, 2008 at 6:23 pm by David Farrar

John Armstrong writes:

Unless the Prime Minister is planning to go to the country much earlier than everyone expects, her assertion that it is not possible to hold the anticipated citizens-initiated referendum on the anti-smacking law on election day simply does not stack up.

Helen Clark claims there is not enough time for the referendum to run alongside the general election “just in terms of sheer organisation”.

The real reason, of course, is Labour does not want its election campaign sullied by periodic discussion of the smacking law whose “nanny-state” connotations have proved to be so damaging to her and her party.

Yep.

There are good reasons for holding such plebiscites on election day. They are considerably cheaper than stand-alone ones. There is also likely to be a much higher voter turnout.

So to hide the realpolitik, the Prime Minister cites practical difficulties in organising a referendum.

But if that is the case, then it would be impossible to hold a snap election. In case the Prime Minister has forgotten, the 1984 snap election was called by Sir Robert Muldoon just four weeks before polling day. Somehow, electoral officials coped.

In fact, the law covering citizens-initiated referendums specifically allows Parliament to shift the date of a referendum to the day of a snap election. That suggests there is sufficient time and it is not a problem.

Useful piece of research. Basically saying one can do a referendum in 4 – 6 weeks if really pushed. Well with five months to go until the election, there is oodles of time.

Tags: , , ,

$10 million to be wasted by Helen

June 24th, 2008 at 9:18 pm by David Farrar

It is outrageous that Helen Clark is going to waste $10 million of taxpayer money by scheduling the referendum on the anti-smacking law after the election.

Asked why it could not be held at the same time as the election, which must be held by November 15, she replied: “Just in terms of sheer organisation, I do not think that is possible”.

That is simply nonsense. The election date is around five months away, and the Chief Electoral Office is a very capable operator who can handle the addition of a referendum question. They read the newspapers and would have contingency plans for if the petition succeeds and is held with the election.

Everyone knows that Helen is lying when she says it is not logistically possible. The truth is that politically Helen does not want it at the same time as the election, so she is prepared to waste $10 million in order to advantage herself.

Tags: , ,

Battle of Hastings, Brighton and Portsmouth

June 24th, 2008 at 9:05 pm by David Farrar

After seeing Hastings Fort, we headed North a few miles to Battle, location of Battle Abbey and the field where the Battle of Hastings was fought.

This is the Battle Abbey leading to the field. It was built by William the Conquerer as penance to the Pope for killing so many English. The Pope had approved his mission to claim the Throne, but having 8,000 casualties was unexpectedly high. This is not the original Abbey but we’ll see parts of it later.

This is the field where the battle took place. This is the view from where the English were up the hill. They had the better position but were defeated by superior tactics from the Normans. You do a 40 minute walk around the field with a really interesting audio tour.

Now we see parts of the older Abbey.

Can I just say I love mazes!

This is inside part of the old Abbey. This room was the one where the Monks were allowed to talk.

If people are in the South East of England, I really recommend this as a place to visit.

It was then an hour or so’s drive to Brighton and the famous Brighton Pier. Pretty tacky nowadays but I can see it still being popular with the kids. As you can see it is pretty long.

And a view of the beach and the numerous hotels from the pier.

After Brighton we drove to Portsmouth where we were staying the night. There are no photos from Portsmouth as it is the most boring place we have encountered. Ginga Ninja suggested it made Hamilton seem a fun hip place. I think that was unfair to Hamilton and that a better comparison would be Wanganui or Palmerston North. Yes Portsmouth is the Palmerston North of England – the place that John Cleese described as an ideal place to live if you want to kill yourself but just haven’t been able to summon up the motivation!

The GPS was set to take us to the city centre and we ended up going around the block three times. We then realised it must be because there is no city centre in Portsmouth. It is just a collection of boring buildings and some ships.

We eventually found an Indian restaurant where we had dinner before heading back to the hotel. Even the Hotel was boring!

Originally our plan was to stay in Portsmouth for two nights and maybe visit the Isle of Wight. But we decided unanimously that we would get up as early as possible the next morning and flee to the North.

Despite Portsmouth it was a great day though.

Tags: , , ,

Espiner on Clark

June 23rd, 2008 at 8:46 pm by David Farrar

Colin Espiner analyses the PM’s reaction to the polls:

Prime Minister Helen Clark is refusing to accept the latest round of poll results.

It seems that now not only is Fairfax’s Nielsen poll wrong, but TVNZ’s Colmar Brunton as well, and even the Australian Roy Morgan poll, once a Labour favourite.

