Archive for July, 2010

A sad world view

July 31st, 2010 at 10:56 pm by David Farrar

Derek Cheng has done an interesting interview and profile on Hone Harawira. There’s one part that caught my attention:

So how would Harawira feel if one of his seven children came home with a Pakeha partner?

“I wouldn’t feel comfortable. Like all Pakehas would be happy with their daughters coming home with a Maori boy – and the answer is they wouldn’t.

What a very sad view on society – and also a wrong one. I do not believe the majority of Pakeha would care one bit about whether their daughter or sisters dated a Maori. Maybe 50 years ago, but certainly not today.

Historically also, Maori and Pakeha have married each other in great numbers – to the point that it is thought no living New Zealander has 100% Maori ancestry.

I know for myself that I would have absolutely no discomfort over a family member dating someone who happens to be Maori. Just as I wouldn’t care if they dated someone with blue eyes.

Hone obviously sees people’s group affiliations as more important than who they are as an individual. I think it is a very sad way to view life and society.

“That’s just the reality of the world. Let’s not cry about it. Let’s just live with it and move on.”

But it isn’t. Maybe it is Hone’s word, but it sure as hell isn’t how the world works for most of us.

Some of his whanau have dated Pacific Islanders and he didn’t have an issue with it. Does that make him prejudiced?

“Probably, but how many people don’t have prejudices? I’m just like every other New Zealander, except I’m comfortable in recognising that prejudice exists.”

It clearly is prejudice. Hone is saying that skin colour matters. And there are probably some elderly Pakeha who agree with him. But the tragedy is Hone legitimises such prejudices rather than tries to end them. And prejudice does end, or at least greatly diminish. Look at the massive change in attitudes about women over the last 100 years?

Editorials on Carter & Goff

July 31st, 2010 at 9:55 pm by David Farrar

Starting with the ODT who label it a poisonous pen:

Labour Party leader Phil Goff should have learned a harsh lesson about authority from the tragicomic events of the past 48 hours: when the knives are out, leaders must strike first.

He should be regretting that, when Chris Carter’s reluctant apology over the expenses rort finally emerged, rather than merely demoting him he did not suspend him outright, allowing him back only with the lowest rank in the caucus.

Goff wasn’t tough enough then. His leniency towards Carter has now exploded in his face.

The Press also says Goff should have acted sooner:

It’s axiomatic that Labour MP Chris Carter has written his political death warrant. The only question that remains is whether he has sealed the fate of his leader, Phil Goff, as well. Goff’s mistake in dealing with this saga was not to have been tougher on his errant MP quite some time ago.

What will be interesting is what Carter does after the NZ Council makes its decision.

The Dom Post says Carter does not get it:

Chris Carter just does not get it. Thrown an undeserved lifeline by Labour leader Phil Goff after his extravagant sense of entitlement was laid bare by the release of details of ministerial spending, Mr Carter instead chose to defy party rules by taking an overseas trip – albeit one paid for by the Chinese Government, not the New Zealand taxpayer – without seeking permission.

Then he chose to try to derail Mr Goff’s leadership in a particularly inept way. His not very confidential letter shows that not only does he lack any sense of political reality, but also even the most rudimentary grasp of political tactics.

In between all his travel, and all his time on Waiheke, I wonder how often he even appears in Te Atatu?

And finally the Herald:

Mr Goff has ended up with his position fortified even though there is little reason to doubt much of what Mr Carter was saying.

The stark results of recent opinion polls must surely have many Labour MPs and activists thinking the party will lose the 2011 election under its current leader.

Indeed, barring a dramatic change in the political landscape, National’s lead of about 20 percentage points leaves room for no other conclusion.

In such circumstances, it would be totally unsurprising if some in the party were not contemplating a leadership change.

As I said on radio with Paul Holmes, the question is not will Labour win with Phil Goff. They probably will not. The question is will Labour do better with someone else as Leader, and the answer is probably not.

Silly Young Nationals

July 31st, 2010 at 9:20 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

The board of the National Party will be asked to consider expelling one of its young members.

A falling-out among the Young Nats saw Emma Mellow, 20, barred – and then reinvited – to the party conference this month.

