Archive for July, 2012

Chauvel on the union exemption from lobbying transparency

July 31st, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Claire Trevett at NZ Herald reports:

His amendment would exempt unions and labour organisations, as well as groups such as charities, non-governmental organisations, community groups, churches and sports bodies.

Five trade unions are affiliated to the Labour Party and donate to it, but Mr Chauvel said he had put in the amendment off his own bat. He said the unions were relaxed about the bill, but he believed they were in a similar position to philanthropic, voluntary organisations which were not-for-profit.

“When trade unions came up, it seemed to me that they fell on the not- quite-so-sinister-and-behind-the-scenes side of things.”

He said corporate lobbying had the power to change policy, and was often done on the quiet.

What an incredible argument. Is he saying unions do not have the power to change policy? The CTU has actually written policy adopted by Labour. The unions have huge influence on parliamentary policy.

Ministers are obliged under the OIA to disclose any meetings, if asked. Opposition MPs are not, so any lobbying done on the quiet is of opposition MPs, but of Ministers.

“There is a big public interest in knowing what corporates are doing because they can afford heft lobbying and hospitality, and research and all the rest,” Mr Chauvel said.

I blogged on this some years ago, but be assured that the unions have far greater funds and assets than the business groups such as Business NZ and the Chambers of Commerce.

And is Charles arguing that it is a bad thing for research to be provided to MPs?

Ms Walker said changes were needed to ensure the bill did not cover everyone who spoke to an MP. However, she believed trade unions should be covered by the bill despite Labour’s stance.

Good. The current definition is problematic, and the solutions are not obvious. But one thing I can tell you is that an argument for unions to be exempt is a self-serving one that flies in the face of any claims to actually want transparency.

UPDATE: The Waikato Times editorial is excellent:

Labour’s Charles Chauvel says the bill can be made more workable by exempting the community and voluntary sector from a major burden. He has the gall to include trade unions in that group. This attempt to confine the bill’s scope to commercial organisations, as one commentator observed, would introduce “loopholes you could drive a busload of lobbyists through” while undermining the bill’s objectives.

Wanting to flush National’s business mates into the open but allow Labour’s union mates to continue lobbying covertly is shamefully unprincipled. More perplexing, it would expose a well-intentioned bill to a partisan buffeting that would threaten to sink it.

It is shamefully unprincipled indeed.

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A bad thing

July 31st, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A website dedicated to opposing gay marriage has been removed from the internet the day it was launched after it was the target of one of the “largest unprecedented attacks” on a website in New Zealand.

The “Protect Marriage” website, launched today by Family First, crashed in a matter of hours as a result of a “large-scale denial of service attack” according to the site’s webhost.

It was back up and running at 1pm, but had been removed completely by the webhosting company later this afternoon, to “protect its own servers”.

“Due to large scale Denial of Service attacks against this domain it has been decided to ensure the stability and security of our servers and network, this account has been removed,” said a message from 24/7 Hosting.

This is a very bad thing. New Zealanders should hear both sides of a debate, not have one side get closed down under a DOS attack.

If I had a server myself, I’d offer to host the site. Is there an ISP out there that believes in free speech and thinks it can handle such attacks?

I’m especially annoyed the site has gone down, because it means I can’t fisk it :-)

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Ouch

July 31st, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A Northern Territory man may be flown to Adelaide after a party trick involving setting off firecrackers  between his buttocks went badly wrong.

The 23-year-old man was at a party in the Darwin suburb of Rapid  Creek on Saturday night when he decided to let the cracker off, NT police said.

”It appears a party was in full progress when a young male  decided to place a firework between the cheeks of his bottom and  light it,” said Senior Sergeant Garry Smith.

”What must of seemed to be a great idea at the time has  backfired, resulting in the male receiving quite severe and very  painful burns to his cheeks, back and private bits,” Senior Sgt Smith  said.

Alcohol was a possible factor involved in the stunt, police  said.Paramedics were called although the man had reportedly already  taken himself to hospital by the time they arrived.

