Archive for October, 2011

Shane Jones on Shane Jones

October 31st, 2011 at 5:08 pm by David Farrar

Shane Jones has put out a press release saying:

“Mr Jones’s dishonesty on the rail link is not occurring in isolation, however.

Indeed it is  not isolated.


Hone ahead in Te Tai Tokerau

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

Te Karere have just released a Digipoll for Tea Tai Tokerau electorate. I have full details at Curiablog.

Hone Harawira leads Kelvin Davis by 7%. Margin of error is 5%, which means there is a 95% chance Hone is ahead of Davis.

The party vote is almost a three way tie – Labour 27%, Maori 27%, Mana 25%.

Key is Preferred PM and Harawira most favoured Maori MP.

Trevor can’t tell a fake Twitter account from the real thing

October 31st, 2011 at 3:40 pm by David Farrar

Trevor Mallard has got all excited. he has blogged a tweet from @NZNational stating (falsely) that the mock town hall meeting in National’s opening address was a real one.

The only problem with Trevor’s “gotcha” expose is that @NZNational is a fake account, probably run by one of his activists.

Now I’ll give Trevor the benefit of the doubt, and assume he didn’t know it was a fake account, rather than the alternative which is he was deliberately setting out to deceive.

But so Trevor doesn’t make himself look foolish in future, here’s some things to look at, to work out a fake account.

  1. Check their full description on their homepage.
  2. Look at some of their recent tweets. Do they look like the tweets you would expect from that person or organisation
  3. Check out how many followers they have. As this one had only 91 followers, pretty obvious it is a fake.

It’s not that hard to work out real and fake accounts. The only time I had difficulty was working out the difference between the parody Catherine Delahunty account and the real one.

UPDATE: I have had it pointed out to me that Mallard in fact knew the account was not rea as he had been told multiple times on Twitterl, so it was a deliberate attempt to deceive. Nice to know Labour’s campaign manager continues high normal high ethical standards. It’s a silly strategy because it means the public and journalists will distrust stuff on Red Alert.

Back Benches 2 November 2011

October 31st, 2011 at 1:52 pm by Kokila Patel

THIS WEEK ON BACK BENCHES—THE BATTLE FOR AUCKLAND CENTRAL: Watch Wallace Chapman, Damian Christie, the Back Benches Panel and special guests discuss the week’s hottest topics!

BUSES, TRAINS, AUTOMOBILES-OH MY: As our largest city it makes sense that Auckland has the largest transportation woes, too. City Rail link—how should it be funded? Should we be investing more on rail? Are we too focused on roads? Can the current transportation options keep up with expected population growth? Is Auckland walking/cycle friendly? What should we be doing to improve Auckland’s transport?

SMALL BUSINESSES: Auckland has thousands of small businesses—how are our current employment laws affecting these businesses? Do we need to make changes to our employment laws? What about raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour? Are small businesses and self-employment the backbone of our economy? How do we create an environment for job creation?

Join us for a night of LIVE pub politics from the Britomart Country Club in Auckland: Wednesday, 2nd of November. Our Panel: ACT Party Candidate David Seymour, Green Party Candidate Denise Roche, Labour Candidate Jacinda Ardern, and National Candidate Nikki Kaye.

Back Benches screens on Wednesdays at 9.05pm with encore screenings on Thursdays at 9.05am and 1.05pm, Saturdays at 10.05pm, Sundays at 10.05am and 2.05pm – TVNZ 7

UPDATE: Location of the Back Benches pub corrected.

Vote for an alternative to Wellywood

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

You can vote at the Dom Post for one of five alternatives to Wellywood. The top two options will then go into a run-off ballot against Wellywood. That final ballot should be a ranked one, otherwise it may be seen as an attempt to have Wellywood win by splitting the vote.

My order of preference is:

  1. Te Capital
  2. Wellington’s lost umbrellas
  3. Wellington (blown away)
  4. Taniwha
  5. Eye of Taniwha Whataitai
  6. Wellywood

Make sure you vote and have you say. We all have to live with the winning option.