Now some Auckland members have moved to put a motion before the board asking it to throw out the former northern regional chairwoman.

Young Nats president Daniel Fielding confirmed a motion would be put before the board at its meeting next month to consider “allegations” against Ms Mellow.

“There are people that have issues with her and they are discussing that with the board and I suppose expulsion could be one possibility. The only organ in the party that has the power to do that is the board. They haven’t been formally approached yet.”

Oh Good God. The Board, I am sure, will tell the aggrieved parties to stop wasting time trying to screw each other over, and instead spend more time on trying to screw Labour over.

Cactus Kate has her say on it here.

I’m just proud then when I was on the Young Nationals Executive, the only person we ever resolved to ask the Board to expel from the Party was the then Hon Winston Peters.

Trevor’s deleted post

July 31st, 2010 at 11:43 am by David Farrar

Trevor has withdrawn this post at Red Alert as friends of his found it offensive.

The Internet doesn’t like censorship though. So for those wondering the subject line of the post was:

Once a rainbow warrior

And Trevor commented:

Advised not to use the line but I do think the day needs lightening up.

Presumably the Rainbow Caucus didn’t lighten up enough for Trevor.

Trevor’s also deleted comments, including this one from Chris:

If anyone else wrote that comment you would be calling them homophobic and put them in moderation. Still I guess when your on the out the true feelings start coming to the surface.

But Trevor did have support from Loota:

Nothing worse than a bunch of over-sensitive PC mommas boys who can’t take what they give.

An ability to laugh at one’s own quirks and stereotypes is simply gold.

Someone else pointed out a better line might have been “Once was a rainbow warrior”

General Debate 31 July 2010

July 31st, 2010 at 11:02 am by David Farrar

London Drinks Update

July 30th, 2010 at 7:56 pm by David Farrar

As I have to be over at Docklands around 7 pm, an earlier start time for drinks seems prudent. So I’ll be at the Southerner at 5 pm now.

It’s at 46 Essex Street, WC2R 1AP and is also its penultimate day as it closes at the weekend.

Chris Carter on message

July 30th, 2010 at 7:04 pm by David Farrar

If anyone is unclear about what Chris Carter’s core message was, this video shows him how on message he was. Note there are no duplicates.

Trevor Mallard has said Carter is irrational and implied he needs to see a psychiatrist. Now that is a bit like me implying someone needs to go on a diet, but regardless I have to say Carter seems very calculating in his comments on TV. He knows you have to repeat a line a dozen times before it sinks in with the public – and he has done exactly that.

Anderton wrong on by-election

July 30th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Press reports:

Anderton said it was “a fair call” on the dual roles of mayor and MP, but the self-confessed “workaholic” said he was more than capable of handling both jobs. “I was a Cabinet minister with seven portfolios and an MP  of course I can do both jobs.”

He said that if the Government called an early election next year, as he suspected, rules dictated a by-election could not be held six months out from a general election.

If he quit, that could leave Wigram constituents without representation for several months, he said.

For someone who has been an MP for 26 years, Jim Anderton doesn’t know much about the Electoral Act.

The rules do not dictate a by-election could not be held six months out from a general election. S131 of the Electoral Act merely allows a super-majority of 75% of the House to resolve not to have a by-election if it is within six months of the expiry of Parliament.

Anderton could pledge to resign if he is elected Mayor, and a new MP for Wigram could be in place before Christmas. Instead he is going to run up $500,000 of salaries and expenses.

Parker said the Progressive Party leader was paid $144,500, his party received $200,000, and staff and electorate office costs brought the total close to $500,000.

“Ironically, he has estimated the cost of a by-election as $600,000 to the taxpayer,” Parker said. “He seems to have split-vision on the value of democracy.”

Anderton said his party received no government funding, and all money went into running his electorate operations.

Again Anderton is being deceptive. His parliamentary party receives around$170,000 of taxpayer funding – and this is on top of his electorate operations.

Gisborne Police venerate George Orwell

July 30th, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Police Minister Judith Collins has urged Gisborne police and media to sit down and work out a solution to a dispute in over local law enforcement’s decision to stop giving reporters details of crimes in the area.

Media groups have criticised a move to restrict information on crime available to journalists and the public in Gisborne,

But police boss Inspector Sam Aberahama says the move is intended to make the community feel safer.

