Archive for November, 2008

ANZ National moves to 20% deposits

November 27th, 2008 at 7:49 am by David Farrar

It’s just got a lot harder to buy your own home. ANZ National are now requriring 20% deposits on home mortgages. Not that long ago 5% was all you needed.

This means that the median deposit needed will be $86,600 in Auckland, $73,800 in Wellington and $62,000 in Christchurch. And that has to be saved from after tax income.

The policy change is a logical consequence of the credit crisis, and of falling house prices. I suspect other banks may follow suit.

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A fun evening

November 27th, 2008 at 7:32 am by David Farrar

That was a long but fun evening. We had a pretty good crowd at the Wellington blogger drinks with around 30 people there. The drinks then morphed into Back Benches which had on Simon Bridges, Grant Robertson, Metira Turei and John Boscawen. All four were strong performers in my opinion. The new MPs have given Back Benchers a renewed lease of life.

There would be close to 100 people in the bar for Back Benches. Many of the new younger MPs in attendance, and you know its a really nice environment to socalise across the political boundaries. The inhouse parliamentary bar isn;t heavily patronised, so Back Benches may end up becoming the de facto weekly gathering for MPs, journalists and groupies :-)

A few of us heading to Hummingbird after the Backbencher closed and I got home around 2 am, so that was a nice nine hours on the turps.

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If National had not won

November 26th, 2008 at 5:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald on Sunday wrote an article in advance for their 9th of November edition. It was the one they would run if John Key had not won on the night. Normally these would never see the light of day, but they accidentally filed it , it seems. So here is what you would have read the day after the election if National had not won:

SO SURE OF AN OUTRIGHT WIN WERE NATIONAL STALWARTS LIKE FORMER MP KATHERINE RICH THAT SHE REFUSED TO COMMENT LAST WEEK ON THE POSSIBILITY OF KEY NOT BECOMING PRIME MINISTER “BECAUSE IT’S JUST NOT GOING TO HAPPEN”
865 words
Nov 9th 2008 12:30pm Newspapers/Nz Herald

On page: 26

IT WASN’T meant to happen this way. So sure was John Key that he had this one in the box that he didn’t have an option two.

So sure of an outright win were National stalwarts like former MP Katherine Rich that she refused to comment last week on the possibility of Key not becoming prime minister “because it’s just not going to happen”.

Now Key has fluffed his big chance, not by losing outright but by allowing Helen Clark enough room to stick a Labour toe in a door that he was supposed to have slammed shut.

Now the voters can do nothing but wait while the negotiators do the deals that will ultimately decide who governs. While Key is a master dealer when it comes to investment banking, it is Clark who has an extraordinary ability to negotiate coalitions, partnerships and support agreements that most people wouldn’t have thought possible. If the Maori Party emerges as the kingmaker, punters are predicting Clark will have the upper hand.

Now the Dream Team, Key and his sidekick Bill English, face another three years in Opposition, another three years before the ambitious 47-year-old leader of the National Party gets another crack at what has been a lifelong dream.

And have another crack, he will.

Broadcaster and political commentator Bill Ralston predicts Key will be “pissed off to hell” with the loss but will treat it as a setback rather than a failure. He would use the next three years to hone his skills, Ralston said. “This is a guy who has never failed at anything.”

Party insiders doubt there is a chance Key will spit his dummy, quit politics and go back to the lucrative investment banking career that made him a very rich man.

That there will be no leadership challenge is in little doubt. “There is no question he will remain a strong uncontested leader of the Opposition,” MP Murray McCully said. “He will be unrivalled, unchallenged.”

He, like others, doubts Key had thought about a Plan B.

“He’s always been the sort of guy who from the time he thought he might take the job on has only ever had one scenario in mind.”

That innate confidence grew more evident as the campaign progressed, as Key’s media training paid off and as he took more risks _ like discounting a union with New Zealand First leader Winston Peters outright.

Ralston said the only way the National Party would lose Key now was if Caucus voted him out. “And I don’t think they have another alternative leader there. Bill English might think he is but the Caucus are aware that Key is the man.”

One National MP said he had never seen a more disciplined and unified caucus.

Whether English would even want the job is up for discussion. A source close to the inner circle doubted English would make a run for the leadership.

