Archive for March, 2011

Perigo on TV

March 31st, 2011 at 4:13 pm by David Farrar

Stratos announce:

PERIGO TONIGHT! 

Lindsay Perigo is back with a brand-new TV interview show discussing philosophical, political and cultural topics with a special guest every week.

Tonight’s guest is Stephen McIntyre, former president of the National Organisation for Marijuana Law reform.  With the recent police raids and arrests of cannabis growers, Lindsay and Stephen will dissect the issue of whether or not marijuana should be de-criminalised.

Join us for a half-hour of intelligent discourse.

This should be good. I’ve just set My Sky to record my first Stratos programme. Somewhat annoyingly it does’t give a series record option.

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Angry Birds

March 31st, 2011 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Those who have played Angry Birds will like this video. I especially like the giant eagle at the end.

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They should have stopped with the maple syrup

March 31st, 2011 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Edward Gay in the NZ Herald reports:

Two women who discovered they were sleeping with the same man poured maple syrup in his bed, cooked his shoes in a microwave and threatened to make public explicit photographs he had sent them.

I wonder how long you have to cook shoes for in a microwave until they are done, and what happens to the shoes?

They then blackmailed the man – whose name is suppressed – by threatening to send photographs of his genitals to his workplace, bank and a cafe where his daughter worked unless he paid them $4000 each.

This is where they went wrong. If they had just stuck to the maple syrup and the shoes, then no jury would convict them. But blackmail is not good.

They would have been better with the maple syrup to tie him to the bed first, and then pour the maple syrup over him and the bed. If in a really bad mood, you also then leave a dog or two in the room!

Crown prosecutor Fletcher Pilditch said the offending was premeditated and serious.

He said the pair should be jailed, and proposed a term of between 12 months and two and a half years in prison.

Justice Woodhouse said he gave the women credit for their early guilty pleas.

“I do not consider the harm to the complainant or to his family from this offending will be long term,” he said.

“Any long-term harm will occur from the complainant’s conduct, which was morally reprehensible.”

But despite this, the women’s conduct could not be condoned.

Sounds like the Judge is not too sympathethic to the complainant.

Stories of revenge upon cheating exes are welcome in the comments!

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iPredict on electorate contests

March 31st, 2011 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

iPredict now has all 70 electorates listed so let’s look at what the market is saying about the probability of each seat being held:

  1. Clutha-Southland 97.7%
  2. Hutt South 97.5%
  3. Botany 95.3%
  4. Mangere 95.3%
  5. Tamaki 95.3%
  6. Mt Roskill 95.3%
  7. Taranaki-King Country 95.3%
  8. Helensville 95.1%
  9. Pakuranga 95.1%
  10. Coromandel 95.1%
  11. Rotorua 95.1%
  12. Dunedin South 95.1%
  13. East Coast Bays 95.0%
  14. Wigram 95.0% (to go to Labour)
  15. Hunua 95.0%
  16. Hamilton East 95.0%
  17. Manurewa 95.0%
  18. North Shore 95.0%
  19. Mt Albert 95.0%
  20. Tauranga 95.0%
  21. Taupo 95.0%
  22. Ilam 94.7%
  23. Nelson 92.6%
  24. Papakura 92.5%
  25. Waikato 92.5%
  26. East Coast 92.5%
  27. Northland 92.5%
  28. Christchurch East 92.5%
  29. Kaikoura 92.2%
  30. Rodney 92.2%
  31. Selwyn 90.0%
  32. Tukituki 90.0%
  33. Bay of Plenty 90.0%
  34. Whangarei 90.0%
  35. Manukau East 90.0%
  36. Rangitata 89.4%
  37. New Lynn 88.8%
  38. Wellington Central 88.8%
  39. Invercargill 88.1%
  40. Mana 88.1%
  41. Rongotai 87.4%
  42. Whanganui 87.4%
  43. Waitaki 87.4%
  44. Dunedin North 87.4%
  45. Napier 86.6%
  46. Rangitikei 86.6%
  47. Northcote 85.8%
  48. Port Hills 84.1%
  49. Rimutaka 83.2%
  50. Christchurch Central 83.2%
  51. Otaki 82.3%
  52. Waiariki 82.3%
  53. Hamilton West 81.3%
  54. Wairarapa 81.3%
  55. Te Atatu 80.2%
  56. Te Tai Tokerau 79.1%
  57. Tamaki Makaurau 78.0%
  58. Palmerston North 76.9%
  59. Te Tai Hauauru 76.9%
  60. Maungakiekie 75.7%
  61. Waimakariri 73.1%
  62. Auckland Central 71.0%
  63. Hauraki-Waikato 70.4%
  64. Epsom 66.1%
  65. Waitakere 58.3%
  66. Ohariu 58.0%
  67. New Plymouth 48.3%
  68. West Coast-Tasman 48.3%
  69. Te Tai Tonga 46.7%
  70. Ikaroa-Rawhiti 45.0%