If alcohol was not a factor, then that’s one really stupid Aussie! Actually even with alcohol, still pretty stupid!

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The Christchurch Plan

July 31st, 2012 at 1:49 pm by David Farrar

Introducing the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan from CCDU on Vimeo.

A video outline of the plan for Christchurch, for those interested.

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Three Hobbit movies

July 31st, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

More filming for The Hobbit will be done in Wellington after Sir Peter Jackson confirmed the movie will be split into three.

The film-maker today announced plans for the third film, with more shooting for the US$500 million (NZ$639m) project planned in the capital next year. The third, as-yet-unnamed part will be released in mid-2014.

Jackson said the decision to the turn the two-part film into a trilogy was based on “the richness of the story of The Hobbit, as well as some related material in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings”.

“[It] gave rise to the simple question: do we tell more of the tale? And the answer from our perspective as film-makers and fans was an unreserved ‘yes’.”

Jackson said he and co-writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens were keen to make a third film after viewing a cut of the first film, An Unexpected Journey, to be released in December, and part of the second, There and Back Again.

Much of the tale of Bilbo Baggins, the dwarfs, the rise of the Necromancer (arch villain Sauron in The Lord of the Rings), and the Battle of Dol Guldur, would not be told “if we did not fully realise this complex and wonderful adventure”, he said.

“It has been an unexpected journey indeed, and in the words of Professor Tolkien himself, ‘a tale that grew in the telling’.”

Neither Jackson nor Hollywood studios New Line Cinema, Warner Bros and MGM detailed how the three parts would now be structured or whether the Battle of the Five Armies – the climax of The Hobbit novel – would be moved to the third film.

Yay. Even though it means a further year until the final film, it is worth it if more of the story is captured on film. Hopefully it will plug some of the gap between The Hobbit and LOTR also.

I loved the LOTR films but have always been sad that time constraints meant they never covered the scouring of the shire, which was so hugely important from the hobbit’s point of view – showing how they had changed and grown.

It will be a difficult decision whether to have the Battle of the Five Armies in the second or third film. If you have it in the second, what gets people to come to the third – except hard core fans. But if left for the third film, what is the climax for the second film?

I’m guessing that Bilbo acquiring the ring will be the climax of the first film. Maybe the climax of the second film is the killing of Smaug?

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The Govt should wait for final Tribunal report

July 31st, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Waitangi Tribunal has said it wants the Government not to proceed with any asset partial sales until it completes its report.

I think the politically smart thing to do is for the Government to agree to this, even though it will mean a delay. The reasons are:

  • The delay is likely to be two months or so only, which isn’t critical. Selling MVP in say Oct/Nov instead of Aug/Sep is not a big deal.
  • If he Govt declines a delay, I suspect it might annoy the Tribunal enough that they are more likely to make unpalatable findings in their final report.
  • A refusal to delay would inevitably see court action.
  • The Maori Party would be placed in a very difficult position if the govt refused the Tribunal’s request.
  • The public might not agree the the claim made to the Tribunal, but they would find it hard to understand why one can’t wait until September for their final report.

Just to be very clear, if the final report comes out and says the partial asset sales should not proceed until all water rights issues have been resolved (which could take years), then I do not advocate that the Government should necessarily agree to further delays. That decision has to be based on what exactly the Tribunal says, and the quality of the reasoning for their recommendations.

But a delay until their report is done, is not an unreasonable thing, so long as their report is completed by September as indicated.

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“Labour MP clueless on minimum wage price tag”

July 31st, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Labour MP David Clark has admitted he doesn’t know how much it will cost employers if the minimum wage is raised to $15 an hour, despite sponsoring a bill to do just that.

Of course not. Why worry about the cost!

I supported the Mondayisation bill as the impact on wages was minimal – around 0.2%, and it was standardising the practice of Mondayisation. An 11% increase in the minimum wage though is exponentially larger, and is calculated to cost around 6,000 jobs. That is too much in one go.

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National needs more members’ bills

July 31st, 2012 at 9:39 am by David Farrar

In the last ballot for members’ bills, Labour had four of the five bills drawn, Greens one and National none. The outcome was rather toxic for National.