So Inspector Plod think his job is to make the community feel safer by concealing news on crime from the news media and the public.

Can I make the radical suggestion that the community would feel safer if the Police prevented crime from occurring, rather than merely preventing the reporting of said crime.

UPDATE: I am informed the original story didn’t cover the salient fact of exactly what change the Police have made. They are still releasing news to the media, they just no longer have a journalist attend their daily staff briefing – a practice that was unique to Gisborne. While I still think the comments of the Inspector are stupid and deserve clobbering, I do think it is reasonable to not have media present at staff meetings.

General Debate 30 July 2010

July 30th, 2010 at 8:00 am by David Farrar

10 thoughts on the Chris Carter affair

July 30th, 2010 at 7:31 am by David Farrar
  1. Chris Carter’s political career is over. He will have a very lonely existence in Parliament until the general election.
  2. Carter will be expelled from the Labour Party on 7 August
  3. His anonymous letter against Goff will go down as the worst backfire in recent political history
  4. I have no doubt that his motivation was to get back at Goff for taking Foreign Affairs off him, not a genuine concern that Labour would not win under Goff
  5. Carter’s actions has ironically guaranteed Goff will remain in the job
  6. However his actions has also made it much tougher for Goff to win the next election, with Carter’s effective pronouncement of Goff as unelectable a quote that will resurface. Goff will in all probability lose the election and then be rolled afterwards.
  7. Carter’s suggestion that he knew the letter would be traced, and he is glad it is out there is bullshit. He is trying to make an act of treachery look noble.
  8. Carter’s letter was not grossly inaccurate. That is not the sin. The sin is circulating such a letter anonymously to the gallery. What is even stupider is that there was no need to do so. He could have verbally leaked to some journos, and got an anti-Goff story up without fingerprints.
  9. Carter’s comments that Labour can only gain power with the help of New Zealand First should serve as a warning about what it will mean if people vote Labour in 2011.
  10. Carter’s rationality has been questioned by some Labour MPs. This is a fair point. I’ve never known someone to declare the Leader must go, when there is no candidate willing or ready to challenge.

I’d love to see the text messages between New York and Te Atatu over the last 48 hours.

Carter defiant and calls for a new leader

July 29th, 2010 at 6:34 pm by David Farrar

Chris Carter has called for Goff to be replaced and is not going to quit. NZPA reports:

Phil Goff is a nice guy but not a winner, disgraced MP Chris Carter said today just hours after being ejected from the Labour caucus over a letter aimed at undermining his party leader.

His single-page letter to selected Press Gallery political editors said union-based MPs would challenge Mr Goff over his “relaxed” stance on Government plans to allow workers to cash in their fourth week of holiday which is against Labour policy.

Mr Carter said his letter was an attack on Mr Goff’s leadership.

“I no longer believe it’s possible for him to win the election,” he told reporters.

“I think I owe it to the people I represent and the people who voted for our party that we have a leader who can win the election.

“Look, Phil Goff is a very nice guy but he’s just not going to win and his latest flip-flop over the tradeable fourth week… was the last straw for me. Yes I was attempting to get a momentum going where our caucus would think about a leadership change and I am hoping that my actions will cause some of my caucus colleagues to reflect on something which I think almost all of them would come to the conclusion: that nice as Phil is he’s just not going to win.”

The flip-flop over the tradeable fourth week’s leave was made on the low profile Radio Sport farming show. As far as I can tell, the only media mention of it was here on Kiwiblog. So it is a nice indication of the usefulness blogs can play in getting stuff said by MPs into the political beltway. If a reader had not sent it to me, and if I had not blogged it, Goff”s comments may have never become the catalyst for the challenge from Carter.

Carter sacked for Goff coup letter

July 29th, 2010 at 5:01 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

MP Chris Carter has been suspended from the Labour Party after admitting to sending an anonymous letter claiming there is a plot to overthrow leader Phil Goff.

“His actions were stupid and disloyal,” Labour leader Phil Goff told a press conference this afternoon.

“There are no more chances. His future in the Labour Party is at an end.”

Mr Goff said Labour’s caucus had met today and a unanimous decision was taken to suspend him from the caucus.