“He’s got the best of both worlds. He’s a family man, a committed Catholic with a busy working wife. He’s got plenty of power and influence without carrying the top dog title.”

And despite this loss, National’s polling leaves the party as a strong Opposition, a position Key is credited with achieving. In the next three years Key would have “more mana and authority than any leader of the National Party going back a long way,” one insider said.

Yesterday’s achievement in terms of the party vote would be recognised as being “substantially the result of his [Key's] leadership”, he said.

“His stocks are very high. He’ll have a good deal of authority.”

He predicted he would be a “powerful and untouchable leader of the Opposition.”

Observers say Key will waste no time in reshaping the National Party, purging the old guard in the process. Ralston expects to see a new lineup which includes younger faces and a more diverse mix in terms of gender and ethnicity before long. Many of the old guard will “take the hint and the nudge”.

“I think he will very quickly take a knife to the party… that’s going to be a risky process because at the same time you destabilise your Caucus support.”

That he’s capable of the hard decisions is unquestioned. Back in the 90s, Key earned the nickname “smiling assassin” after implementing mass sackings for Merrill Lynch.

Ralston expects heavy scrutiny by Key of what went wrong in the campaign because there was “no shortage of money this time round”.

That would include looking at what tactics didn’t work, the party marketing and organisation, and the billboards and television ads.

The “Mr Nice Guy” strategy would be called into question, he said, and whether the party should have used “attack” advertising and Key should have come across as more assertive.

Blogger Russell Brown of Public Address described the Labour victory as a “bugger the pollsters” moment. “In the end people have responded to the trust message. Maybe in the end they didn’t trust John Key enough.”

Ralston predicted that Key would spend the next three years making sure he earned that trust.
Source: Herald On Sunday
Credit: Herald On Sunday

Katherine was very smart in refusing to comment in advance on the possibility of National not winning. I presume all the other people quoted in the article did comment hypothetically.

Incidentally congrats to Katherine for her appointment as CEO of the NZ Food and Grocery Council. The FGC represents $15 billion of sales and $3.5 billion of exports, and Katherine’s background in agri-business make it a great role for her.

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Bill voted National

November 26th, 2008 at 4:32 pm by David Farrar

Bill Ralston blogs on how he is a regular Labour voter (cancelling out his wife he claims) but that this time he did break pattern to vote National. He states:

The sad truth is my wife insists on having her own political views. I blame those who gave women the vote in the first place. For many years we each cancelled out the other’s vote come polling day.

However, I must admit this year I drifted to the view that Labour was running out steam, out of ideas and out of office. I thought it was time it went and voted accordingly. That doesn’t mean if National performs badly over the next three years it will retain my vote. A Phil Goff-led Labour government is not a scary prospect and given a good excuse I will happily revert to form.

Now, it would be very nice if everybody else who writes about politics let their readers know which way they voted, otherwise I’m going to feel very exposed indeed.

Well I voted National with both ticks. I did give some quite serious consideration to voting ACT though – to reward Rodney for his work with Winston.

I have once voted Labour – the first time I could vote. But it was 1987 and they were the better alternative.

The challenge for John Key is indeed to keep voters like Ralston. They’re urban liberals who won’t be worried by a Phil Goff led Labour, so National needs to give them reasons to stay with National.

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Noelle McCarthy

November 26th, 2008 at 4:27 pm by David Farrar

The Sunday Star-Times did a large and prominent story on Noelle McCarthy and raised issues about whether some of her verbal on air essays were too similiar to articles from various European newspapers.

I’m possibly somewhat biased on this issue as the GPS system in my car is called Noelle, but I think David Cohen’s blog on this issue is very apt:

we feel like offering a bit of solidarity towards Noelle McCarthy over the media treatment she received this past weekend, when a small number of her articles and columns were deemed of sufficiently compelling interest by the Sunday Star-Times to warrant a manifestly overlong story on their purported similarities with a number of previously published British pieces.

Despite having spent the better part of a week poring over McCarthy’s efforts, reporter Kim Knight came up with nothing more earth-shattering than the fact that McCarthy reads fairly widely when it comes to British papers, and yes, she had probably been a bit naughty in riffing a little too hard on a few of their recent reports. But did that pretty inconsequential discovery justify anything more than a small aside in a media column?