So there are seven seats which are rated greater than 30% probability of changing hands – one held by ACT, one by United, three by National, one by Maori Party and one by Labour. Only four of the seven are deemed over 50% probability, with Ikaroa-Rawhiti deemd most likely to change hands.

There are a further eight seats deemed between 20% and 30% likely to swap hands. One is held by Hone Harawira, two by the Maori Party, three by Labour and two by National.

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The new Deputy Commissioner

March 31st, 2011 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Anna Leask at NZ Herald reports:

South Auckland’s top cop has been commended for turning his district’s crime statistics from the worst in New Zealand to some of the best, and will now take his methods nationwide.

Counties Manukau district commander Superintendent Mike Bush was named yesterday as the new Deputy Commissioner of Police. …

“He achieved great results in what is not only the country’s biggest police district, but the one that is the most ethnically, socially and economically diverse. On his watch the district went from having some of the worst crime statistics in the country to some of the best.”

Police Association president Greg O’Connor said the reaction among officers to Mr Bush’s promotion was positive.

“Mike is a very popular choice. He’s a guy who’s more than come up through the ranks … He really has done the work.”

I’ve only heard positive feedback to this announcement. The job is not a popularity contest, but it is good to hear that the senior Police roles are supported by the rank and file.

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Labour’s choices

March 31st, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Two, maybe three, jobs are up for grabs in Labour. They are Chief Whip and Education Spokesperson, and also possibly the curent jobs held by whomever gets Chief Whip.

Let’s look at Education Spokesperson first. Who are the possibilities:

  • Trevor Mallard. Knows portfolio backwards, but has just been moved out of it, and is needed even mroe as Shadow House Leader without Darren.
  • Grant Robertson. Grant would love tertiary education especially, but has just been given health so is unlikely
  • David Shearer. Is Acting Spokesperson, and generally regarded as a solid performer. Not an aggressive attack dog in the House, but could develop some good policy over time. However election only eight months away.
  • Kelvin Davis. A former principal, and from all accounts a good one. Has been known to depart from ideological purity to put forward common sense solutions. The full portfolio may be too much for him at this stage but could be made Associate for the compulsory sector.
  • Carmel Sepuloni. Is under-used with no major portfolios. Has a background in tertiary education, so could be made an associate in tertiary.

Looking at the above, I’d have to say the most likely option would seem to be Shearer keeps the portfolio, but perhaps get an associate. Kelvin Davis is a viable alternative.