National has 35 MPs who are not Ministers (I am assuming even the Speaker could do a members’ bill if he wanted to do so). This is one more than Labour’s 34MPs, so they should have near equal numbers in the ballot.

However in the last ballot just 63 out of 93 eligible MPs had a bill in the ballot. The breakdown is:

  • Greens – 14/14 – 100%
  • Maori – 1/1 – 100%
  • Labour – 33/34 – 97%
  • NZ First – 5/8 63%
  • National – 10/35 – 29%
  • Mana 0/1 – 0%

So you see why Labour is winning the ballot so much – they have more than three times as many bills in the ballot as National, despite one fewer eligible MP.

Interesting that Hone Harawira has no bill in the ballot. This reinforces my view that Hone is a very good politician, but somewhat inept parliamentarian.

Also I wonder who is the sole Labour MP with no bill in the ballot. Did not have time to work it out.

Anyway what can National do to improve its chances in the ballot, and hence reduce the number of bills getting drawn which are Labour and Greens? The simple solution is they need to make it easier for MPs to have their bills approved.

Pretty much all the parties require a caucus to agree to a bill, for it to be submitted by a member of that caucus. So National is not alone in requiring this. However National it seems is extremely risk averse with what it will approve. They think some bills may rouse opposition etc. The problem with such an approach is you have so few bills approved that Labour and Greens win all the ballots, which cause far greater problems for the Government.

National, in my opinion, should be far more permissive in authorising members’ bills by its MPs. There should be a simple ideological test that what is proposed is not inconsistent with National’s principles, and beyond that a fairly liberal approval regime. Backbenchers should be allowed to propose things the Government wouldn’t necessarily want to do (as opposed as be against). You can always water them down at select committee, rather than deny them the light of day at all.

If National doesn’t get more bills into the ballot, the problem will get worse for them. Many opposition bills get rejected at first reading. That means there are few bills needing second and third readings, which means you have ballots more often as more first readings get done. You need some members’ bills which get past first reading, as they slow the overall number of ballots down.

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Boris on the Olympics

July 31st, 2012 at 8:48 am by David Farrar

London Mayor Boris Johnson has written 20 reasons why the Olympics have been great so far. They include:

We have just stunned the world with what was the best opening ceremony ever produced – and by quite a margin. Danny Boyle’s filmic mixture of Blake, Dickens, Tolkien, JK Rowling etc etc has confirmed London’s status as the global capital of art and culture. Right-wing critics should be reassured that the meaning of the Mary Poppins-Dementors clash has been widely misunderstood. I am told by one figure close to proceedings that the bellicose nanny figure was intended by Danny Boyle to stand for Mrs Thatcher in her struggles with the NUM and other militant trade unionists. So that’s all right, then, eh!

Heh

We certainly didn’t spend the Beijing-style sums on fireworks – since the Chinese blew roughly the sam e amount as the British defence budget – but we unquestionably had the same global éclat.

Fireworks are great, but you need more than that. Not to say China didn’t do a great ceremony also.

As I write these words there are semi-naked women playing beach volleyball in the middle of the Horse Guards Parade immortalised by Canaletto. They are glistening like wet otters and the water is plashing off the brims of the spectators’ sou’westers. The whole thing is magnificent and bonkers.

Wet otters. I love it. I think the last sentence applies equally to Boris. I do hope he becomes PM one day – the world would be a far more interestign place.

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General Debate 31 July 2012

July 31st, 2012 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel
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Auckland land prices

July 31st, 2012 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

NZ Herald reports:

An environmentalist has accused Fletcher Building of being greedy and rebuffed its recipe for solving housing affordability problems.

Gary Taylor, the chairman of the Environmental Defence Society, criticised Fletcher for demanding the Government and Auckland Council expand urban limits to create more housing.

“Fletcher, with its market dominance, stands to make a fortune out of building more houses. But that won’t make housing more affordable. It will, however, contribute to Fletcher’s excessive profit-taking, which is a big part of the problem,” Taylor said.