I guess it’s nice to be in such esteemed company, given that the three pollsters are probably amongst the biggest in Australasia. It does make me wonder, though. I thought Clark was smarter than to deny the polls. Much better to accept there is a problem and try to deal with it than refuse to accept it is staring one in the face.

This is what the Prime Minister used to do. I remember when Labour fell well behind National during Don Brash’s meteoric rise to popularity after he took over as leader in 2003. Clark quickly realised that Labour’s affirmative action policies for Maori were a major turnoff for voters, and after initially calling Brash a racist she accepted that Labour had got it wrong and changed tack accordingly.

This tacking according to the prevailing wind has always been a hallmark of Clark’s leadership, and it surprises me to find her so becalmed. There really is no point in saying that three major polls are all wrong – much better to study them to find out why the results are so poor for Labour.

Clark’s strategic nous (which I agree used to be very good) seemed to have deserted her in 2006 and this shows it has not returned.

Tags: , ,

Badges

June 23rd, 2008 at 8:30 pm by David Farrar

Bernard Hickey doesn’t want no stinking badges!

This is the guts of the problem that faces public servants on the front line and taxpayers alike. Too much money is being spent centrally on dreaming up fancy ideas for the workers at the coal face to carry out, while the poor people at the coal face don’t have the resources to do some real public service.

Talk to any nurse, teacher, police officer, principal, social worker and there is enormous resentment and anger at how much money is spent by head office dreaming up policy frameworks, policy documents, communications strategies and monitoring regimes. Not nearly enough money is spent actually providing the service.

I’m all for government employing doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers, police officers and road builders. But why so many bureaucrats working out of fancy office buildings writing policy papers and ordering the workers around? Any business would ask the question: Why so much middle management?

Schools seem to getting quite militant with the ever increasing workload being placed on them by the Education Ministry and the Government, when they see stupidity such as this sucking up funds they could do with.

Tags: ,

Happy Birthday Colin

June 23rd, 2008 at 6:58 am by David Farrar

Colin Espiner’s blog was a year old on Friday.

It is required reading for any serious follower of politics.

Tags: ,

Are logos adertisements

June 23rd, 2008 at 6:37 am by David Farrar

Clare Robinson from the Massey University Institute of Communication Design looks at whether political party logos are election advertisements under the Electoral Finance Act. She concludes they are.

Conforming to the first part of the definition, a logo is a symbol that may be constituted out of words and/or graphics. It is the most condensed form of graphic image and contains many layers of meaning communicated through the use of colour, type and line.

A logo is also persuasive, thereby conforming to the second part of the definition of an election advertisement. Persuasion does not have to be a literal or loud call to action.

Claire explains further:

Like commercial logos, political party logos work by repeated exposure and association with people, events and messages that have as their fundamental purpose to attract reinforce, convert and/or mobilise voter behaviour.

The party logo encapsulates the essence of the party. When voters enter the ballot box and are confronted with the party logo on the ballot sheet, they retrieve their feelings about that party and make a choice to give that party their tick – or not, if the feelings are negative.

So what are the implications:

Once it is acknowledged that a party logo is an advertisement, the implications are immense. Every instance of that logo must be accompanied by the name and address of the promoter, and the expenses that went into its creation must be counted against a party’s expenditure limit. Think about where you might have seen party logos already this year. On stationery, cars, electorate offices, pens, backdrops at party conferences, banners.

Oh dear. Common sense again is the loser.

Tags: ,

Drinks in London

June 22nd, 2008 at 9:34 pm by David Farrar

Quite a few people have said they are keen to catch up for drinks in London, so have arranged a pub get together.

We’ll meet on Monday evening from 6.30 pm onwards at the Speights Ale House. It is at the Temple Tube Station, postcode WC2R 2PH.

Now at the Southerner 210 Strand, London WC2R 1AP due to closure of the Ale House. It is just around the corner from the Temple Tube Station.

Details will also be posted on the Kiwis in Britain Facebook Group.

Tags: ,

Winston confirms candidacy for Tauranga

June 22nd, 2008 at 7:58 pm by David Farrar

Winston has finally confirmed what we all know – he is standing for Tauranga:

… today we are talking about a comeback.

Not a comeback aimed at personal glory but a comeback aimed at righting the wrongs of the last three years of an incompetent incumbent.

An incumbent frightened of a rematch – he has run scared.

He has embarrassed the people of Tauranga for three years and has delivered nothing.

This is a comeback which will bring hope to Tauranga again.

This will be very interesting. He seems to still be campaigning against Bob Clarkson rather than his actual opponent of Simon Bridges.

Now you have to ask yourselves one simple question – who has been the real MP for Tauranga over the past three years.

Who has delivered – just as he said he would?

In many ways I have never stopped being the MP for Tauranga.