“As of now, Mr Carter is no longer a member of the Labour Party caucus. The New Zealand Council of the Labour Party will shortly consider his membership of the Labour Party itself.

“The content of his letter, while not true, was designed to damage the party I lead. It was stupid and disloyal. His actions breached caucus rules and were calculated to damage the party and the leadership. This is unacceptable to me and my caucus.

And this was after Goff only demoted Carter to N 13 – a higher rating than Steven Joyce. The lesson in hindsight for Goff is he should have sacked him all the way.

A question to be asked, is was Carter alone and is the letter definitely not true? While his colleagues (the sane ones anyway) will be in horror at what he did with the poison pen letter, that does not mean there were not talks about the pros and cons of changing the leader.

Also one wonders whether or not any advice from New York was sought. Clark certainly would never approve of a letter like this being sent to the media. She know coups are done in the dark. But has she removed her “protection” from Goff?

Today’s letter, sent to several media organisations’ political editors, was in an old airmail envelope with Office of Minister of Finance, NEW ZEALAND printed on it.

The single-page letter said union-based MPs would challenge Mr Goff on Tuesday about a government plan to allow workers to cash in their fourth week of holiday.

The measure was one of a number of controversial labour changes the Government announced last week.

Mr Goff is reported to have told a radio station that he didn’t have huge objections to the fourth week being cashed up as long as workers arrived freely at their decisions and were not pressured.

Heh I highlighted that stance from Goff on the blog 🙂

Labour deputy leader Annette King was visibly angry when questioned by reporters earlier today.

“It’s a piece of malicious mischief,” she said.

“I don’t know but, as you know, I am a former minister of police and let’s say we are following some leads… I would hope we would (trace them). It’s a piece of malicious fabrication.”

The letter said the issue had bought to a head “growing discontent” within the Caucus about Mr Goff’s leadership and poor polling.

“David Cunliffe has a big smile on his face and many in the caucus now expect a move against Goff and King before the election.”

Mr Cunliffe said the letter was “complete rubbish and like my colleagues I am cross about it. Look at my face. That’s (the smile claim is) rubbish too.”

Cunliffe would have had nothing to do with it. He knows the job can be his after the election if he is patient.

How stupid was Carter to send it in the internal mail, and with his handwriting on it. Seriously – that is moron class dumbness. He also got caught on the internal CCTV cameras.

The letter also said George Hawkins would be challenged for his Manurewa electorate seat by a member of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) before nominations closed on September 1.

“George is threatening a by-election and since the party is broke, there is panic in the ranks over this prospect.”

I have heard from several sources that Labour is indeed pretty broke. For some strange reason having the chief fund-raiser also head up the largest union, hasn’t helped with collecting donations.

Good luck trying to oust George. He has a very loyal local team I am told.

The big question now is will Carter quit Parliament or stay on as an Independent? If he quits, then we have a by-election for Te Atatu. Considering the cause of the by-election will be a Labour MP being sacked for disloyalty because he resented criticism of his troughing, I believe the seat can be won by National. It will of course depend on candidate selection for both parties.

As Carter’s partner, Peter Kaiser, is the electorate chair that will make any candidate selection very interesting.

PS – thanks to the various people who texted me with the breaking news. Was worth waking up at 5 am for 🙂


Thanks to Stuff, a copy of the letter. A hand written envelope. My God.

Interestingly I am not sure the letter is false. It does not claim that there s a coup on. It claims that the union MPs will whack at Goff over his leave comments. I am sure this is true and was planned. It claims Hawkins faces a union threat – again this appears to be true. No secret they want him to retire.

And the third claim is that many expect a move against Goff before the election. Carter did not say it was happening now, or that it would succeed – just that many expected a challenge.

Going back to a Te Atatu by-election, is this finally a seat that Phil Twyford can win the nomination for?

UPDATE3: Colin Espiner blogs:

Closed circuit television also caught Carter popping his missive into the internal mail.

It’s enough to make his colleagues look like members of Mensa by comparison.

Heh great line.

Also a reader reminds me of 2008 party vote in Te Atatu:

Labour 13,171
National 13,183

That was at an election where National beat Labour nationally by 11%. The gap is around 20% at the moment.

