Archive for December, 2010

Real damage from Wikileaks

December 31st, 2010 at 11:28 am by David Farrar

Stephen Stratford sent me this story at The Atlantic. It looks at how Wikileaks has damaged the pro-democracy movement in Zimbabwe and helped prop up Mugabe. It is a great example of why secrecy does not always mean bad. When dealing with evil dictators, a lack of secrecy will often help the dictator only.

Last year, early on Christmas Eve morning, representatives from the U.S., United Kingdom, Netherlands, and the European Union arrived for a meeting with Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. …

The topic of the meeting was the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by a collection of western countries, including the U.S. and E.U. Tsvangirai told the western officials that, while there had been some progress in the last year, Mugabe and his supporters were dragging their feet on delivering political reforms. To overcome this, he said that the sanctions on Zimbabwe “must be kept in place” to induce Mugabe into giving up some political power. The prime minister openly admitted the incongruity between his private support for the sanctions and his public statements in opposition. If his political adversaries knew Tsvangirai secretly supported the sanctions, deeply unpopular with Zimbabweans, they would have a powerful weapon to attack and discredit the democratic reformer.

Later that day, the U.S. embassy in Zimbabwe dutifully reported the details of the meeting to Washington in a confidential U.S. State Department diplomatic cable. And slightly less than one year later, WikiLeaks released it to the world.

The reaction in Zimbabwe was swift. Zimbabwe’s Mugabe-appointed attorney general announced he was investigating the Prime Minister on treason charges based exclusively on the contents of the leaked cable.

The consequences may be servere:

It’s difficult to see this as anything but a major setback for democracy in Zimbabwe. Even if Tsvangirai is not charged with treason, the opponents to democratic reforms have won a significant victory. First, popular support for Tsvangirai and the MDC will suffer due to Mugabe’s inevitable smear campaign, including the attorney general’s “investigation.” Second, the Prime Minister might be forced to take positions in opposition to the international community to avoid accusation of being a foreign collaborator. Third, Zimbabwe’s fragile coalition government could collapse completely. Whatever happens, democratic reforms in Zimbabwe are far less likely now than before the leak.

To their supporters, WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange are heroes of the democratic cause. Assange himself has claimed that his organization promotes democracy by strengthening the media. But in Zimbabwe, Assange’s pursuit of this noble goal has provided a tyrant with the ammunition to wound, and perhaps kill, any chance for multiparty democracy. Earlier this month, Assange claimed that “not a single person, as far as anyone is aware, has been harmed” by Wikileaks’ practices. This is no longer true, if it ever was.

I am surprised the mainstream media have not covered the Zimbabwe angle more.

I’m all for less secrecy, but that is not the same as no secrecy. And in terms of who decides what remains secret – I prefer those I elect to Parliament to do so, rather than Julian Assange who is accountable to no one at all.

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Whale’s Year

December 31st, 2010 at 11:12 am by David Farrar

Whale reviews his 2010.

If anyone thinks blogs do not have influence, then go ask Andrew Williams.

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The 2011 New Years Honours

December 31st, 2010 at 10:34 am by David Farrar

The full list is here.

The top honour – membership of the Order of New Zealand – goes to golfer Bob Charles. I doubt few would say he is not very worthy.

The rare senior knighthood of Grand Cross Knight goes to New Zealander of the year Ray Avery – a scientist who established Medicine Mondiale, creating affordable products to improve access to quality healthcare globally.

Alison Holst becomes Dame Alison Holst. This will add currency to the rumour that Dame Alison has been picked to become the next Governor-General.

Five Knight Companions – Justice David Baragwanath for his services as a judge. businessmen Michael Hill and Bill Gallagher, educationalist Tamati Reedy and rather deliciously James McNeish becomes Sir James. McNeish is the author of the book that advocates that David Bain did kill his parents, and why.

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General Debate 31 December 2010

December 31st, 2010 at 8:00 am by David Farrar
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The Tasmanian zealots

December 30th, 2010 at 10:59 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Despite the island’s clean, green image, one person in four lights up each day, compared with a national average of 17 per cent.

Those smokers are becoming increasingly marginalised: the state capital, Hobart, banned cigarettes from the city centre four months ago, and the second-biggest city, Launceston, recently decided to do the same.

Other councils are considering following suit, and there are also calls for smoking to be prohibited on the island’s beaches. But if Burnie City Council gets its way, the sale, possession and consumption of tobacco would be outlawed state-wide. Even back gardens would be smoke-free.