So who will be Chief Whip. This is technically elected by Caucus, but unless the Leader is incompetent they will take soundings on who is a preferred candidate, and nominate someone they have trust in. If the junior whip becomes senior whip (which is normally what you would expect), then you will need a new junior whip also. So who might be in contention for either job:

  • Steve Chadwick. Steve is junior whip and you would normally promote the junior. But not sure she is that close to Goff, and the Leader needs a Chief Whip who they can place total reliance on.
  • Trevor Mallard. Trevor is Shadow Leader of the House and could do chief whip blindfolded. With his injury, he might welcome a role with less travel.
  • Sue Moroney.  Wouldn’t become chief whiip, but could become junior whip.
  • Chris Hipkins. Chris is very strong on House procedure etc and would be a very good whip. May not have gravitas yet to be chief whip, but would be an excellent junior whip.
  • Iain Lees-Galloway. Iain has no major portfolios, so could move into a whip sot fairly comfortably.
  • Kris Faafoi. Probably too early for Faafoi, but is a popular member of caucus, and it helps to have whips who get on well with people. Would have Goff’s trust also.

Presumably we’ll find out on Tuesday who gets what.

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The force of nature

March 31st, 2011 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

This is amazing footage, from the Daily Telegraph:

The footage shows the devastation wrought to the fishing community of Kesennuma by a 33ft tsunami triggered by Japan’s strongest ever earthquake.

The port, around 300 miles north-east of Tokyo and formerly home to 74,000 people, was left in ruins after the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck on on 11 March 2011.

You really need to watch this. At first things don’t look too bad as the first wave hits and a few cars start floating away. But as the water volume increase and increases it turns into an unstoppable force which rips buildings apart.

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PM’s public forums

March 31st, 2011 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Timaru Herald reports:

“I like Allan Hubbard”.

That’s what Prime Minister John Key told an audience of more than 350 people at a public forum in Timaru’s Caroline Bay Hall last night.

Mr Key spent 90 minutes answering a number of questions, ranging from the earthquakes to the economy to the environment. However, for parts of the meeting he had to weather a barrage of interjections from staunch Allan Hubbard supporters.

Staunch is an under statement. With some of them, you gain the impression that if Mr Hubbard was filmed hacking a dozen pre-schoolers to death with a machete, they’d insist he did nothing wrong.

Mr Key answered questions from all comers at the event, hosted by the Timaru Herald.

He replied to questions from Timaru Herald readers about topics ranging from his renewal of a contract for BMWs, to taxes, the Tuhoi terror raids, asset sales and earthquake recovery.

After the meeting, Mr Key was mobbed by people who wanted to get their picture taken with him.

Key has done at least a couple of these in Christchurch also, hosted by The Press. I think giving citizens the opportunity to hold the Prime Minister to account, is very important. I hope these forums will become a permament feature of politics in New Zealand.

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The war in Waitara

March 31st, 2011 at 8:44 am by David Farrar

I had to smile at reading of this Waitara couple:

They haven’t talked for two years and she allegedly stabbed him with a lolly jar, but they still live together.

The saga of a warring Waitara couple continued in court yesterday with the woman vehemently denying that she stormed into her partner’s bedroom, broke his lolly jar and stabbed him with it. …

The jury learned how the two still lived together, sleeping in separate bedrooms, and that Leathart dropped her off at court before giving evidence against her.

From the witness box, Leathart said the two had been together for about 12 years.

Each day he would head inside promptly at 6pm for his dinner, or she would put it in the bin.

So they won’t speak to each other, but she still cooks him dinner, and he dropped her off at court before giving evidence against her.

I think the court should sentence them to remain living together :-)

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General Debate 31 March 2011

March 31st, 2011 at 8:34 am by David Farrar
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Bullying

March 30th, 2011 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The NZ Herald editorial:

Video images of a 15-year-old Wanganui schoolgirl being kicked to unconsciousness by another girl in her class, have moved the Prime Minister to have all schools review their attitude to bullying.

“I worry about bullying,” he said, “I worry about youngsters going to school and being intimidated …” His concern sounds genuine, not driven by an opinion poll. If schools find it a little galling that he thinks they need this reminder, they should make the best of it.

They may have given a great deal of attention to bullying in its various forms, and devised carefully considered policies to guide their response to it, but this is their opportunity to assess whether the policy is working and give further thought to alternatives.