Family First and the Sex Party

July 29th, 2010 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Oh a wonderful story from

CONSERVATIVE “family values” party Family First has approached the Australian Sex Party – which advocates gay marriage, prostitution and abortion – for a preference deal in the federal election.

A match made in heaven.

Launching the Australian Sex Party’s South Australian campaign in Adelaide yesterday, president Fiona Patten said she was stunned when an adviser to Family First’s leader, Senator Steve Fielding, phoned her and made the proposal.

Ms Patten said her party was not interested in dealing with Family First, which she said represented the worst aspects of conservative Australia.

Founded by South Australian Pentecostal minister Andrew Evans, Family First touts itself as a pro-family party.

It is opposed to gay marriage and gay civil unions as well as abortion, prostitution and pornography.

It also supported the Government’s controversial internet-filtering policy.

The Australian Sex Party is at the other end of the political spectrum, supporting gay marriage, euthanasia and abortion. It also wants to remove religion from Australian politics.

It will be interesting to see which party gets more votes!

15/15 and not in the country

July 29th, 2010 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Now that isn’t too bad – 15/15 in 54 seconds for a quiz covering a week I am not in the country.

I did have to guess a couple of the answers. I’m glad Phil Goff has taken my advice and appointed a Chief of Staff, but I’ve not seen any actual news reports on it. But I managed to correctly work out who it was by elimination.

London Day 3

July 29th, 2010 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

On Monday night I popped along to a pub meeting with new UK Conservative MP Steve Baker. Baker was addressing a gathering of the “Progressive Conservatives”, which is the classical liberal group within the Conservatives.

The group was co-founded by my mate Shane Frith, whom I was in Young Nats with. I co-founded the equivalent group in NZ, the Blue Libs. So sort of amusing that we’ve both managed to set up classical liberal groups in two separate countries.

At the function, had a nice ego boost when one of the women there asked if I was David Farrar, and said how much she enjoys reading Kiwiblog. I thought I had finally gone global, until she mentioned she used to work in NZ.

The IYDU Chairman, Tim Dier, also turned up and I got him hooked onto Four square. So blame me for his location updates!

The following night I went to see Les Mis at the West End. I can only describe it as magnificent. No wonder it has been playing for 25 years. The songs are so good I am still singing them to myself a day later, and the cast were real stars.

Javert is the real figure of pity, unable to comprehend why his enemy saved his life.  I loved Gavroche, and his death is one of the few sombre parts of the production.

Wellington has great cultural events, but my God if I lived in London I would be going to shows every few weeks.

If you have never seen Les Misérables, then go do so the next time you are in London. If you don’t enjoy it, you need to seek medical help 🙂

Triple Dipper Jim

July 29th, 2010 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Jim Anderton came out claiming Councillors who are also directors of CCOs, should not be paid directors fees. Apart from the stupidity of wanting volunteers to run billion dollar enterprises, the hypocrisy is even worse.

Jim plans to triple dip. He will be claiming salaries and expenses for the jobs of Mayor, MP and Party Leader if elected.He claims he will donate one of them to charity or something but his total combined salaries and expenses will be around $700,000 a year.

The Press editorial notes:

By raising questions about city councillors who are augmenting their council pay with fees from directorships on city corporate entities, the mayoral aspirant Jim Anderton was undoubtedly seeking to exploit the politics of envy to embarrass his political opponents. …

The council undoubtedly needs good directors on the entities it controls. One of them, Christchurch City Holdings Ltd, for instance, is a $2.2 billion company, which contributes large dividends to the council. CCHL is the investment arm of the council, holding shares in seven trading companies that run some of the key infrastructure of the city, including electricity delivery, the port of Lyttelton, the Christchurch International Airport, and one of the city’s bus lines.

Companies of this importance must have sound and competent governance, with directors who have the appropriate skills. The selection process the council uses seems to ensure that any councillors asked to be directors meet those requirements. However, the question needs to be asked whether councillors need to be on boards of council-owned companies at all  or whether there are other suitably qualified candidates, whose selection might avoid the perception that some councillors are simply doing well out of a council perk.