Tax cuts for the rich

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

Quiz for readers. Which of the the following parties is promising, if elected, an income tax cut for some-one earning $150,000 a year?

(a) ACT
(b) Labour
(c) National

The first head to head debate

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

Brian Edwards writes that he believes Phil Goff will do very well in the televised debates, the first of which is tonight.

I agree. Key should certainly hold his own, as he did in 2008, but these debates should see Goff perform at least equally as well, if not better.

Goff has been in Parliament for close to 30 years. He can recite facts and figures about what happened to unemployment in 1989, the impact of market rents in 1995, power prices in the 2000s etc. Key only entered Parliament in 2002.

Goff was a Minister for nine years in the last Government, and he was rarely rattled in the House. His debating skills are second to none.

Where Goff can struggle is with empathy, coming across as a “normal bloke” rather than a professional politician who is always negative. But he and his staff have spent the last two and a bit years making him less robotic, and I have no doubt he will get that balance right tonight of criticising the Government’s record, and promoting their own policies. so that he is seen more positively by New Zealanders than previously. Key is already a known quantity.

Debates are huge opportunities for Opposition Leaders. For the first time they are being framed as the alternate Prime Minister. unless something goes badly wrong, my expectation is Goff will get a bounce from the debate tonight. The question is not so much whether he will get a bounce, but how big that bounce will be.

Vote for Change and Maxim endorse SM

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

Not a huge surprise, but Vote for Change has come out and endorsed Supplementary Member (SM) as the “Smart Move”. They say:

SM’s the sensible middle. It means that small parties would have representation in Parliament, able to put their policy platforms on the political agenda, but it is less likely that they would hold the balance of power and a disproportionate amount of influence.”

On Friday Maxim also came out and endorsed SM. They argue its merits in this 10 page paper.

I think it is a pity that Parliament determined that SM would be a 90/30 model rather than 70/50, as the 70/50 model is more attractive to me, than the 90/30 model.


The cost of Labour on business

October 31st, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

A reader pointed out to me that if you top up all the different Labour policies, the total cost to businesses will be huge. Off memory businesses would face:

  • Increase in minimum wage to $15/hour
  • Increase in KiwiSaver subsidies to 7%
  • Repeal of 90 day probation periods
  • Imposition of national industry minimum wages and conditions
  • Compulsory KiwiSaver enrolment of 730,000 extra employees

Now the impact of just one or two of these policies would be one thing, but imagine them all in combination. One has to ask, how businesses would go under, or at least have to lay people off? Are these the policies that will grow the economy as Europe totters on the brink of disaster?

I wondered why Labour have come out with its most anti-business policies in a generation, and the answer suddenly came to me.

Normally Labour fund its spending promises from the taxpayer – the normal tax and spend or borrow and spend. However in the last few months they have finally accepted that the public won’t view this as credible.

So instead they’ve decided to use businesses to fund their promises. Hence their policy to fund superannuation/savings by a 7% employer contribution. They’ve reduced the level of taxpayer contribution, and instead are sending the bill to businesses, which they see as a source of endless loot.

Off memory, we have several hundred thousand businesses in NZ. The Telecoms of the world might survive okay as they can just absorb the higher costs, but not all would.

General Debate 31 October 2011

October 31st, 2011 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Mana’s inflation policy

October 31st, 2011 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

I guess economic literacy is not high on Mana’s wishlist.  They say:

Immediately increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour (1 April 2012) and peg it at two-thirds of the average wage (1 April 2013).

I guess someone has to outbid Labour/Greens who think higher wages come from legislation rather than economic growth. But Mana’s policy is even more stupid than the norm. Think about their pegging it to two thirds of the average wage.

In June 2011, it was $24.78, so two thirds is $16.52. So Mana’s policy is it should be illegal for a 16 year old to be hired for less than $34,500 a year.

But their policy will lead to never-ending increases, as if you increase the minimum wage, then you automatically increase the average wage. So even if there was nil wage growth for everyone else, the minimum wage would be going up.