I thought the PM wrote to all schools was a good idea. It isn’t about finger pointing, but it would ensure that at the next board meeting there is a discussion about the current anti-bullying and activities, and whether they can be improved.

But sadly the NZEI gets all defensive, and puts out a PR saying:

Schools don’t need to be bullied into action

The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa says the Prime Minister is misguided to think that schools alone can stop bullying, as the root cause often lies well beyond the classroom.

John Key is instructing the Education Minister to write to all schools reminding them of their responsibilities and demanding they review their anti-bullying policies.

“Schools take bullying very seriously and encourage a zero-tolerance approach. They don’t need to be bullied into action,” says NZEI President Ian Leckie.

You know this really pisses me off. How dare Mr Leckie compare a letter from the Prime Minister to bullying, such as we saw with the 15 year old being beaten up. That just screams to me that the NZEI does in fact not give a fuck about bullying, if they just see it as a term to bash the Prime Minister with.

Leckie should be ashamed of that press release. It trivialises the issue.

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Nodding in unison

March 30th, 2011 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Claire Trevett at the NZ Herald reports on the post frontbench press standup in Dunedin:

Behind him, they nodded like bulldog toys in the back of car. When he announced he had unanimous support from his frontbenchers, it set off a Mexican wave of determined head nodding.

They also laughed. When an apparently ridiculous question about Mr Goff’s support levels was asked, they laughed scornfully as one. When Mr Goff made a joke they again laughed as one, too loud and too long.

Some overdid it. David Cunliffe stood glued to Mr Goff’s side when they arrived and when he was asked how he would have handled it had he been Labour’s leader, he announced “I’m delighted to say I’m not the leader of the Labour Party.” He went on, further announcing that the actual leader of the Labour Party was “right here and he has my full support”.

Afterward, he was again glued to Mr Goff’s side. He nodded so hard when Mr Goff said he had unanimous support that he risked a dislocation. When Mr Goff was asked how he had tested his unanimous support, it was Mr Cunliffe who answered first, yelping “because we told him” and shaking his head in disbelief at the suggestion a show of hands might have been required.

I’m trying to think of what the scene best resembled. It reminded me of the 60 minutes interview by Steve Kroft with Bill and Hillary Clinton in 1992. You know the one – where they are trying to look like the relationship is perfect, but they are just trying a little bit too hard to be genuine.

But on the positive side, it worked for Clinton!

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Cheques

March 30th, 2011 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

AAP reports:

Cash is falling out of favour, the use of cheques is virtually non-existent, debit cards are gaining but we haven’t quite made the leap to paying by mobile phone.

The use of cheques is falling out of favour, with fewer than 40 per cent of the study’s respondents saying they had made a payment by cheque in the past year.

It has been some years since I wrote a cheque out. I do have a cheque book somewhere, but Internet Banking is not just so much easier, but you get a record of whom you were paying and why by using the three reference fields.

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Dyer on Libya

March 30th, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Gwynne Dyer writes:

So why is this “coalition of the willing” (which has yet to find a proper name for itself) doing this? Don’t say “it’s all about oil”. That’s just lazy thinking: all the Western oil majors are already back in Libya.

I remember nutters insisting the Iraq war was about oil. The cost of the war has been many many times more expensive than any oil pumped from Iraq – and regardless the US is paying the same price as everyone else for Iraqi oil.

Maybe it’s just about local political advantage, then. French President Nicolas Sarkozy was the driving force behind this intervention, and he faces a re-election battle next year. Is he seeking credit with French voters for this “humanitarian” intervention?

Implausible, since it’s the right-wing vote he must capture to win, and saving the lives of Arab foreigners does not rank high in the priorities of the French right.

True. Having said that Sarkozy’s opularity has increased due to his leadership on this issue. but I don’t think that was the motivation.