In a column for the Herald’s Mood of the Boardroom publication last Thursday, Jonathan Ling, Fletcher’s chief executive, said central and local government must free up more land, particularly in Auckland, if the city is to grow and prosper.

But Taylor said it was an urban myth that more land brought cheaper houses.

“It won’t make any real dent on cost because raw land value – a greenfield site before it’s subdivided and developed – is only around 10 to 15 per cent of the total value of a new house and land package,” Taylor said, advocating instead the creation of a more competitive building supplies market, improving labour inputs, reducing development levies and consenting costs and tightening up on infrastructure spending.

I don’t think Taylor’s figures are supported by the facts. In Auckland the land is on average 60% of the house price, while elsewhere it is 40%. Land just inside the urban limit costs eight times as much as land just outside it.

Philip King, Fletcher’s investor relations manager, cited his company’s submission to the Productivity Commission and said land prices made up almost half the cost of new houses so it made sense to make more land available.

“Land price rises have outstripped other building costs by a factor of more than two to one over the past two decades. Construction materials have increased by around 70 per cent whereas section prices have gone up fourfold in nominal terms or threefold in CPI adjusted terms,” King said.

The Real Estate Institute and Statistics NZ found the biggest driver in the increase in house prices has been land value appreciation, King said.

You know I think I’ll go with Stats NZ!

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The Chch CBD plan

July 30th, 2012 at 6:12 pm by David Farrar

The proposed plan is here. It looks pretty damn good to me. The key projects are:

  • A green space around the Avon River
  • The square, with more green areas
  • A retail precinct
  • A convention centre that can hold 2,000 people at once
  • Health, justice and arts precincts
  • An earthquake memorial
  • A cultural centre
  • A metro sports facility
  • An enclosed sports stadium
  • A centralised bus interchange

As I blogged previously, the city centre was somewhat dying even before the earthquake. This plan, if accepted and affordable, looks to make central Christchurch a great place to work, live and play.

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Labour says mining views are close to National

July 30th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

NZ Herald reports:

Labour’s finance spokesman, David Parker, says his party’s policies on oil, gas and mineral extraction are close to those of the Government.

“I don’t think we are much different from National,” Parker said. “They’ve continued on with the programme that we started in respect to oil and gas,” he said yesterday after a breakfast for the Mood of the Boardroom survey in which chief executives expressed strong support for mining.

“We think that mining outside the Schedule 4 areas is appropriate.

“There need to be appropriate environmental controls around risk minimisation.”

That is interesting positioning from Labour. I think they are worried that National has been striking a chord with its lines that you can’t complain about the gap with Australia and also oppose the very activities that are fueling their growth.

Whether this is an actual change of policy for Labour is unclear. They did vote against the EEZ legislation.

The other issue is that there is no way Labour can form a Government without the Greens, and it is inevitable the Greens would veto pretty much any new mining or drilling activity.

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David Garrett on Three Strikes law

July 30th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

A guest post by David Garrett:

Court of Appeal rejects appeal and confirms “second strike” sentence.

When the “three strikes” law was making its way through parliament a great deal of misinformation was spread about  by those opposing it. Among the more outrageous claims was that the law would result in the prison population tripling within two years, and  that there would be a sharp rise in attacks on police by “strike” offenders desperate to avoid arrest. Two years on, seven offenders have received their second “strike”.  Far from tripling,  the prison population is falling, and there is no evidence of an increase in attacks on police.

Another claim – that the Judges would oppose the law, and find ways to avoid imposing it – has now also proven to be nonsense. The Court of Appeal has just released its decision on an appeal by Brock Robert Norton, who appealed against his conviction and sentence for a “second “strike”. The appeal was rejected, and Norton’s three year sentence for aggravated robbery was confirmed.

Norton – just like the other six second strikers – is just the kind of thug the “three strikes” law was intended to target. While still on parole from his “first strike” sentence, Norton and an accomplice invaded the victim’s home and cornered him in his bedroom, robbing him of a cellphone. The victim was injured in the fracas.  Norton first “strike” offence was very similar to his second – robbery and demanding with menaces.