Smokers would be forced to go cold turkey – or perhaps emigrate to the mainland.

Forced emigration is so 1930s. I am sure the Burnie City Council could be far more efficient and just proscribe anyone caught smoking – making it legal for them to be killed by vigilantes.

Or they could do the Iranian way. Chop their hands off. Damn hard to smoke without hands.

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The Top Gear burqa controversy

December 30th, 2010 at 10:50 am by David Farrar

The NZ Herald reports:

The presenters of motoring show Top Gear have caused controversy after dressing in burqas while filming an episode in the Middle East.

Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond disguised themselves as women in a Christmas show filmed in Syria.

The Boxing Day episode, broadcast in Britain, featured the hosts driving across the Middle East to trace the path of the Three Wise Men.

However, Muslims in Britain said the show mocked their religion.

Islamic activist Anjem Choudary told the Daily Mail the burqa was a “symbol of our religion and people should not make jokes about it in any way”.

Bzzzt. Wrong answer. No religion should be so intolerent that its adherents demand no jokes be made about it.

Personally the show sounds hilarious, and it would have been equally funny if they had dressed up as Orthodox Jews and driven through Israel. Guess there would be less complaints.

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General Debate 30 December 2010

December 30th, 2010 at 8:00 am by David Farrar
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Now that’s an honest film review

December 29th, 2010 at 1:04 pm by David Farrar

Graeme Tuckett in the Dom Post says what he really thinks:

I’ve sat through some dispiriting drivel this year. I made it to the end of Paranormal Activity 2, Letters To Juliet and even Sex and the City 2, but at about the one-hour mark, I gave up on Little Fockers and, for the first time in five years, I walked out of a film.

Little Fockers isn’t merely bad. There are plenty of bad films I like a great deal.

No, Little Fockers is a turd, lying rancid and cold at the bottom of a very deep barrel.

I’ll break my kneecaps with a hammer to a soundtrack of Kenny Rogers played on the vuvuzela before I watch it to the end.

Can’t say I was planning to see it anyway!

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Trotter on Key

December 29th, 2010 at 12:56 pm by David Farrar

Chris Trotter examines John Key:

John Key’s greatest political gift is his levity. Which is not to say that the Prime Minister is inappropriately frivolous or comical – although he does have a politically endearing talent for self- deprecating humour. The word’s original meaning was “lightness”, and it is in this sense that I am using it.

In many countries Key’s light touch would not be regarded as an asset. When politicians become prime ministers or presidents in these much older societies they are expected to put on political weight, and to evince at all times a judicious seriousness. In short, they are expected to display gravitas, not levitas.

New Zealanders are more than a little ambivalent on the subject of levitas versus gravitas. On the one hand, we do not expect our leaders to embarrass us on the world stage. On the other, we don’t like leaders who put on too many airs and graces or talk down to us.

Many journalists have remarked that when Key became PM, they thought it was inevitable his behaviour would change – that he might stop answering certain queestions because they were beneath him, might start talking in the third person etc etc – but as most would testify he treats people and media much the same today as when he was Opposition Leader.

Key is certainly a very wealthy man, but that fact alone does not condemn him in the eyes of most New Zealanders. After all, he did not inherit his money – he made it himself, by deploying the skills he was born with to their best effect. Indeed, the Prime Minister’s humble background; the fact that he and his sisters were raised in a state house by their widowed mother; only serves to reinforce his fellow citizen’s confidence in the universal attainability of the New Zealand dream.

A large pile of cash in the bank does, of course, possess the power to levitate just about anyone up, up and away from the daily drudgery of earning a living. For many people, however, the levity money confers can be personally devastating. It either breeds a sneering sense of superiority, or crippling feelings of guilt and/or obligation.

But, Key’s public conduct reflects neither of these classic responses.

His wealth does not appear to have had any malign effect upon him. Miraculously, he has risen above even this.

Hence why Michael Cullen never got much resonance with his rich prick comments.

The Prime Minister is not a connoisseur of fine art. He doesn’t attend the opera. He has penned no books, made no scientific breakthroughs, climbed no mountains, written no songs.

He does not mix with artists or intellectuals, nor does he espouse with any noticeable fervour the grand, all-encompassing ideologies and religions of mankind.

He is, however, a husband and a dad with two teenage kids. He does like to watch the rugby. He turns a mean steak on the family barbecue, and he drinks his beer straight from the bottle – just like hundreds of thousands of ordinary Kiwi blokes.