British Prime Minister David Cameron was the other prime mover in the Libyan intervention. Unless the coalition Government he leads collapses (which is quite unlikely) he won’t even have to face the electorate again until 2014.

And this will be long forgotten, unless the conflict is still ongoing in which case it will be very unpopular.

As for United States President Barack Obama, he spent weeks trying to avoid a US military commitment in Libya and his Secretary of Defence, Robert Gates, was outspoken in denouncing the idea. Yet there they all are, intervening: France, Britain, the US and half a dozen other Western countries, strikingly unaccompanied by Arab military forces, or indeed by anybody else’s.

There is no profit in this for the West, and there is a high probability (of which the interveners are well aware) that it will all end in tears.

So why are they doing it?

So why have the Western countries embarked on this quixotic venture? Indians feel no need to intervene, nor do Chinese or Japanese.

Russians and South Africans and Brazilians can watch the killing in Libya on their televisions and deplore Gaddafi’s behaviour without wanting to do something about it.

Even Egyptians, who are fellow Arabs, Libya’s next-door neighbours, and the beneficiaries of a similar but successful democratic revolution just last month, haven’t lifted a finger to help the Libyan revolutionaries.

They don’t lack the means – only a small fraction of their army could put an end to Gaddafi’s regime in days – but they lack the will.

Indeed, they lack any sense of responsibility for what happens to people beyond their own borders. That’s normal.

What is abnormal is a domestic politics in which the failure to intervene in Rwanda to stop the genocide is still remembered and debated 15 years later.

African countries don’t hold that debate; only Western countries do. Western countries also feel guilty about their slow and timorous response to the slaughter in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Nobody else does.

Sad, but largely true.

Why is it only Western countries which believe they have a duty to intervene militarily, even in places where they have no interests at stake, merely to save lives?

My guess is that it’s a heritage of the great wars they fought in the 20th century, and particularly of the war against Hitler, in which they told themselves (with some justification) that they were fighting pure evil – and eventually discovered that they were also fighting a terrible genocide.

Of course not all in the West have this view. Keith Locke said in Parliament:

Five important Security Council members—Germany, Brazil, India, China, and Russia—did not support the UN resolution. They were reluctant to support military intervention in Libya, and the Greens share their concerns. Although we fully identify with the democratic forces in Libya and do not wish to see them crushed, we see a lot of problems with the military intervention as it is evolving right now.

They identify with the democratic forces, but won’t vote to use force to protect them from being slaughtered by Gaddafi.

Generally military force is the last resort. But it is a resort. With the Greens, they seem unable to support military action, no matter how noble the cause.

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Caption Contest

March 30th, 2011 at 11:43 am by David Farrar

This photo is from the ODT. As always, captions should be funny, and not nasty. Note Trevor’s man bag (might be strap from crutches) and I honestly don’t know what Parekura is doing.

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Labour to blame for delay

March 30th, 2011 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Claire Trevett in the NZ herald writes:

Former Labour MP Judith Tizard is denying she is playing games by refusing to quickly kowtow to the Labour Party’s hints she should refuse the list seat left empty by the resignation of Darren Hughes. …

She had checked with Parliament’s officials and was told Mr Hughes had not yet formally resigned so the process to replace him had not yet begun.

If Labour had got Darren to do his formal resignation on Friday, then Tizard would have been forced to make a decision by now. As I read the Electoral Act, someone offered a list place must affirmatively acceppt the place or it will be offered to the next person. There is no provision for someone to say “I’ll decide in a few days”.

So if Labour had got Darren to formally resign, then Tizard would have had to make a decision by now, as the Electoral Commission would be under an obligation to fill the vacancy.

Judith is obviously loving keeping Phil Goff, and the country, on tenterhooks – and why wouldn’t she. I imagine she’s loving the fact she can drag it out. But the solution lies with Labour – get the resignation in to the Speaker asap.

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Who pays?

March 30th, 2011 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Reuters reports:

More than half of British women pay for themselves on a first date, even though men still want to pay, according to a survey.