These two are clearly not his only convictions. In rejecting his appeal, a three Judge bench of the Court of Appeal noted that  with his record, and the seriousness of the offending, a further prison term was inevitable despite his lawyer’s plea for a sentence of supervision. So much for “three strikes” targeting poor lads who had stolen chocolate bars from dairies – another piece of misinformation promulgated  at the time by the likes of Kim Workman.

For lawyers – and their violent criminal clients – this decision is very significant. It puts the lie to the claim that “the Judges all hate it”; we now know that at least one District Court Judge is happy to impose a three year sentence on second strike, knowing the offender will serve the whole sentence, and at least three Court of Appeal Judges are quite comfortable with such a sentence.

The real test will of course come at third strike stage – perhaps Mr Norton will be the first to test whether the Court of Appeal is happy with a 14 year sentence for aggravated robbery. That is what awaits Norton if he fails to take the rehabilitative opportunities offered to him in jail – which the Judges strongly recommended he do – and instead re-offends violently on release in three years time.

It will be interesting to hear the bleating of Kim Workman and his ilk when the inevitable happens, and someone goes away for a record holiday courtesy of Her Majesty and “three strikes”. If the first third striker isn’t Mr Norton, it will be a thug just like him.

I regard it as a good thing that Norton will have to serve his three year sentence without parole – especially as he did his second strike on parole. Hopefully the fact that if he offends again, he will get 14 years without parole will act as an disincentive. If it doesn’t, then he’ll not be doing a fourth strike for at least 14 years!

Always happy to run guest posts, including from Mr Workman.

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Nonsense from Masterton

July 30th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

RNZ report:

The Government wants to amend the purpose of local government as stated in the current Local Government Act.

It proposes to do this by replacing the words “promote the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of communities, in the present and for the future” with the words “meet the current and future needs of communities for good quality local infrastructure, local public services, and performance of regulatory functions in a way that is most cost-effective for households and businesses”. …

The mayor of Masterton, Garry Daniell, says the “four well-beings” are a fundamental part of what councils have been doing for communities for generations, and taking them away puts into question the importance of local government.

With respect, Mr Daniell is wrong. The four well-beings were only inserted into the law in 2001, when Labour gave local authorities the power of general competence. Hence they have not been a fundamental part of what councils have done for generations. Unless we are talking on dog years, or something.

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Climate Data

July 30th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Anthony Watts blogs:

A reanalysis of U.S. surface station temperatures has been performed using the recently WMO-approved Siting Classification System devised by METEO-France’s Michel Leroy. The new siting classification more accurately characterizes the quality of the location in terms of monitoring long-term spatially representative surface temperature trends. The new analysis demonstrates that reported 1979-2008 U.S. temperature trends are spuriously doubled, with 92% of that over-estimation resulting from erroneous NOAA adjustments of well-sited stations upward. The paper is the first to use the updated siting system which addresses USHCN siting issues and data adjustments.

The new improved assessment, for the years 1979 to 2008, yields a trend of +0.155C per decade from the high quality sites, a +0.248 C per decade trend for poorly sited locations, and a trend of +0.309 C per decade after NOAA adjusts the data. This issue of station siting quality is expected to be an issue with respect to the monitoring of land surface temperature throughout the Global Historical Climate Network and in the BEST network.

This fits in with what my view is, that there is global warming, and human activity is causing it, but that the extent of the warming is debatable and not as large as originally projected.

The study by Watts and others has been a five year piece of work. I’ll be interested if there is a response to it, based on the science. Even though it still shows warming, the difference is very significant.

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PM says gay marriage doesn’t affect his marriage to Bronagh

July 30th, 2012 at 11:31 am by David Farrar

Kate Shuttleworth at NZ Herald reports:

Prime Minister John Key says he’ll vote in favour a bill to allow marriage equality for same-sex couples because it won’t impact on his relationship with his wife.

Mr Key said on Radio Live he would use a conscience vote to vote in favour of a bill allowing gay and transgender couples to get married.