And more to the point when he does, it looks natural – not some desperate PR plot to make him look like a man of the people.

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RIP Denis Dutton

December 29th, 2010 at 11:49 am by David Farrar

Incredibly saddened to hear yesterday of the death of Denis Dutton. I’d been fortunate enough to meet Denis on a few occassions, through mutual conferences we attended. He was a wonderfully clear thinker, and a a real gentleman.

His family and close friends suffer the biggest loss, but many New Zealanders will miss his presence amongst us.

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General Debate 29 December 2010

December 29th, 2010 at 8:00 am by David Farrar
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Obama chalking up some wins

December 28th, 2010 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Obama has done exactly what he needed after the mid-term drubbing, and chalked up some wins. And he has done it by going both right and left. His three major victories are:

  1. A deal with the Republicans on cutting taxes to stimulate the economy
  2. Ratification of an arms reduction treaty with Russia
  3. Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

It’s a nice combination of something for everyone. Almost all Americans like treaties which reduce the number of nuclear weapons. Those sympathethic to the tea party movement will like the tax cuts and the liberals will hail the repeal of DADT.

His net approval rating is now just a -2% average.

The Republican’s main problem is finding the right challenger. A generic GOP candidate out polls Obama, but the moment you put a name in there, Obama leads. This article divideds up the potential candidates as being populists or managers. Populists include Palin, Huckabee, and Perry, Managers are Romney, Daniels, Barbour with Gingrich and Pawlenty (my pick) being a bit of both.

A recent poll has Obama vs Palin being a 54% to 39% landslide for Obama. If Bloomberg enters the race as an independent, then it is 47% to 31% to 18%.

Another poll has Obama beating Romey 47% to 40%.

The net favourability ratings for Obama and the three leading Republicans are:

  1. Huckabee +11%
  2. Obama +5%
  3. Romney +3%
  4. Palin -15%

So Huckabee has some popularity, and is a rare person who can rally the christian base without scaring off liberals. However fiscal conservatives do not trust him, and hard to see the tea party rallying behind him.

If the economy picks up in time for 2012, Obama will be hard to defeat – unless the Republicans can find a candidate who appeals to both their religious and fiscal conservative wings – but also does not scare off independents and moderates.

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What the US Embassy was interested in

December 28th, 2010 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

I’ve found the Wikileaks cables fascinating, as it shows us what the US Embassy was interested in, and reporting on.

In some areas, they have done an analysis which is superior to anything I have read in the local media.

This cable analyses the Kiwi Muslim community, and looks at whether they are heading for integration or insulation.

New Zealand’s small but active Muslim community points to a member of parliament, regular appearances on national television by community leaders, ready access to the Prime Minister and her cabinet, and joint statements with Jewish organizations as hallmarks of movement into the political mainstream. But a recent influx of Arab and African immigrants is creating tensions within New Zealand’s traditionally South Asian Muslim population. This changing ethnic makeup is causing some disagreement over members’ identity and assimilation, as well as concerns about preventing terrorist groups and Wahhabi ideology from gaining a toehold here. The community also faces other challenges )from hate crimes to job discrimination ) as it deals with its continued growth.

They correctly highlight the tensions between the traditional sources of Muslims – South Asia, and more recent migration from the Middle East and Africa. We have seen this play otu in just the last week with battles over the main Auckland mosque.

The Embassy also looks at the Wahhabi faction of Islam, and the internal politics within NZ:

In a meeting with ConOff, XXX2, president of [REDACTED], said FIANZ is essentially a Sunni establishment. X said Shias do not feel represented by the national organization. Although X claimed there are no tensions between FIANZ and the Shia community, X criticized FIANZ for not doing enough to educate New Zealanders about Islam.

And

Contrary to assertions by XXX1 (see ref A) that there are no extremists in New Zealand, XXX3 told Conoff that Wahhabi groups have “overtly tried to influence New Zealand’s Muslim society.” XXX3 said [REDACTED] has sponsored speakers from Hizb ut-Tahrir and Al Haramain. XXX3 claimed these two groups receive Saudi money for their activities. [REDACTED]‘s alleged drift towards or tolerance of Wahhabi ideology made it difficult for Shias and even some Sunnis to stay with the group, and so XXX3 and other disaffected members left to form [REDACTED].