A poll of 1924 adults for online bank first direct found that 58 per cent of women expect to split the bill on a first date, double the proportion of men (29 per cent).

Additionally, 14 per cent of women think it should be whoever suggested the date.

Only a quarter of women said that they thought men should pay for a first date, while three per cent said they themselves should foot the bill, suggesting that women feel they should not be beholden to men, but that men should also pay their way.

Male respondents, on the other hand, believed that chivalry isn’t dead, with 55 per cent expecting to pay the full bill on a first date, and men spending, on average, more than women.

I follow the offer twice rule. I always offer to pay the bill. If the date offers to pay, I say that it isn’t necessary. If they offer again, then you split it.

Sometimes, the date has insisted on paying the full bill, and I can’t say I have a problem with that. Generally this happens when they earn considerably more than me!

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Kennett on Auckland

March 30th, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Rebecca Stevenson at Stuff reports:

Auckland mayor Len Brown should “just do it” and build the proposed $2 billion city rail loop, former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett says.

Mr Kennett was in Auckland yesterday discussing his leadership of Melbourne and the lessons that can be applied to New Zealand’s largest city as it attempts to become super-sized.

As the architect of the “Kennett Revolution” when he came to office in 1992 he drastically cut state spending in Victoria, “offered 50,000 public servants opportunities beyond the public sector” and turned the city into one of the world’s best event cities through an investment programme which included building the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Kennett was one of the great Premiers of an Australian state. I always hoped he would become Prime Minister one day.

The former premier said Mr Brown needed to choose about five key projects for the supercity from the “wordy” 30-year Auckland Plan out for public discussion.

He recommended a national convention centre, cruise ship terminal, a Pacific region office of the United Nations, an Aussie Rules franchise and to “turn the city to the sea”, reversing Auckland’s inward-looking design.

Not so sure about an UN office, but I like the idea of an Aussie Rules franchise – that could become huge.

Mr Kennett said he opposed borrowing for operational spend but approved it for infrastructure investment. He would not hesitate at all to borrow money to build the link because over time it would add to a less congested city.

“Two billion spent today is chicken feed in 20 or 30 years. I’m currently advancing a new underground rail system for $100b. In 50 years that will be a drop in the bucket.”

I agree that borrowing for infrastructure is good, while borrowing for operational spending is bad. And if Len wants the CBD rail loop, then he should go for it regardless of the Government.

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General Debate 30 March 2011

March 30th, 2011 at 8:00 am by David Farrar
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Two good trends

March 30th, 2011 at 7:49 am by David Farrar

Tracy Watkins in the Dom Post reports:

The figures, to be issued by State Services Minister Tony Ryall, largely relate to the core public service and will show numbers have dropped to about 35,900 from about 38,800 in 2008.

But some parts of the public service are excluded because they are considered frontline. There has been a rise in some occupations, including 1400 more teachers, 1000 more nurses, 500 doctors, and police.

If those numbers are correct, I can’t see Labour getting much traction with their campaign against the changes the Government has made.

Public Service Association national secretary Brenda Pilott said there was no way the Government could cut spending further without cutting services.

The PSA might be correct (obviously at some point, services would be impacted), but the problem for them is that they have made the same claim for the last two years.

He would not say what might fall into the “nice to have” category, but the Government had already chopped things such as community education classes

Oh I had forgotten about those. Remember all the fuss the Oppoosition made about the basket weaving courses no longer being free.

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CERA

March 29th, 2011 at 2:55 pm by David Farrar

Meanwhile as Phil Goff strengthens his leadership some more, Gerry Brownlee announced:

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says the establishment of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) will provide leadership and coordination of the recovery effort following the February 22 earthquake. …

Mr Brownlee said CERA would have wide powers to relax, suspend or extend laws and regulations which would be used responsibly and for clearly defined purposes related to earthquake recovery.