Well yes he has apart from the fact he moved out of the electorate, now lives in Auckland and also closed down his Tauranga office. Minor details the good people of Tauranga may recall.

Who will deal with the revolting scourge of gangs – wrecking their p-crazed violence and havoc on innocent New Zealanders?

Tauranga is not immune from this scourge. We need a voice of experience and strength.

We need a leader who can look these criminals in the eye and not flinch.

Wow, sounds like we need someone who say has been a crown prosecutor!

Tags: , ,

The UK rugby players and the Kiwi girl

June 22nd, 2008 at 7:43 pm by David Farrar

The allegations against the UK rugby players are dominating the front pages over here in London. Even The Times has the lurid story as its lead.

An interesting story in the Herald on Sunday. I have to say there is a high degree of cynicism about the allegations, but that due process needs to be gone through, so unless people were in the room, no-one knows for sure what happened. A key issue will be whether charges are laid obviously.

Tags: ,

Ralston on spin

June 22nd, 2008 at 7:33 pm by David Farrar

Bill Ralston covers several issues today:

There are now more media communications and public relations staff working for the Ministry of Social Development than there are journalists working in individual newsrooms for media organisations across the country.

The MSD apparently employs 61.5 media staff. Quite what the half person does is not clear but the rest appear to be trying to put a positive spin on everything the department does. All appear to be failing spectacularly.

It may be more than that. For example spies in the Education Ministry tell me the under-report their media/comms personnel by only counting those who work in the central comms unit, but that every operating section also has it owns comms person.

Actually, I suspect the 350 policy advisers are too busy with the 61.5 media people working out how to spend your money telling you that they are working hard for you. Last year, the MSD budgeted 15 million taxpayer dollars to promote, for example, the Working for Families scheme this election year. The Government is anxious to remind you that it is looking after you – even if you don’t want to be looked after.

I’m from the Government and I’m here to help you!

With this in mind, the Government last year published, at your expense, a brochure subtly called We’re Making a Difference. It is designed to tell you how good the Labour Government has been for you and, not surprisingly, the courts and Electoral Office came to the conclusion it was campaign advertising for the Labour Party under the Government’s stunningly stupid Electoral Finance Act.

However, last week the Government started ducking and diving in Parliament about whether the brochure would be counted against Labour’s spending cap for the election. Labour Party secretary Mike Smith has been telling the Electoral Office that the breach of the act wasn’t committed by the Labour Party, it was committed by the Labour Government, or more precisely, the Prime Minister’s Office, which is entirely different, says Mr Smith.

Quite how the Labour Party’s Prime Minister and the Labour Government is divorced from the Labour Party is not clear, but members of the Labour Party must be wondering if this is final confirmation of what they have felt for years, the party’s parliamentary wing is a law unto itself and no longer has any connection with its rank and file.

The arrogance of the parliamentary wign as they pushed through the EFA was staggering, only matched by their refusal to concede they overspent by $800,000 last time.

What she is saying is that the Government rammed through an act of Parliament, put the Electoral Office to enormous expense, tied up endless amounts of police time investigating alleged breaches of the act, and further troubled the overburdened court system with litigation about the meaning of the act because Labour was worried National might put up billboards attacking the Government this election year.

Yep, this could not be allowed.

Tags: , , ,

Hastings

June 22nd, 2008 at 7:22 pm by David Farrar

A bit of a late start Friday as I was trying to get UK maps onto the TomTom. I tried just installing the maps a friend e-mailed to me (100 MB) but that didn’t work as needed a product code. Tried buying a product code over the phone for them and did not work so then purchased online the maps and downloaded them. However spent best part of an hour trying to find the product code for them, so I could activate then. Finally phoned TomTom support and they told me the newer maps don’t need a code if you download them directly and all I have to do is turn the device on and it will work!!

Was worth the wait though as the GPS is just marvelous. The speed camera locations are great also, even though less need in the UK. In a major difference to NZ, their cameras are not at all hidden but well signposted at their specific locations.

On Friday morning we had a look around Hastings. I do have to say I somewhat prefer it to the Tukituki version :-)

Took a cable car up the hill to the old Hastings Castle. This was built by William the Conqueror in 1066. It has a wonderful view of the English Channel, being a few hundred feet up.

Then back in Hastings had lunch at this pub buit in the 16th century. It was wonderfully cosy.

I ordered a pot of mussels. Now we do not realise how spoilt we are in NZ with huge juicy mussels everywhere. Look at how tiny the mussel is – less than 1/4 the tip of the fork.

After lunch we headed North to Battle – where the Battle of Hastings was fought which changed English history.

Tags: ,