And a warning:

Reftel A showed that the first large wave of Muslim immigrants from the 1960s through the 1980s had no choice but to interact with their non-Muslim neighbors, and was thus quickly initiated into traditional New Zealand life. They were largely English-speaking, educated service providers whose language abilities and job skills dovetailed with Kiwi society. However, since the 1990s, immigrants with limited language and educational backgrounds have come into an already established Muslim community with mosques, Halal meat butchers, and government services available in their native language. If not carefully managed, this could lead to the kind of insulation seen in some Muslim populations in Europe that can potentially serve as a breeding ground for homegrown extremists. While we don’t see extremism taking hold here yet, our GNZ counterparts and many Muslim leaders recognize the ingredients are there.

But the Embassy also followed domestic politics closely – not just the national race, but even electorate contests, as seen in this cable about the Auckland Central race in 2008:

The National Party is making a serious play for Auckland Central, an electorate that has been in nearly uninterrupted Labour control for almost a century. That a 28-year-old virtual unknown has a serious chance of ousting a Labour stalwart demonstrates just how vulnerable the Labour Party is in this election cycle.

That was their summary. And they profile the electorate:

The electorate is dominated by well-educated young adults. It has the lowest proportions of children and pensioners of any electorate in the country, but the highest proportion of people in their twenties. It is the third-wealthiest electorate in the country, but is socially liberal. It ranks last of all New Zealand electorates in the percentage of inhabitants identifying themselves as Christian, and first among those who ascribe to no religion at all. It has the country’s lowest share of married residents, but highest share of partners in non-marriage relationships. It has a higher ratio of single people than any other electorate.

And in this cable they look at the Chinese vote in NZ:

New Zealand’s Chinese can be divided between those with deep roots in the country and more recent arrivals. Members of the first group trace their ancestry to the market gardeners and Otago gold miners that arrived in New Zealand as far back as the mid-19th century. Their forebears suffered overt racism and often toiled in poverty on the margins of society.

4. (SBU) Members of this group to this day often keep a low political profile. While many enjoy a standard of living their grandparents could not have dreamed of, they often stay loyal to the Labour Party. They remember Labour as the social welfare party that was most ready to help the working class and as the most racially tolerant party. This loyalty is weakening as Chinese Kiwis grow wealthier and as the National Party leaves race-baiting in its past.

The 70% of Chinese who arrived in New Zealand after 1991 make up the second group.

So a 30/70 split between those with traditional loyalties to Labour and those who are more heterogenous in their voting.

Huo nonetheless remains Labour’s most important Chinese candidate. Despite not getting the nod to run in Botany, Huo was given a far higher place on the party list than Tawa. Indeed, Huo placed higher on the list than a number of veteran Labour MPs. In a meeting with the CG, Huo’s lack of partisan passion was notable. While paying lip service to Labour policies, his remarks suggested he was drawn into politics not to support a particular ideology, but because the Chinese community’s voice “was not being heard.”

A fascinating insight into the Labour MP.

Huo argued that National’s Wong “does not connect well” with most Chinese New Zealanders because she’s from Hong Kong and speaks Cantonese rather than Mandarin. …

Also, like Huo, Wang told the CG that Wong is “not Chinese enough” and that Botany’s Chinese would prefer a Mandarin speaker like himself to a Cantonese speaker like Wong.

The importance of language!

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Why do lesbians get paid more?

December 28th, 2010 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Eric Crampton blogs:

Says BoingBoing:

“Lesbians make more money than straight women (And nobody really knows why)”Really? Nobody? I can think of a couple of explanations, pretty easily testable.

And Eric’s theories:

First, and most importantly, maternity risk. If an employer expects a lesbian employee to be less likely to take maternity leave, and if maternity leave imposes costs on an employer, then the employer will be more likely to hire and to promote the lesbian over the straight woman. What evidence do we have? Petit’s field experiment showing that maternity risk is responsible for a fair bit of women’s lower average salaries.

Certainly possible.

Second, testosterone and negotiation strategies. Women, on average, are less aggressive in wage negotiations. If testosterone correlates with aggressiveness in salary negotiations, and some evidence suggests higher than average testosterone levels among lesbians as compared to heterosexual women (though that evidence is contested), then we’ve another candidate explanation.

I’d put money on the maternity risk variable. I’d only put money on the negotiations one at decent odds.

Funnily enough, my gut instinct is that a more aggressive negiotating stance would be the bigger contributor to the gap.