“These are essentially reserve powers and there will be checks and balances on the use of these powers so the public can have confidence they are being used wisely and with restraint.”

He said the public could take confidence from a number of key elements of CERA’s structure:

  • a four person independent review panel to be chaired by a retired High Court judge to assess all legislative and regulatory changes CERA seeks to make;
  • a cross-party forum of local Members of Parliament to provide advice;
  • a forum of Canterbury community leaders to ensure CERA reflects issues important to local people;
  • a number of appeal rights, with appeals to be heard swiftly by the High Court; and
  • CERA will be subject to the Official Information Act.

Mr Brownlee said many of powers in the proposed CERA legislation, which will be introduced to Parliament in the coming weeks, were based on those put in place when establishing the Queensland Reconstruction Authority following the state’s devastating floods in January.

I like the idea of a review panel headed by a retired judge to vet law changes. Also the two forums for community leaders and MPs from all parties is a good idea. While there will be politics at play, I believe all parties want the same outcome – Christchurch rebuilt to better than before.

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Small on Labour

March 29th, 2011 at 2:02 pm by David Farrar

Vernon Small also provides advice for Labour:

Phil Goff’s leadership may not be on the line today at the shadow cabinet meeting in Dunedin, but no change is no longer an option.

That’s also a big call.

Looking again at the wider leadership team including Annette King and David Cunliffe and making a change there may be the answer.

Helen Clark did it in 1996 to shore up her leadership.

At the time her rivals did not have the numbers to roll her, but she recognised the concern in the party at its poor poll rating and knew she needed to act.

The result was her deputy and finance spokesman David Caygill hit the cutting room floor in favour of Michael Cullen, creating the leadership team that was so effective for Labour during nine years in office.

Politically that might work, even though it would be quite unfair. Goff is the one who has ballsed up so badly, and I don’t think King has done anything much wrong – we don’t know what she advised Goff. And the fact the incident happened at her house is not a reflection on her. There’s nothing wrong with having a colleague stay with you – in fact probably saves the taxpayer money.

But Annette is very loyal to Labour, and it is possible she could walk, to save Goff.

There is clearly a split between Goff and the party or at least president Andrew Little over the handling of the issue and the lack of communication. It goes deeper than the papering over of the cracks that occurred late on Sunday when the two finally talked about the issue.

Labour is in full fund-raising mode, made difficult by the current controversy. Its activists on websites and blogs are openly questioning the party’s direction and Mr Goff’s judgment. Its union backers and foot soldiers need to be motivated but are in danger of being demoralised.

Business as usual is simply not an option.

Meanwhile in a seperate galaxy, located well beyond the Andromeda Galaxy, Stuff reports that “Phil Goff has said the Darren Hughes affair has ‘strengthened’ his leadership”

You can’t make shit this good up.

Image courtesy of Iidiot/Savant.

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Garner on Labour

March 29th, 2011 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Well no one say they’ll die wondering what Duncan Garner thinks. He blogs:

Labour’s decision to hang on to Leader Phil Goff after his woeful management of the Darren Hughes affair shows the caucus is clueless, gutless and talentless. And most of all, they have no collective balls.

You do have to wonder how much worse things would have to be, to have something happen.

The Labour caucus has opted to go down in 2011 without a fight. If this was the Australian Labour Party Goff would have lasted just 6 weeks two years ago. They’d be on their third opposition leader by now.

And someone like Mallard could do to Labour, what Tony Abbott did to the Australian Libs – get them competitive. Might not win, but will provide a positive point of difference.

I have spoken to most of the senior MPs, they say – while disappointed with the management of the Hughes scandal – no one is of a mind to roll Goff. Why not? Not one MP is defending him. Goff is now Labour’s biggest liability.

The only MP insisting that Goff handled it well, is umm Goff.

Goff has so many questions he can’t answer. He looks like he’s stumbling around in a pitch black bedroom trying to put on his pyjamas. He’s got more positions than a King’s Cross hooker.