He signalled his support for the bill in its early stages, but said he was unlikely to change his mind over the course of the debate to allow same-sex couples to marry – given it was a conscience vote.

“You go through all the merits of the argument and look at what people put up; but my view is that if two gay people want to get married I can’t see why it would undermine my marriage with Bronagh,” he told Radio Live.

I think the PM hits the nail on the head. Allowing a same sex couple that loves each other and wishes to marry each other to do so, doesn’t undermine other people’s marriages. I’d say Kim Kardishian’s marriage does more to undermine marriage that allowing same sex couples to marry.

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Will Obama attack Iran?

July 30th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

An Israeli newspaper is reporting the Obama administration’s top security official has briefed Israel on US plans for a possible attack on Iran, seeking to reassure it that Washington is prepared to act militarily should diplomacy and sanctions fail to pressure Tehran to abandon its nuclear enrichment programme.

But a senior Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential talks, said the article in the Haaretz daily was incorrect.

Allowing Iran to gain nuclear weapons is unthinkable, especially as their President has vowed to destroy Israel so many times. Likewise, an attack on Iran is almost unthinkable, as it would destabilise the region, undermine the pro-democratic forces in Iran, and entrench the current leadership.

I do wonder about how it would play domestically in the US though. Would an attack by Obama in election year help in the polls by making him look willing to take the hard decisions? Romney could not attack him, if Obama does strike to remove Iran’s nuclear capability.

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Labour fighting transparency

July 30th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

No Right Turn blogs:

As everyone by now knows, Holly Walker’s Lobbying Disclosure Bill was unanimously sent to select committee by the House on Wednesday night. The bill has flaws, and this will be a chance to fix them and bring some regulation to this area. Meanwhile, Labour has already put some stakes in the ground, offering amendments which would limit the bill to commercial organisations and exclude NGOs and trade unions from its scope.

Quite apart from introducing loopholes you could drive a busload of lobbyists through, this also undermines the objectives of the bill. “National, patriotic, religious, philanthropic, charitable, scientific, artistic, social, professional, or sporting” NGOs – and unions – are lobbyists just like everybody else, and therefore their lobbying should be disclosed. Trying to exempt them simply makes it look like Labour thinks the rules shouldn’t apply to their mates. And that is neither principled nor fair.

I will be submitting on the bill specifically to oppose these proposed amendments. I suggest others who want proper transparency (rather than just transparency for people Labour doesn’t like) do likewise.

These are appalling amendments by Labour, and show their commitment to transparency to be a nasty sham. The specific exemption for unions is especially self-seeking.

This looks to be a repeat of the Electoral Finance Act. Labour talked transparency around electoral finance law, but what they actually introduced to Parliament has no extra transparency around donations (that was inserted in later, after people such as myself submitted the law should be changed), but instead was around fucking over their opponents.

The bill introduced by Holly Walker is well-intentioned. I hope consensus can be found on an applicable regime. But if the Greens go along with Labour’s amendments, then that bastardises the entire bill, and turns it into a partisan hatchet job. If that occurs, then I’d say Parliament should reject the bill entirely (which National, ACT and United can do).

It makes you wonder why Labour wants to hide the extent of their meetings and lobbying from unions, from public scrutiny. I for one think some sunlight there would be a great thing.

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Minto says smash the machines

July 30th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Veteran activist John Minto is set to launch a campaign of “civil disobedience” to close a controversial poker machine outlet, saying he is prepared to personally smash its machines with a hammer.

Why use a hammer. Maybe he should use a Minto Bar?

Minto yesterday led a protest outside Galaxy Takeaways, in the Otara shopping centre in South Auckland, which for the past eight months has operated 18 poker machines.

Its venue licence was cancelled recently by the Department of Internal Affairs.

But Galaxy Takeaways has been given an exemption to keep its machines working after management lodged an appeal to the Gambling Commission.

Speaking to the Sunday Star- Times in a courtyard outside the shop, Minto said he would do everything in his power to get the machines turned off for good.

“We will be back and this may come down to a case of civil disobedience,” the Mana Party vice- president Minto said.