Cohen has written a lot on plagiarism:

As it happens, we’ve spent some effort in the past looking at real plagiarism scandals — you know, the ones involving entire chapters of books, existing scholarly essays and questions of wholesale academic integrity — and we’ve also ribbed McCarthy from time to time over other matters.

And David has shown, at the link he provides, that he has and will ping McCarthy when she deserves it. He also pings me often when I deserve it :-)

Bus his conclusion here:

Involving as it does just a few words and the odd phrase here and there, this latest one simply doesn’t make the serious cut. Especially not in a country where slapping new intros on to a press release and running the lot as a news piece is standard fare among many overworked reporters.

There is a fine line between when you do and do not need to attribute, and Noelle was probably on the wrong side of that line with a couple of her on air pieces, but as Cohen says I don’t think it warranted such a big story, and you do wonder if the fact she also writes a column for the SST’s rival newspaper was a factor.

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Seven useless facts

November 26th, 2008 at 4:14 pm by David Farrar

A meme is going around where you have to list seven useless facts about yourself. M and M tagged me. And Busted Blonde has the best facts to date:

3 – I have killed approx 40,000 muttonbirds by crushing their brains with my teeth severing the brain from the brain stem causing instantaneous death. Consequently one of my back bicuspids is buggered.
4 – I co-negotiated a $11.2m Maori land settlement package on land that wasn’t our family’s – and got paid $210 for it.
5 – I once wrote a press release about extracting semen from bees

So my seven:

  1. As a child I hated seafood and wouldn’t eat it, but now can’t live without it.
  2. As a student, I once was found under a hedge impersonating a hedgehog.
  3. The first time I entered the University of Otago Library was to attend a meeting of the Library Committee, to which I had been appointed.
  4. American Pie (the Don McLean version not the devil spawn version) is my all time favourite song
  5. I am an excellent skier, and have worked on a ski field.
  6. I wanted to be a doctor, when I was growing up and worked during holidays for several years in a medical laboratory.
  7. My first job after university was as a secretary to a group of psychologists

I won’t tag anyone as many alreayd have done this, but people are welcome to tag themselves.

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Taxpayers pay for PI to watch TV

November 26th, 2008 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

It’s bad enough we have a stupid law that bans adverts on television on Sunday mornings. God knows why.

But even worse, the taxpayer through the Ministry of CUlture and Heritage paid a private investigator to watch the quarters, semis and final of the Rugby World Cup, so they could prosecute TV3 for showing advertisements.

TV3′s defence is they were also broadcasting to an overseas audience, which is an exemption.

But why on Earth did the taxpayer need to fund a private detective to watch and record a TV show? Was this beyond the dozens of staff at MCH? Does MCH not have any video recorders? Do none of the staff have any video recorders?

Hat Tip: Whale Oil

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Minto blames Goff et al for Nia Glassie’s murder

November 26th, 2008 at 9:37 am by David Farrar

John Minto has worked out who is to blame for the murder of Nia Glassie:

There is never any excuse for abuse of children and it’s natural for us to want long prison sentences for her killers. However, unless we clearly see the context in which she was killed then we will condemn other children to similar abuses.

Yes the context of what makes people stick a toddler in a drying machine to torture her.

As Nia Glassie lay dying in hospital last August the New Zealand Herald published figures related to child abuse among Maori. Social issues reporter Simon Collins reported that Maori children were more than twice as likely to die from child abuse as other children but that this was a relatively recent development.

In 1987 child abuse deaths for Maori were on a par with the rest of New Zealand. From 1978 to 1987 the number of children aged 0 to 14 per 100,000 killed was 0.92 for non-Maori and 1.05 for Maori.

However from 1987 it rose rapidly. For the period 1991 to 2000 the figures were 0.67 for non-Maori but 2.40 for Maori.

This dramatic increase has obvious roots. The number of Maori in paid work dropped by 15 per cent between 1986 and 1991 while total employment fell just 6 per cent. Maori unemployment peaked at a staggering 26 per cent in 1991 while the non-Maori rate was just 9 per cent.

Maori were disproportionately degraded by the policies of Rogernomics under Labour’s 1984 to 1990 government.

Yet those who killed her did so in a time of near full employment. But hey let us ignore that and blame it all on Rogernomics.