If their policy was to peg it to the median wage, then it would just be moderately stupid rather than idiotically stupid.

I don’t know why parties of the left bother with all this in between crap. Why don’t they just come out and announce a minimum wage of $25/hr?

Campaign 11 tonight on Sky News

October 30th, 2011 at 5:24 pm by David Farrar

A reminder that “Campaign 11″ starts tonight at 8.30 pm on Sky News. It will also replay on Prime TV.

Barry Soper moderates a minor party leader’s debate with:

  • ACT Leader Don Brash
  • United Future Leader Peter Dunne
  • Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia
  • Mana Party Leader Hone Harawira
  • Green co-leader Russel Norman

The panel asking questions is Chris Trotter, myself and television reporter Ngahuia Wade.

There will be four sections to the debate, focusing on:

  1. Economy
  2. Environment
  3. Maori
  4. Coalitions

The programme will run for an hour.

Yellowcake hysteria

October 30th, 2011 at 11:54 am by David Farrar

Good God, the war against science never stops. The SST front page tells us how radioactive uranium has been passing through NZ ports, and the Greens say it should be banned.

Five thousand tonnes of radioactive uranium is being transported through New Zealand waters and docked at Kiwi ports every year. …

“Radioactive yellowcake uranium is on between six and 30 containers on these fortnightly shipments and it is deeply concerning that the government has allowed these shipments to occur. I think many Kiwis will be shocked.”

Last night a spokesman for Prime Minister John Key described yellowcake as “Australian dirt, which is essentially harmless”.

“The occasional transport of yellow cake through New Zealand ports has been taking place for many years. The shipments meet strict international regulations, and are described by the National Radiation Laboratory as posing little risk to the general public,” the spokesman said.But Hughes said that stance was far too carefree.

If we are going to ban uranium from our ports, are we going to ban it from our soil also?

If you have a 10 by 20 metre lawn, then the top metre of soil will have around 1 kg of uranium in it. Quick let’s ban soil also.

Of course we can’t stop there. Uranium exists in water also. We better ban water to be safe.

And then oh shit uranium particles are also in the air we breathe, Not sure how the Greens will ban air, but am sure they will try.

But of course uranium is not the only substance that is radioactive. So is potassium. And guess who is chock full of potassium giving off radiation? Bloody human beings.

So just to be safe, we better ban human beings also, along with the air, the water and the soil.

The Jon2012Girls

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

A very popular video from three of the daughters of Jon Huntsman, who is seeking the Republican nomination for President. They have become minor celebrities.

Who owes what to whom

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

This diagram is from the New York Times. This shows how France is in danger, if the PIGS crash, and that may then flow on to the US.

General Debate 30 October 2011

October 30th, 2011 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

The great parking meter massacure!

October 30th, 2011 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Enjoy this video of a motorist taking to a parking meter with a chainsaw!

The case for buses not rail for Auckland

October 29th, 2011 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Below I blog some documents from Tony Randle, who makes a strong case that the best way to improve Auckland’s transport problems is a bus tunnel, not the CBD rail loop. Tony has done a 93 page critique of the business case for the CBD rail loop, and found numerous flaws in it. He says that the bus tunnel option has never been properly considered by the Auckland Council, and it should be. His conclusion is:

The Alternatives Paper also hides the fact that the Central Bus Tunnel option carries far more commuters on congestion free PT corridors than the CBD Rail Link option while being cheaper to both build and operate. The Central Bus Tunnel option is much fairer in providing a Rapid Transit service to more PT commuters across more of Auckland than any passenger rail system. In recommending the inferior rail tunnel option, the business case fails in meeting any objective to identify the best rapid transit solution for central Auckland.

He also notes:

The deceptive elimination of the superior Central Bus Tunnel option has reduced the debate on to whether or not the rail tunnel should be built. Aucklanders do not know a Bus Rapid Transit tunnel is the superior third way to improve CBD Public Transport being. The consistent misrepresentation of passenger rail over Bus Rapid Transit is difficult to understand . . . until of course you read the title page and recognise the Auckland CBD Rail Link Business Case was “Prepared for KiwiRail and ARTA”.