But really, if correcting for the observables reduces the wage gap between lesbians and heterosexual women from around 40% [the paper cites average hourly wages of $18.70 for lesbians and $13.34 for cohabiting non-lesbian females] to around 5%, odds are pretty high that there are a bunch of unobservables also correlated with job performance that aren’t captured in the wage regression.

That’s a pretty large pay gap.

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Bain offer no surprise

December 28th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

I have said for over a year that I would be amazed if the David Bain defence team pursue their compensation claim through the normal channels, as this requires a QC to inquire into the case and determine whether Bain is innocent on the balance of probabilities.

There is a massive difference between reasonable doubt and balance of probabilities.

So I was not surprised to read today in the Herald:

Mr Reed told the Herald that Mr Power had informed the Bain camp that it had to prove that “on the balance of probabilities” Mr Bain was innocent.

Because Mr Bain did not have his murder convictions quashed on appeal without order of retrial, and was not given a free pardon, he must also show his compensation bid meets the standard of “extraordinary circumstances”.

“This is going to involve a huge case, which in our estimation may end up costing everyone about $10 million, with an overseas judge to be appointed,” Mr Reed said.

“We have offered a short cut, but that has been rejected. The short cut is that we talk to the Government about a negotiated settlement, because we are concerned that the cost of proving David’s innocence – which we are quite confident we can do – is going to be much greater than the amount of any compensation we would be claiming.”

That’s very noble of Mr Reed to worry about the cost to the taxpayer and generously put aside his own ability to charges thousands of hours of work, by offering to settle the claim without that minor technicality of proof of innocence on balance of probabilities.

I am sure in no way at all, are they worried about having to convince a QC that the “Robin did it theory” is not just plausible but in fact probable.

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Martin van Beynan’s xmas wish

December 28th, 2010 at 11:01 am by David Farrar

Martin van Beynan writes in The Press:

My dear fellow New Zealanders. As you gather with family and friends to celebrate this Christmas and all it means to you and your loved ones, I would encourage you to consider this very important question.

Do you as an independent and diverse country really need the British monarchy? One is touched when one sees the excitement in the colonies at the exciting news of the engagement of Prince William and his lovely, sensible fiancee Kate Middleton, who is such a nice young woman despite being a commoner.

But the time comes when every nation must stand strong and alone and choose, using the ballot box, its own head of state. This would show the world that New Zealand is indeed a unique and separate country. …

It is time for New Zealand to choose its own Head of State, even if that person turns out to be dysfunctional. Every New Zealand subject, sorry citizen, should be able to aspire to the position which currently is open only to someone from the British royal family. We no longer need to fight for queen and country. Country is quite sufficient. …

Her Majesty represents a class- ridden system which upholds the belief that some people have some sort of divine right to lord it over others. This right has usually been acquired at the point of a sword and by bestowing favours on powerful friends. That New Zealand accepts a relic of this system as its Head of State is a sad reflection on the confidence we have in our nation and in the principle of Jack is as good as his master. Gaining office on the basis of inheriting it is not something we should be encouraging in this day and age.

I look forward to the day that our head of state is a New Zealander, chosen by either the Parliament or the people.

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General Debate 28 December 2010

December 28th, 2010 at 8:00 am by David Farrar
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MPs pay should be constant for the term

December 27th, 2010 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Kate Chapman at the Dom Post reports:

Prime Minister John Key urged restraint over the setting of politicians’ pay this year but most MPs seem resigned to the boost in their salaries which, they are quick to point out, was decided independently.

Mr Key was consulted by the Remuneration Authority – the independent body that sets politicians’ pay – and said given the circumstances restraint should be shown.

“He argued there should be a nil increase for MPs, or if there was any increase, it should be in the band of other public-sector pay settlements,” a spokesman for Mr Key said.

The authority decided on a 1.4 per cent rise backdated to July and a one-off payment of $2000 to cover the decreased use of MPs’ travel subsidy. The rise boosts Mr Key’s salary to $400,500 and a backbencher’s to $134,800.

Every year the MPs go through a self-flaggelation when the Remuneration Authority does their annual pay adjustment for MPs. It is either too much, or it is at the wrong time, or it is backdated etc etc.

This will always be the case, as MPs getting pay rises during  term of Parliament never will be popular.

The easy way to solve this, is what I have long advocated - set the salary and associated terms around three months before each election, for the next term of Parliament.

So MPs would get elected to Parliament for a term, on a known salary which remains constant during that term.