Those who demand vengeance for Nia Glassie’s death would be better to first set up a gallows outside Parliament and the Business Roundtable offices before they focus on the miserable men guilty of her murder.

Yeah, nothing to do with those who tortured a three year old. Or the neighbours who did not report it. The guilty parties are those who saved a country from bankruptcy.

The most important solution to ending child abuse is to make full employment the number one economic priority. Forty hours work on decent pay by which a breadwinner can support a family in dignity and respect must be at the heart of social and economic policy. Not surprisingly it was dropped as Labour Party policy back in the 1980s by the likes of Roger Douglas, Helen Clark and Phil Goff while it’s never been National Party policy.

So Douglas, Clark and Goff plus National are all to blame. Again never mind that at the time this happened unemployment was the lowest in the world.  I think it is reprehensible of Minto to try and blame this sociopathic torture and abuse on the economic policies of 20 years ago.

Anything less than this is to cry crocodile tears for Nia Glassie and condemn more children to her fate.

You don’t get full employment by turning a country into Cuba, as Mr Minto advocates. You get it by having a strong economy.

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Agenda dead – for now

November 26th, 2008 at 9:17 am by David Farrar

Very sad to see Agenda killed off by TVNZ. It has been a very influential show, with comments made by MPs on the show often causing headlines for some days.

Ironically thanks to the change of Government, Agenda may be able to continue on another channel. It depends how quickly the policy changes can be implemented.

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A&E Waiting Times

November 26th, 2008 at 9:07 am by David Farrar

Idiot/Savant is sceptical of the planned policy to have maximum waiting times for A&E. He claims that in the UK, the response to such targets was:

The policy is based on UK Labour’s attempts to improve quality in the NHS by introducing these sorts of absurd targets, and Ryall claims that policy was a success, having led to a reduction in the number of patients waiting for than four hours from 23% to 3%. But that success was an illusion. As noted in Adam Curtis’ documentary, The Trap, faced with pressure to improve their statistics, NHS managers created a new and unofficial post, the “Hello Nurse”, whose sole purpose was to greet new arrivals to A&E so they could claim for statistical purposes that the patient had been “seen”. Faced with a similar target aimed at reducing the number of patients waiting on trolleys in corridors, they simply removed the wheels from the trolleys and reclassified them as beds.

I’m not sure whether to be appalled or impressed by the ingenuity – reclassifying trolleys as beds!

The targets were met, but the underlying performance didn’t change one iota. Mangers being managers the world over, the same is likely to happen here. It’s a general problem with this sort of empty managerialism and obsession with statistical targets: the statistical goal – measured patient “waiting time” – ends up taking the place of the real goal – patient care. And doctors and nurses end up spending all their time filling in performance spreadsheets rather than doing what they’re supposed to be doing: seeing patients.

Idiot/Savant arguments would be stronger, if the status quo had not failed so badly. Under Labour we have had $3.5 billion of exra funding for health, no targets for A&E, and the result has been 20% of people waiting for more than eight hours.

Why does he think throwing more money at it, without targets will work? Can he cite an example in the world where it does?

As I said yesterday, the benefits of targets are it creates transparency. DHBs can cost what the cost will be to meet the six hour target. Dedicated funding can be applied for. If the Government refuses, then people can hold the Government accountable.

Rather than clinging to the dead 80′s cult of managerialism, National should target the real problem: lack of resources. The reason people have to wait so long in A&E is because hospitals cannot afford to employ enough medical professionals to deal with demand.

And without a target to aim for, how on earth can one calculate what it would costs to have the extra staff?

The reason they are parked on trolleys in hospital corridors is because there is not enough space. But solving these problems would cost money, which National would rather give to the rich in tax cuts. It’s just a question of priorities – and National clearly rates redistributing wealth to those who need it least well ahead of ensuring that every kiwi has decent access to healthcare.

And now we just get the blind slogans, instead of intelligent analysis. Idiot/Savant is not stupid. He has read National’s fiscal package. He knews that the tax cuts are being funded almost entirely out of changes to KiwiSaver. Not from less spending on Health.

In fact National has pledged significant funding to train up more doctors, to set up 20 new surgicial wards etc etc.