Not all Councillors will have the skills and experience to be a company director. They carry significant legal and reputational risks, and as a director you are expected to contribute to the company’s strategy and direction. These are not roles for volunteer politicians.

Most of the directors of a CCO should not be Councillors. I think it is wise to have one Director who is a Councillor, as it provides a link back to the owner. However they are there as a full Director – not as some sort of unpaid liaison.

Second cable moves closer

July 29th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Kiwi startup Pacific Fibre yesterday announced a deal with Asian telco Pacnet to share the US$400 million (NZ$548m) cost of building and operating its proposed 13,600-kilometre cable joining Australia, New Zealand and the United States. The project aims to be a competitor for the Southern Cross Cable, half-owned by Telecom, and reduce the price of international data traffic  a major part of internet service costs because Kiwis download more than 85 per cent of their net content from overseas.

Well done to Rod, Lance and the team for turning what was ambitious talk into almost reality. This is a big step forward.

The wage gap

July 29th, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Claire Trevett reports:

A war of statistical tables in Parliament left National red-faced after even its own figures showed the gap in earnings between New Zealanders and Australians had increased since it took office in November 2008.

Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee had said in Parliament on Tuesday that the gap was less than it was when Labour was in power  but yesterday the statistics proved him wrong no matter how they were presented.

Prime Minister John Key produced a table which he said most accurately compared average earnings because it took into account purchasing power parity.

But his own figures showed the gap had increased by $22 in the two years since National took over in 2008. Instead, he said it showed the gap was less than it was at the “maximum point” of Labour’s reign  when the gap peaked at $187.60 in 2005.

But it subsequently shrank to $137.89 by Labour’s final year in 2008 and had since increased again to $160.25 under National.

Of course the wage gap has increased. We went into recession, and Australia did not. In a recession you have little wage growth.

I am surprised that a Minister would claim the gap has not increased. Rather than try to push dodgy comparisons, they would be better to outline policies which will help reduce the gap.

911 amusement

July 29th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Over at uncensored they pose 156 questions on 9/11. If you can’t answer them all, then Bush did it.

They also have many interesting questions on other issues ranging from Henry Kissinger to The Sun-Sentinel. I’m not sure what they all mean, but it is disturbing the authorities have been unable to answer them all.

Where is this?

July 29th, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Readers may want to guess the area these photos are from.

A new shopping mall, that opened ten days ago.

Some nice markets and cafes.

And a wonderful beach.

Plus there is a  new swimming pool.

The answer is over the break.


No tag for this post.

General Debate 29 July 2010

July 29th, 2010 at 8:00 am by David Farrar

Australia Vote-a-Matic

July 29th, 2010 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Age has a 13 part quiz on policies to help you decide which Australian Party you most agree with.

I got 50% Liberals, 50 Labor and 0% Greens.

The reason I did not score more with the Libs, is because of stupid policies such as an extra tax on large businesses.

In some areas such as immigration, the parties now have near identical policies it seems.

London Drinks

July 29th, 2010 at 1:05 am by David Farrar

For those I haven’t managed to catch up with in London, I’ll be at the Speights Bar, the Southerner (46 Essex Street, WC2R 1AP) from around 5.30 pm to 6.30 pm on Friday.

London Day II

July 28th, 2010 at 9:09 pm by David Farrar

We are staying in the Kensington area, which means the Kensington museums are all within walking distance, which is great. I’ve previously visited many other museums in London, but not the Kensington ones.

The Natural History Museum had massive queues, so we headed to the Victoria & Albert Museum. They claim to be the world’s great museum of art and design, and I reckon they well could be.

The museum is huge. We barely did half a floor in two and a half hours – and there are six floors. They have a collection of 4.5 million items and 145 galleries!! And no admission charges!

Samson slaying a Philistine

The Ascension of Mary

St Peter

That little dog like creature that St Michael is standing on, is actually Satan in dragon form.

I love this tapestry from around 1425. The bears look so happy despite it being a bear and boar hunt.


A plaster cast of the famous “David’ by Michelangelo.

A plaster cast of the tomb of Richard I, or Richard the Lionheart, at the Abbey of Fontevrault.

In the centre of the museum, is this lovely park and pond with a cafe.

I rate this museum as a must do. The only problem is you need a week just to get around it.