Archive for the ‘NZ Politics’ Category

Five migration changes announced by PM

July 26th, 2015 at 1:13 pm by David Farrar

The PM announced at the National Party conference five changes to migration policy. They are:

  1. Currently, skilled migrants with a job offer get 10 extra points if that job is outside Auckland, and those points count towards the 100 they require. From 1 November, they will treble that, and give them 30 extra points.
  2. Last year launched an Entrepreneur Work Visa, targeting migrants who offer high-level business experience, capital and international connections. Currently, people applying for this visa get 20 extra points if they set up a business outside Auckland, and that counts towards the 120 they require. From 1 November, we will double that to 40 extra points.
  3. From 1 November employers can find out faster whether New Zealanders are available to fill a particular vacancy, before they lodge a visa application with Immigration New Zealand by being able to contact Work and Income directly to check availability.
  4. The Government intends to provide a pathway to residence for a limited number of long-term migrants on temporary work visas in the South Island.
  5. Government will consider a new global impact visa targeted at young, highly-talented and successful technology entrepreneurs and start-up teams, who want to be based in New Zealand, employ talented Kiwis and reach across the globe.

All sounds sensible to me.

Talking of the conference I was disappointed there were so few protesters there. I think I recognised around half of them personally!

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Social housing priorities

July 26th, 2015 at 9:38 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Government is poised to crack down on people on the state house waiting list who turn down a house offered to them, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett said at the National Party conference in Auckland.

They will drop down the list unless there was good reason — at present there are no repercussions.

Anyone who turned down a house for insufficient reason should not remain ahead of someone else on the list, she said.

Mrs Bennett said that in the year from November 2013 to 2014, a total of 3,081 people on the waiting list for a state house declined a property offered to them.

She later released figures showing that 7 per cent of them had declined a property three or more times.

“They often declined because they didn’t like the neighbour, or they didn’t think the fence was good enough and there is no repercussion for people who decline houses.

“I’m sorry, but that sort of thing has to stop.”

Agreed. Unless there is a really good reason, you need to take the house offered to you.

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Councillors keen to steal dividends off power users

July 26th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

NBR reports:

Cameron Brewer says he is pleased the “sacred cow” Auckland Energy Consumer Trust (AECT) is included in the review. Although AECT is not a council asset, under its 80-year deed it will be wound up in 2073. Its biggest asset is a 75.4% ownership of Vector, worth $2.1 billion.

“We owe it to ratepayers to explore the trust, its deed, legislation and the value or potential of its assets, instead of stinging them every year while council debt continues to skyrocket. The shares are owned by Aucklanders, who also pay rates and it remains the biggest and most glaring nest-egg in the region. 

“I am sure the Aucklanders receiving a $300 dividend cheque every year won’t mind forgoing it if it means lower rates and the money is ploughed into infrastructure that benefit the region.

I’m damn sure they will mind having their dividend cheques stolen off them by the Council.

The Council should learn to live within its means, not look to steal assets off other organisations.

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Hehir on ISDS

July 25th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Liam Hehir writes:

Protectionist critics of the TPP, however, allege that ISDS undermines national self-government by allowing foreign businesses to sue member states over legitimate policy decisions. NZ First MP Fletcher Tabuteau is so concerned about this that he has a bill before Parliament to outlaw free trade agreements that include ISDS provisions altogether – something that would preclude our participation in the TPP.

Consistent with its Hamlet-like agonising on the subject, Labour has pledged to support Tabuteau’s bill to a first reading (despite the fact that it will almost certainly back the treaty when it comes to the crunch).

In fact, concerns over ISDS are probably overstated.

In the first place, ISDS is now a well-established aspect of international trade. Globally, there are already about 3000 treaties and deals with ISDS in place. Our own recent free trade agreements with Malaysia, South Korea and the People’s Republic of China include such provisions (and did so, it should be added, with Labour’s support).

Yes, ISDS is not some new thing dreamt up by the US. Labour agreed to ISDS clauses in most of the FTAs they signed.