This might not have been possible in the days of high inflation, but one could do it easily and the adjustment from term to term would still be a fairly modest single digit percentage.

You don’t even need to change the law to do this. The Remuneration Authority Act says that the maximum gap between adjustments is three years, so it would just take the leadership in Parliament to ask the Authority to move to setting MPs salaries as constant for each term of Parliament.

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Fairfax’s top 25 lawmakers

December 27th, 2010 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Fairfax gallery staff give us their top 25 lawmakers:

  1. John Key
  2. Gerry Brownlee
  3. David Parker
  4. Simon Power
  5. Grant Robertson
  6. Tariana Turia
  7. Steven Joyce
  8. Judith Collins
  9. Annette King
  10. Bill English
  11. Phil Goff
  12. Trevor Mallard
  13. Te Ururoa Flavell
  14. Keith Locke
  15. Metiria Turei
  16. Tim Groser
  17. Pete Hodgson
  18. John Boscawen
  19. Hone Harawira
  20. Hekia Parata
  21. Sir Roger Douglas
  22. Tony Ryall
  23. Anne Tolley
  24. Amy Adams
  25. Shane Jones

Tony Ryall below Metiia Turei and Roger Douglas??? Really???

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Herald’s top political stories of 2010

December 27th, 2010 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald’s top 10 political stories:

  • Holiday subsidies gone
  • Chris Carter
  • Shane Jones
  • Pansy Wong
  • Heather Roy
  • David Garrett
  • Tax switch
  • Foreshore and seabed
  • Mining in national parks
  • Waihopai spy case

I think it is disappointing that only three (arguably four) of the top ten are issues of policy. Four of them are all variations on the MPs perks issues.

The three strikes law should have been in the top ten. So should the changes to industrial relations laws. And the changes Simon Power has made to the criminal justice system are massive.

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McCarten’s Awards

December 27th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Matt McCarten hands out his 2010 political awards:

  • Redemption Prize: Shane Jones
  • Slow-Learner Certificate: Pansy Wong
  • Bad-Taste Award: Those labelling Auckland Central as the “battle of the babes”
  • Giant-Killer Prize: Pete Hodgson
  • New-Blood Award: Hekia Parata
  • No-Prisoners Award: Hone Harawira
  • Try-Hard Certificate: Phil Goff
  • Best-Minister Prize: Gerry Brownlee
  • Best-in-the-Game Supreme Award: Len Brown
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Clark on Wikileaks

December 27th, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Audrey Young at the NZ Herald reports:

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark believes the effort the United States has put into improving its relationship with New Zealand in the past few years has been damaged in the eyes of ordinary New Zealanders because the WikiLeaks cables showed “disrespect” for New Zealand’s independent foreign policy.

That is a typical Clark view of reality. Most would say that the cables have in fact showed Clark’s claim to have an independent foreign policy to be a platitude, as Clark sent troops to Iraq, in order to help Fonterra.

She said the ones authored in particular by former ambassador Charles Swindells and deputy chief of mission David Burnett were “distinctly unpleasant about New Zealand and about the Government, really quite disrespectful, if I can put it that way”.

I’d forgotten how much Clark tended to project herself as being the same as the Government and indeed even the country. So when she says the cables were unpleasant about New Zealand, she means unpleasant about her.

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Ellis seeks a pardon again

December 27th, 2010 at 9:50 am by David Farrar

NZPA report:

Convicted child abuser Peter Ellis is to lodge a fresh petition to the Governor-General seeking a full pardon.

Mr Ellis served almost seven years in prison after being found guilty of 16 charges of sexual abuse of children at a civic creche in Christchurch in the early 1990s.

Mr Ellis, 51, has always denied the allegations and has already had three petitions for a pardon and two appeals against his conviction turned down. An application for a Royal Commission of inquiry into his case was also rejected.

I was bitterly disappointed that the Government turned down a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Ellis case, as there were so many aspects of the case that needed a full investigation.

His lawyer Judith Ablett-Kerr QC said the new petition rested on fresh Otago University research indicating the questioning of the children was below a legally acceptable standard.

I’m not optimistic that the Government will act, but I hope they do. While opinion is divided on many other high profile cases, I know of very few people who think the Ellis convictions were safe – ie proven beyond reasonable doubt.

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General Debate 27 December 2010

December 27th, 2010 at 9:34 am by David Farrar
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General Debate Boxing Day 2010

December 26th, 2010 at 8:00 am by David Farrar
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