The Herald editorial is supportive of the policy:

It is also all the more reason to welcome Health Minister Tony Ryall’s plan to impose maximum patient waiting times on emergency departments, and to hold district health boards and their management accountable for meeting them. His initiative is sure to attract criticism. Such targets are always something of a crude measure, if only because they fail to give sufficient recognition to quality of care, which should, ideally, be hospitals’ paramount concern.

The target are no silver bullet, but frankly we should be debating why we have never had them before, not be surprised that these minimum measures of accountability are being introduced.

But Mr Ryall can be excused for starting at this point. There is a sense that, while the Labour Government increased the health budget by more than $3.5 billion, too much of this was swallowed with little discernible increase in efficiency. There were neither quantitative nor qualitative improvements. At the very least, targets incorporated into performance agreements will lay the foundation for better results by increasing accountability in emergency department operations.

Indeed. The status quo has seen massive funding and little way to judge how well utilised that funding was. Now that is great if you are Minister of Health, but not good for patients and taxpayers. This si why I said Ryall’s policy was brave – it actually creates an accountability for him as as Minister that was previously lacking.

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Seatbelts for Tractors

November 26th, 2008 at 8:45 am by David Farrar

There’s a call for all tractors to be fitted with seatbelts.

Why stop there? How about motorcycles also?

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Chinese Bloggers

November 26th, 2008 at 8:36 am by David Farrar

An interesting article on the positive impact Chinese bloggers are having:

Tens of millions of mice over-ran China’s internet trap this year, swamping it with chatter, nibbling towards freedom of speech.

Riots in Tibet, the Sichuan earthquake, an under-age Olympic hero, poisoned milk, official corruption, and even a fake tiger sighting – China’s top news stories this year took on new life in the blogosphere.

The twisted reports and deliberate silence of the Communist Party’s traditional propaganda machine – state-owned newspapers and television – were held to ridicule by swift-moving mice that scrutinised, uncovered and spread little pieces of competing truth

Yay.

The number of bloggers in China doubled to 107 million in the six months to last June, according to the China Internet Network Information Centre. Total users rose 56 per cent from the previous year, to 253 million, giving China the largest online population in the world.

Mr Mao says he can see a tipping point coming. He believes that as a result of blogging, young Chinese brainwashed by their education system are now trying to think for themselves, work together and find smarter solutions.

Sounds hopeful.

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Does Wellington want technology or not?

November 26th, 2008 at 8:19 am by David Farrar

Very disturbed to read in the Dom Post:

Public anger over a proliferation of cellphone towers and broadband cabinets has prompted Wellington City Council to look at tightening controls on communication companies.

Council planners have received applications covering more than 170 sites from telecommunication companies this year.

They include more than 100 roadside cabinets, each the size of a large fridge, to be installed in Wellington as part of Telecom’s “cabinetisation” programme for faster broadband.

Also included are 70 applications from NZ Communications, which is establishing a national mobile network.

Complaints from residents and business owners over the proliferation of towers and cabinets prompted Mayor Kerry Prendergast to seek a review of the council’s district plan rules.

The rules allow almost all telecommunication installations on council-owned reserve land, and on land next to roads, to proceed unhindered.

Did any of those people complaining have a cellphone or use the Internet? If so, their complaints should be ignored as hypocritical.

Any Councillor that votes to change the rules should also surrender their cellphone and Internet connection.

We have national guidelines on safety for such installations. It would be madness to have every single cabinet and tower go through its own resource consent process, even if they comply with existing rules.

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General Debate 26 November 2008

November 26th, 2008 at 8:06 am by David Farrar
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Blog Bits

November 25th, 2008 at 5:07 pm by David Farrar
  1. Busted Blonde has a post on domestic violence and how she spent several years in an abusive relationship. Go read it, and make sure you show it to any friends who need to read it.
  2. Adam Smith blogs on the Giles cartoons. As a child I loved Giles cartoons, and every year could not wait for the annual. Grandma was my favourite character. For those who never saw them, you missed out on classics.
  3. Matthew Hooton makes the case for an Upper House.
  4. Steven Price reviews two decisions by the Advertising Standards Authority.
  5. Matt Nolan wants some better statistics from the Government.
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Boxes everywhere

November 25th, 2008 at 4:31 pm by David Farrar

Just been over at Parliament catching up with a few people. There’s a huge amount of activity as boxes are being unpacked, computer geeks are installing PCs evereywhere etc. WIth hundreds of office moves, it will take a few days to bed down.