Those still wavering can take further comfort in the fact that, in any event, no ISDS procedure will be able to overturn any of our laws or enjoin our government from any particular course of action. The most an aggrieved party could ever win would be compensation for harm suffered. And if our Government didn’t want to pay the damages, nobody could force it to – though our international reputation would take an (entirely deserved) beating if that happened.

This is not to say that we should go along with ISDS in any form whatsoever. We should only sign treaties we intend to honour and a badly drafted ISDS regime could expose the Government to unmeritorious claims that could soon become a serious nuisance. If the risk of that happening outweighs the benefits of the treaty, then the Government should refuse the deal.

When all is said and done, however, there is nothing conceptually untoward about ISDS provided our overall national sovereignty is not threatened (more on that next time). The devil will be in the detail, of course, but in all probability New Zealanders will have more to gain from the mechanism than our government stands to lose from it. It is not, in principle, a sound reason to oppose the TPP.

As Hehir says, there are some ISDS forms which would be bad for NZ. But our negotiators have negotiated ISDS clauses in several previous FTAs, and we’ve never had a problem to date with them.

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Court says prisoner voting ban breaches the Bill of Rights Act

July 25th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A ban on prisoners voting has been ruled inconsistent with the Bill of Rights, in a declaration from the courts that is the first of its kind.

Prisoner Arthur Taylor is one of a group of five serving prisoners who argued that the Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Act 2010 was inconsistent with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

Under the amended act, all people in prison on election day are unable to vote.

Taylor lost a High Court bid in September last year which would have allowed him to vote in the general election. 

On Friday, Justice Paul Heath formally declared the ban to be inconsistent with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, which all laws should be in line with. 

The declaration from the High Court was the first of its kind. It sends a formal message to Parliament that the law it passed was indefensible as it limited individual rights without reasonable justification. 

This is not a big surprise, as the Attorney-General said much the same thing when the law change was being considered.

I’m of the view that the previous ban on prisoners sentenced to more than three years was arbitrary and unprincipled.

I believe either all prisoners should be able to vote, or no prisoners should be able to vote. And I’m not overly keen on giving Clayton Weatherston a vote I have to say.

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Shaw on Muller

July 25th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

James Shaw does 12 questions in the Herald:

8. Who do you like in National?
Todd Muller. He’s a former Fonterra executive now at the bottom of the ladder as a backbench MP. There have been a few times when we’ve looked at each other across the aisle and just gone, wide-eyed, “What is going on here?” We share the idea that we’re here to get something done and we ought to be talking to each other. Todd has a great deal of integrity, thoughtfulness and openness.

I agree with James.

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Corrections takes over Mt Eden

July 24th, 2015 at 3:46 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Corrections Department has confirmed plans to take over Serco’s management of Mt Eden Correctional Facility.

Corrections Minister Sam Lotu Iiga said this afternoon that a management team would take over the day to day running of the prison from Monday “for the immediate future”.

Serco’s staff would remain on site, but a Corrections Department Prison Director and their team would oversee the prison. …

As part of Serco’s contract, Government has power to step in and manage the prison either on a temporary or permanent basis.

You wonder what has been discovered for the Government to take this step?

But this is the good with with accountable contracts. If a provider fails to meet standards, then they can be held accountable – either fined, overseen, or ultimately replaced.

Serco has to pay for the cost of the staff stepping in.

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Herald ratings of Cabinet Ministers

July 24th, 2015 at 3:40 pm by David Farrar

The Herald (print) did their annual ratings of Ministers on a 0 to 10 scale.

These things are always subjective, but I have to say that this year I find some of them exceptionally wacky. The Herald has Bill English as the third worse performing Minister. That is just off the planet.

But here they are for what it is worth:

  • Michael Woodhouse 9
  • John Key 8
  • Paula Bennett 8
  • Jonathan Coleman 8
  • Amy Adams 8
  • Chris Finlayson 8
  • Hekia Parata 8
  • Anne Tolley 8
  • Tim Groser 8
  • Todd McClay 8
  • Gerry Brownlee 7
  • Murray McCully 7
  • Nathan Guy 7
  • Nikki Kaye 7
  • Maggie Barry 7
  • Bill English 6
  • Steven Joyce 6
  • Simon Bridges 6
  • Nick Smith 5
  • Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga 4

The average rating is 7.15.