I like the colourful metaphors. Also wasn’t half this problem the lack of pyjamas :-)

The Hughes scandal was always going to be a train wreck – 18 year old teenager, senior whip, alleged sexual encounter, Annette King’s house, police investigation, naked man etc.

Come on – what leader in their right and sane mind could think for one second that in Wellington that would stay secret?

I just can’t believe someone didn’t say “You’re mad if you think this will stay secret”. But the problem of course is Goff did not seek advice from anyone.

I know this is written in hindsight, but the obvious thing to do was to front foot it, stand Hughes down, send him away, strip him of his duties and wait for the cops to rule.

That way Hughes may have been able to keep his job in the short term and do some kind of mea culpa around what happened if the police were not to lay charges.

This is the sad thing. If Goff had handled this competently, it is possible Darren Hughes would be able to remain an MP, if no charges were laid. Sure there may be a period of penance, but resignation might have been avoided.

And who let Darren Hughes appear in the Press Gallery debate, ‘politics is a grubby business’? Surely Hughes, Goff and King who appeared in the debate would have thought, ‘hey we better lie low over the next few weeks eh?’

As much as I enjoyed the debate, it was in hindsight a very insensitive decision to allow an MP facing a sexual assault complaint, take part.

So Labour needs to choose a runner to take Goff out. They need to get organised and stop pretending they’re in Government. They’re not. They’re in a parlous and paralysed state in opposition and Phil Goff is now to blame for that. For the sake of all their grassroots members and other Labour voters – they need to go into the election with a new leader.

I’ve come across people who want to vote Labour because they don’t like National – but they say they won’t because of Goff.

Surely they are not isolated comments. If that attitude is widespread, and I believe it is, it is now the moral duty of Labour’s MPs to change the leadership and draw a line under this hopelessly managed scandal.

Duncan is right, but the problem for Labour supporters is it really seems that no one wants the job.

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Dom Post on Labour

March 29th, 2011 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial today:

Mr Goff’s leadership should be over. The party he leads is bereft of energy and bereft of ideas. Instead of looking like a government in waiting it looks like a dysfunctional rabble. What confidence can the public have in its ability to manage the affairs of the country when it cannot manage its own?

Looking at how Goff has managed the last couple of weeks, you do have to wonder how he would have handled a global recession, finance company collapses, two earthquakes and Pike River.

However, speculation about a move to oust Mr Goff is just that – speculation. Labour has no obvious alternative. Shane Jones is still too closely linked to pornography in the public mind, David Cunliffe has had zero impact as finance spokesman, David Parker is unknown to the public, Mr Shearer is too inexperienced politically and so is another well-regarded newbie, Grant Robertson, about whom the party may have to consider another question at some point. Is New Zealand ready for its first gay prime minister?

For my money, I think Grant will become New Zealand’s first (openly) gay Prime Minister, and I don’t think his sexuality will be of relevance to most New Zealanders.

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Just do it yourself

March 29th, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Tim Donoghue at the Dom Post reports:

A taxi driver stabbed seven times in a frenzied attack has called for all cabs to be fitted with protective screens around the drivers.

Shlemon Yako, 60, was stabbed three times in the stomach, once in his left side and three times in his arms, as he dropped off a front-seat passenger at the bottom of Shropshire Ave in the Wellington suburb of Wilton about 12.15am on Saturday.

The Kiwi Cabs driver picked the man up from the Bay Rd taxi stand in Kilbirnie and drove him across town to Wilton via Aro St.

He said the sustained attack, during which he fought with his assailant, had convinced him protective screens should be compulsory.

I feel very sorry for the driver. Sounds horrific what happened.

But I am bemused why people keep calling for certain things to be made compulsory in taxis such as video cameras and safety screens.

There’s nothing stopping taxi firms or drivers doing so themselves, if they deem it desirable. But why call for it to be compulsory?

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