On one floor there were no phones yet, which was sort of blissful.

One of the National MPs has Winston’s old office. A building staffer explained that they had to near-fumigate the office to try and get rid of the smoke residue. I helpfully suggested an exorcism might have been more appropriate for that office :-)

While it is nice to be in Government, a lot of people are missing the wonderful offices in the old Parliament Buildings. They are much nicer than Bowen House and the Beehive.

Lots of interesting tidbits about who is staying and going in all the parties, including Labour. There have been some excellent appointments made that I think will help settle things down. Might post a bit more on this in a few weeks.  As tempting as it is to announce staff appointments through Kiwiblog, I’ll leave it to the individual parties to do :-)

Was interesting to have a look around the 9th floor, as I had not been up there since I was a staffer there in 1999, and it has been refurbished since then. The refurbishments are nice, but still nothing compared to Parliament House.

I referred to the PM’s personal office/room as “Jenny’s office” three times. It was weird – almost like some sort of flashback. It was just an automatic reflex basically. I was amused that many of the staff were suffering from the same problem I encountered in 1997 when I moved up there – getting lost on the floor.

All the other floors have more than one Minister so you just head into the office complex you want. But the enture 9th floor is PM’s Office and it is a circle around the entire way. And my first couple of days there I would sometimes circle the building two or three times until I realised I was passing the same office and had gone past my office.

While it is nice to pop in occassionally, it is even nicer not to work there. Eight years was more than enough for me, and the hours many of the Ministerial staffers work are just crazy – in some offices you don’t get home much before midnight. Bill Birch’s office was famous for that – if a meeting was scheduled at 12.00, you did actually have to check if it was midday or midnight.

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2008 Election Results – Green Party Vote

November 25th, 2008 at 4:02 pm by David Farrar

1

Wellington Central

20.6%

2

Rongotai

17.0%

3

Dunedin North

15.8%

4

Auckland Central

15.5%

5

Port Hills

13.8%

6

Christchurch Central

11.2%

7

Mt Albert

11.0%

8

West Coast Tasman

10.9%

9

Nelson

9.4%

10

Ohariu

9.1%

11

Mana

8.4%

12

Ilam

8.2%

13

Dunedin South

8.0%

14

Hutt South

7.7%

15

New Lynn

7.6%

16

Coromandel

7.6%

17

Selwyn

7.5%

18

Northland

7.3%

19

Christchurch East

7.2%

20

Hamilton East

7.2%

21

Te Tai Tonga

7.2%

22

Kaikoura

7.0%

23

Waitaki

7.0%

24

Wigram

6.9%

25

Epsom

6.9%

26

Northcote

6.7%

27

North Shore

6.6%

28

Palmerston North

6.5%

29

Waitakere

6.5%

30

New Plymouth

6.4%

31

East Coast

6.4%

32

Tukituki

6.0%

33

Whangarei

6.0%

34

Rimutaka

5.9%

35

Wairarapa

5.7%

36

Otaki

5.6%

37

Napier

5.5%

38

Maungakiekie

5.5%

39

Rangitikei

5.4%

40

Waimakariri

5.4%

41

Tamaki

5.3%

42

Whanganui

5.3%

43

Rodney

5.2%

44

Clutha Southland

5.1%

45

Hamilton West

5.1%

46

Rotorua

5.0%

47

Taranaki-King Country

5.0%

48

Helensville

4.9%

49

Bay of Plenty

4.9%

50

Tauranga

4.6%

51

Taupo

4.5%

52

Mt Roskill

4.3%

53

Invercargill

4.3%

54

Rangitata

4.2%

55

East Coast Bays

4.1%

56

Tamaki Makaurau

4.0%

57

Te Atatu

4.0%

58

Waikato

3.9%

59

Pakuranga

3.6%

60

Te Tai Hauauru

3.5%

61

Te Tai Tokerau

3.5%

62

Hunua

3.4%

63

Hauraki-Waikato

3.2%

64

Ikaroa-Rawhiti

3.2%

65

Papakura

3.0%

66

Waiariki

2.7%

67

Botany

2.4%

68

Manurewa

2.2%

69

Mangere

2.0%

70

Manukau East

1.8%

The Greens did exceptionally well in Wellington achieving 20.6% in Wellington Central and 17.0% in Rongotai. Also above 15% was Dunedin North and Auckland Central.