So the paper which recommended rail over buses was partially commissioned by KiwiRail? And this is what the decisions were made on, rather than an analysis commissioned by someone with no vested interests?

It is also worth considering the lessons from the Rugby World Cup. One broken down train clogs the entire track. A broken down bus results in a few minutes delay only.

I hope the media seriously look at Tony’s work and we have a genuine debate on what is the best way to reduce congestion in Auckland. The Herald has already done a small story here.

Auckland CBD Rail Link BC Review T Randle – Summary Only 111026

Above is Tony’s Executive Summary. But he has done a huge amount of work backing up his conclusions. And remember Tony is no politician, with a vested interest in the conclusions. Likewise he has not been paid by anyone for his analysis, so there is no issue of it being an analysis to suit the paymaster. He’s just someone who wants the best public transport system for NZ cities.

His full 93 page analysis is here – Auckland CBD Rail Link BC – Bus Tunnel Cost Review final DRAFT 111026. It’s incredibly comprehensive.

He has also provided the detailed costings calculations which Auckland Transport refused to release until ordered to by the Ombudsman- Alternatives Cost Model v4a

The Campaign TV Openings

October 29th, 2011 at 3:59 pm by David Farrar

Last night saw the televised opening broadcasts from National, Labour and the Greens.

Here’s my scores on the following attributes

  • Style
  • Policy Focus
  • Creativity
  • Team Focus
  • Relevance


  • Style – 1/10 – the technical quality was appalling, both in terms of sound and lighting. May have been a deliberate decision to go for substance over style, in which case they wildly succeeded. There is a difference between no style and not overly flashy though!
  • Policy Focus – 8/10. Key talked on the major issues. He talked both about what the Government had done and what it will do if re-elected.
  • Creativity – 0/10. Did not inspire.
  • Team Focus – 2/10. In that environment had to be Key only, but could have mentioned other Ministers more.
  • Relevance – 9/10. It wasn’t about trivial stuff, but stuff that people are interested in and want to hear about. Stayed current
  • Positivity – 8/10. Talked about themselves, didn’t knock opponents. Focused on a brighter future.


  • Style – 8/10. Was well done and engaging. Used the visual medium well. You actually wanted to hear the next few minutes of the story.
  • Policy Focus – 3/10. Did not hardly mention any of their current policies at all. Solely Basically attacked National’s policies and records – not just the current National either, but those of the last 80 years!
  • Creativity – 7/10. Not the usual format. Was a good focus on why their MPs are Labour.
  • Team Focus – 6/10. Sensible to use attractive and personable MPs such as O’Connor, Nash, Ardern, Robertson etc. However no mention of Deputy Leader, David Parker. And use of O’Connor was cynical as he is not even on the party list and probably won’t even be an MP.
  • Relevance – 2/10. Not only failed to mention a single policy they were promoting, also spent far too long campaigning against Sid Holland and Rob Muldoon.
  • Positivity – 3/10. Spent most of the time knocking National, and revisiting past grievances. However balanced that a bit by positive statements from some MPs.


  • Style – 7/10. Good use of outdoors scenery. The odd technical hitch with lighting and camera shaking. Nice start talking about richer NZ, then having co-leaders talk.
  • Policy Focus – 9/10. Talked relentlessly about their policies, and how they planed to achieve them.
  • Creativity – 6/10. A basic concept executed well
  • Team Focus – 5/10. Brief mention and profile of rest of the team.
  • Relevance – 7/10. They talked well about the issues around their brand. However not necessarily the issues for all NZers. Nice linking of environment and economy.
  • Positivity – 9/10. Relentlessly positive about what could be achieved if you voted for them. Highlighted their achievements with National. Even when negative such as state of rivers, talked on turning it around.

How did you find them?