“If outfits like this are allowed to flout the law, the community has a right to come in and assert themselves. And I think this community will come in and assert itself over places like this.

“If a community says ‘No’, I would be prepared to stand with them, all of us with hammers, and go in and smash the machines.

“Let’s do it ourselves. Let’s go in and get rid of them.”

It is a very dangerous thing when any person thinks they are above the law and have a divine right to take the law into their own hands.  Far better to let the legal process run.

Minto said Mana had received figures that Galaxy Takeaways machines had “sucked” approximately $864,000 out of the Otara community.

And how much has been spent on Lotto in Otara? Will that be banned? I’m not saying pokie machines are the same as Lotto. They are more addictive. But a mere statement about how much has been allegedly spent, with no time-frame or comparison is near meaningless.

Minto said while computer games were nothing new on the premises of takeaway bars, such as Space Invaders or Pac-man, he said it was a moral outrage that one shop was now offering poker machines. “It is appalling . . . do you want pokies with your fries?” he said.

I can’t see the problem personally. I would have thought there was less harm having pokie machines in a venue you tend to spend 10 – 15 minutes at, than one where you can spend all day gambling, and getting served alcohol.

“You have got to run an entertainment centre [to have pokies]. This is not an entertainment centre, it is a fast-food outlet.”

If they do not meet the legal criteria, then they will lose their licence.

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General Debate 30 July 2012

July 30th, 2012 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel
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Xero grows

July 30th, 2012 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Radio NZ reports:

The accountancy software company Xero says it has 10 times more customers now than it had three years ago – 100,000 in all.

The company, which held its annual general meeting on Thursday, says based on its June sales it expects to make $34.5 million for the full year.

Chief executive Rod Drury says 57% of Xero’s revenue is now coming from offshore and it is fast becoming an export company.

“We’ve really nailed the New Zealand market – most New Zealand accountants now have some Xero customers,” he says.

Mr Drury says Xero has more than 25,000 customers in Australia, Britain is going well and with a team now in San Francisco, that’s likely to be its next opportunity in the coming 12 months.

He says it took five years for Xero to get its first 50,000 customers and only 10 months to gain its last 50,000, and the target is one million customers in the next few years.

I’m both a shareholder and customer of Xero, and very happy in both roles. I only wish I had purchased some more shares at the IPO.

The big challenge for Xero, for me as a customer, is when they roll out a full payroll module. I still use MYOB for payroll and it is pretty good. But if I can integrate it all into Xero, that would be ideal.

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Code for wolf whistling

July 29th, 2012 at 10:07 am by David Farrar

Beck Eleven at The SST reports:

Wolf whistles from building sites might seem long gone, but workers have developed a new code to alert each other to passing women.

The classic “whit-woo” indicating a female passer-by is an industry no-no, with wolf-whistlers given warnings and moved to other sites.

But workers, who declined to be named because their contracts forbid them speaking to the media, have confirmed codes exist to communicate the presence of women walking past.

“We might yell something like, ‘Wayne’s at the gate’,” one said.

Another identified “Anyone got a spanner?” was their code.

Wolf whistling is rather primitive and aggressive, but I don’t think you are ever going to stop blokes alerting other blokes to the presence of an attractive person. And if it is done in a non-obvious way, I can’t say I see any harm.

 

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Anne Perry speaks out

July 29th, 2012 at 8:38 am by David Farrar

The HoS reports:

A woman better known as the teenager who helped her friend bludgeon her mother to death and whose actions were portrayed in the film Heavenly Creatures says her new life has helped her to forgive herself.

Crime novelist Anne Perry – formerly Juliet Hulme – has started to speak to New Zealand media for the first time in almost 60 years about her role in the murder of her best friend’s mother, Honora Rieper.

She is being interviewed on TV3 tonight by Guyon Espiner. Her first ever TV interview I think.

It was an awful thing she did, but from all accounts it has been an awful burden to bear also – both Parker and Hulme seemed to have led blameless lives since, but ones full of remorse.

 

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General Debate 29 July 2012

July 29th, 2012 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel
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