In eight seats they got over 10%, and in 23 seats, over 7%.

Their median seat was Wairarapa on 5.7%. This is less than their average of 6.7% so their strong seats drags them up considerably.

Their worst seats were Manukau East and Mangere.

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General Debate 25 November 2008

November 25th, 2008 at 8:22 am by David Farrar
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A&E Waiting Time Limits

November 25th, 2008 at 8:21 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Health Minister Tony Ryall will impose maximum patient waiting times on hospital emergency departments. …

The Herald reported yesterday that a consensus is emerging – in talks among senior physicians and health officials – that the maximum time should be six hours and that no patient should be left waiting in an emergency department corridor. Recommendations are expected to be made to Mr Ryall within weeks.

This is a very brave move by Tony Ryall. Under Labour we saw billions thrown into health, but very little measurable improvements for that money. This means that Labour could talk about how much it cared, but never be measured on success.

Tony is putting in place measures that will introduce better accountability. DHBs will have to front up and specify what resources they need to ensure they can see all A&E patients within six hours. The DHBs can be held to account for that, and also the Minister and central Government an be held accountable if they fail to adequately fund the DHBs.

He cited Britain’s success in reducing emergency department waiting times through a target maximum wait, set in 2004, of no more than four hours from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge. Within several years, he said, the proportion of patients waiting in emergency departments for more than four hours fell from 23 per cent, to 3 per cent.

In New Zealand, Health Ministry data from one large emergency department and two of medium size indicated that while the majority of patients were seen within several hours, up to 20 per cent at one of the hospitals spent more than eight hours in the emergency department.

Looks to be a good plan.

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Thompson charged

November 24th, 2008 at 5:07 pm by David Farrar

NZPA report:

Former Immigration Service boss Mary Anne Thompson appeared in court on Friday on fraud and dishonesty charges.

Ms Thompson faced two charges of using a document with intent to defraud and one charge of dishonestly attempting to use a document without claims of right. …

Ms Thompson is next scheduled to appear in Wellington District Court on December 12.

It will be interesting to see the exact details of the charges. I presume it relates to the claimed doctorate, that wasn’t.

As this is before the court, please restrict comments appropriately.

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Blogosphere Drinks on Wednesday

November 24th, 2008 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Reminder that Wellington Blogosphere Drinks are this Wednesday 26th), starting at 5.30 pm at the Backbencher.

Open to bloggers, commenters, lurkers and readers.

So far we have a dozen confirmed. I’ve booked tables for around 16.

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Brown to respond with tax cuts

November 24th, 2008 at 10:31 am by David Farrar

I’ve said time and time again that NZ Labour was almost alone in the world with its hostility to personal tax cuts. We only got them after nine years of massive surpluses and massive spending increases, and Dr Cullen admitted that he would have made them smaller (if at all) if he had known about the extent of the credit crisis.

Even under Phil Goff, NZ Labour are geared up to attack National’s tax cuts.

So bearing that in mind, let us look at what UK Labour PM Gordon Brown is looking to announce tomorrow:

Gordon Brown has defended as “necessary and responsible” the massive package of tax cuts expected in tomorrow’s Pre-Budget Report.

Yes, UK Labour delivering a massive package of tax cuts.

Australian Labour also doing the same.

NZ Labour though are regretting their tax cuts and are opposing any further tax cuts.

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Blog Bits

November 24th, 2008 at 9:52 am by David Farrar

Idiot/Savant looks at what would happen if the Foreshore and Seabed Act was repealed. I tend to favour repeal of the Act, but also would like the Court of Appeal ruling to have been tested by appeal to the Privy Council or the Supreme Court. Maybe one can repeal the Act, legislate to allow the Supreme Court to hear an appeal from the Court of Appeal ruling, and then whatever the Supreme Court decides, forms the basis of negotiations between Crown and Iwi.

Adam Smith at The Inquiring Mind links to an article in The Times on the huge number of subtitling mashups done of the bunker scene from Downfall. Over 150 mashups have been done, including three by Whale Oil. They are Winston’s Downfall, Helen’s Downfall and Judith’s Downfall.