I might rate the other party ones tonight, but not sure I can be bothered watching them all 🙂


Blunt on ACT

October 29th, 2011 at 2:30 pm by David Farrar

Air NZ on Labour

October 29th, 2011 at 1:28 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Air New Zealand is accusing Labour of trashing its “beloved” koru symbol in advertising opposing Government plans to sell shares in state assets, including the airline.

Chief executive Rob Fyfe has written to Labour leader Phil Goff complaining that the election advertisement, which is screening on television and the back of buses, “denigrates and debases a symbol that we cherish and one I believe all New Zealanders cherish.”

Labour has a very casual approach to using other people’s intellectual property.

There is also an irony in Labour trying to trumpet Air NZ as the poster boy for their strategy against asset sales, because it is the Air NZ model of mixed ownership which National is seeking to extend.

Is Labour campaigning on buying out the 25% of Air NZ the state does not own? Of course not. So are they saying that 75% is the perfect size of the state’s shareholding and that 72% is evil and wrong? How ridiculous.

Roger Kerr RIP

October 29th, 2011 at 11:56 am by David Farrar

I was greatly saddened to receive the news that morning that Roger Kerr had died, inevitably losing his battle against cancer. My thoughts go out to Catherine, Nick and the rest of his family.

I first met Roger around 20 years ago, when we invited him to speak to a Young Nats conference. He always accepted our invitations, and through his leadership the Roundtable always took a keen interest in getting young people interested in public policy.

I’ve had a lot to do with Roger and the Roundtable over the years, and regarded him as a friend. He was a nice guy whom I never knew to get abusive or nasty about anyone – even those who demonised him. For him, it was all about policy, not personalities. And his intellect was astonishing. He could debate any issue to great detail, and was a walking library of references.

Roger had a great love of New Zealand. I have no doubt he could have earnt much more money if he had not devoted the last 25 years to establishing and growing the Business Roundtable. While of course his views were controversial and often unpopular, Roger was only motivated by a genuine desire and belief that they would make New Zealand a better place. Please note that this thread is not for people to debate whether or not they agree with those views.

An issue which I knew Roger had strong views on was the decision to abolish the youth minimum wage in 2008, as it priced young people out of the jobs market. He wrote on it often, as did Eric Crampton, myself and others. I’m not sure if he was aware of it, but am glad he was still alive on Friday when National announced their policy to partially reverse the changes made in 2008. One final victory for Roger. Of course Roger would have pointed out that in typical fashion National did a compromise, rather than a full reversal.

I will miss Roger very much. Farewell.

UPDATE: Richard Harman has put this out:

On April 16 Sean Plunket did a long interview with Roger Kerr. Roger knew then he was dying. Bue he faced Sean the same way he confrtonted his disease, with boldness and good humour. The interview was intended to be something he could leave behind which would set out his own life story and his core beliefs and hopes. I am sending it out again, as a tribute to a man who believed passionately in debate and who was  never afraid  to stand up in the media to argue his case.His death is a great loss to us in the media and to anybody who believes in the importance of a well reasoned discussion on public policy. 

The PM has also said:

“Roger made a significant contribution to New Zealand business, public policy and the wider economy over several decades,” says Mr Key.

“He was a man of integrity and energy, who was not afraid to debate important issues passionately and often controversially.  But he did it calmly and focused on the issues at hand, rather than making the debates personal.

Herald Poll

October 29th, 2011 at 11:23 am by David Farrar

Oh how the left howled cries of triumph. They said the Rena would crush National. No it was the credit downgrade. No it was John Key’s gesture in Parliament. No it was over-egging what Standard and Poors said.

And then today the Herald Digipoll reports National up 1.5% and Labour down 1.2%.

Mind you while a 23% gap is a good one, it is worth recalling that the important gap is CR-CL which is closer. It still only takes a 5% swing and then a Labour/Green/Winston/Hone coalition becomes a possibility.

General Debate 29 October 2011

October 29th, 2011 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Crossword Answers 28 October 2011

October 29th, 2011 at 7:00 am by Kokila Patel