Aaron Bhatnagar blogs on how Waiheke Island and Great Barrier Island residents will be polled on whetehr they want to remain part of Auckland City, or transfer to the Thames-Coromandel District Council. I don’t think many do want to change but as 10% o residents signed a petition, the Local Government Commission is obliged to run a poll.

Paul Walker retires from blogging. A real pity – I enjoy all the economist blogs, even though they are not high traffic. Maybe if they all combined together?

Bryce Edwards has done a series of posts on the party that shall not be named. They are a fascinating background read. One day he should publish them as children’s horror stories :-)

Finally Adam Smith scans in and blogs every day a good Letter to the Editor. Have a look at this one from the Co-vice-president of the Maori Party responding to Chris Trotter.

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2008 Election Results – National Party Vote

November 24th, 2008 at 8:50 am by David Farrar

1

Helensville

63.7%

2

Epsom

62.6%

3

East Coast Bays

61.4%

4

Botany

61.2%

5

Hunua

60.6%

6

Tamaki

60.2%

7

Clutha Southland

59.9%

8

Pakuranga

59.7%

9

Taranaki-King Country

59.5%

10

Rodney

59.0%

11

Bay of Plenty

58.7%

12

North Shore

58.1%

13

Waikato

57.4%

14

Selwyn

54.9%

15

Tauranga

54.3%

16

Taupo

53.6%

17

Ilam

52.8%

18

Rangitikei

52.4%

19

Kaikoura

51.8%

20

Northland

51.7%

21

Coromandel

51.7%

22

Papakura

51.5%

23

Waitaki

51.4%

24

New Plymouth

50.5%

25

Northcote

50.4%

26

Rotorua

50.3%

27

Tukituki

50.2%

28

Whangarei

50.0%

29

Hamilton East

49.5%

30

Waimakariri

49.4%

31

Wairarapa

48.7%

32

Rangitata

48.6%

33

East Coast

47.6%

34

Invercargill

47.5%

35

Napier

47.3%

36

Whanganui

46.3%

37

Ohariu

46.3%

38

Hamilton West

46.0%

39

Otaki

44.8%

40

West Coast Tasman

44.1%

41

Maungakiekie

42.5%

42

Nelson

42.5%

43

Mt Roskill

42.1%

44

Te Atatu

41.5%

45

Waitakere

41.2%

46

Palmerston North

40.7%

47

Rimutaka

40.7%

48

New Lynn

40.1%

49

Auckland Central

40.1%

50

Wigram

37.9%

51

Hutt South

37.8%

52

Port Hills

37.7%

53

Christchurch Central

37.6%

54

Mana

36.7%

55

Christchurch East

35.7%

56

Mt Albert

35.7%

57

Wellington Central

35.4%

58

Dunedin South

34.2%

59

Rongotai

31.4%

60

Manurewa

30.3%

61

Dunedin North

29.4%

62

Manukau East

24.2%

63

Mangere

16.4%

64

Te Tai Tonga

11.1%

65

Te Tai Tokerau

9.3%

66

Tamaki Makaurau

7.4%

67

Hauraki-Waikato

7.2%

68

Te Tai Hauauru

6.6%

69

Waiariki

5.5%

70

Ikaroa-Rawhiti

4.9%

On a percentage basis Helensville had the best party vote for National at 63.7% followed by Epsom and East Coast Bays.

Six electorates got over 60% party vote, and 28 electorates got over 50% party vote. 49 electorates got over 40% party vote.

Waimakariri in 30th place was the highest polling seat of those National did not win but contested. Auckland Central in 49th place had the lowest party vote percentage of the seats National did win.

The median electorate is Napier on 47.3%.

Apart from the Maori seats Mangere, Manukau East and Dunedin North were worse for National on 16.4%, 24.2% and 29.4%.

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Two interesting law suits

November 24th, 2008 at 8:45 am by David Farrar

An article in the Herald on public law and lobbying, mainly focused on Mai Chen.

That said, about a third of the firm’s work is litigation, and her current workload includes two particularly high-profile cases. She has been hired by former Auckland District Health Board member Tony Bierre to sue former Prime Minister Helen Clark for defamation over comments she made during the Labtests fiasco. Chen is also acting for National Party advisers Crosby/Textor, who are suing journalist Nicky Hager over comments he made to Radio New Zealand.

Both those law suits look fascinating.

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