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Saying different things to bosses and unions

July 24th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Labour leader Andrew Little has indicated Labour will come up with its own version of trial period for new workers by merging aspects of the 90-day trial and a separate probationary period.

Mr Little caused confusion about his stance on the 90-day trial periods last week after he said Labour was looking at making changes rather than scrapping them altogether.

That was to a business conference.

Mr Little’s initial statement about the 90 day trials prompted unions to call for a ‘please explain.’ There was further confusion after a Labour Party member on the party’s Te Kaunihera Maori group tweeted that Mr Little had assured him Labour still planned to repeal it. Mr Little later told the Herald he had not said that but had discussed Labour’s intention to review it with the group.

And then says something quite different to a Labour group.

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1.1% of Auckland rates bills go overseas

July 24th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

NBR reports:

Auckland Council has revealed how many of its rates bills are sent overseas.

Of the 535,057 rates bills sent out, 5617 or 1.05% are sent overseas – 2885 to Australia and 2732 to the rest of the world.

Yet Labour would have you believe 30% of houses are being purchased by foreign Chinese.

This is far more reliable data than Labour’s surname analysis.

It isn’t perfect. Some foreign owners may have someone locally pay the rates for them. But likewise many of those foreign addresses may be NZ citizens who are working overseas. But it gives us some idea of the likely magnitude of foreign ownership.

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Labour’s TPP conditions

July 24th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Leader Andrew Little said his party supported free trade but would not back the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) unless the five “non-negotiable bottom lines” were met.

They are:

* Drug buying agency Pharmac must be protected.

* Corporations cannot successfully sue the Government for regulating in the public interest.

* New Zealand maintains the right to restrict sales of farm land and housing to non-resident foreigner buyers.

* The Treaty of Waitangi must be upheld.

* Meaningful gains are made for farmers in tariff reductions and market access.

These are not unreasonable bottom lines. It is good to see Labour have not abandoned their previous support for free trade.

The issue may be that some of them can not be defined with 100% certainity – you can never know the outcome of a lawsuit. But I note the following:

Labour believes the conditions reflect protections in the 2008 free trade agreement it negotiated with China.

That FTA has investor state dispute settlement provisions, so if the TPP has the same, then that should not be a reason for Labour to oppose it.

I’d add a sixth condition on – that NZ does not have to make changes to out intellectual property laws in a way which would harm the Internet in NZ.

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Mt Eden Prison

July 24th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Corrections Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga probably thought he was having a bad day on Wednesday. But things keep getting worse.

The minister has been thrown under a train by his department after it confirmed serious incidents at Mt Eden prison that, if not entirely proving allegations by Labour MP Kelvin Davis about a cover-up over the death of another prisoner, point to exactly the sort of standover tactics and violence that he claims to be rife at the privately-run prison.

Those allegations include an inmate being chased off a landing before being assaulted by another inmate and hospitalised with leg and ankle fractures.

It’s hard to know what is truth, and what isn’t. Some of the allegations are false (such as being thrown off a balcony) while some such as the fight club are proven. Because it is a private prison, it has political enemies who are determined to do everything possible to undermine it.

The nature of prisons which house the most violent and recidivist offenders in society means that there will always be some violent incidents between prisoners. Unless you keep every prisoner in solitary 24/7.

The Mount Eden Corrections Facility has been ranked the top performing prison of the 17 prisons in NZ.

They are contracted to ensure assault are below a certain level (0.9 per 100 prisoners) or they get fined and eventually could lose the contract.

As far as I can see the Government hasn’t released data on what the assault rate is at Mt Eden, and how it compares to the other 16 prisons. This would be useful to allow us to judge if there is an issue at Mt Eden.

Now the assault rate is only one measure. As I said some assaults are unavoidable. The key thing is are staff acting to stop them as soon as possible, and take preventative measures when they know of a high risk. The fight club videos suggest they have not, and there needs to be real scrutiny of what has happened there (and it is being investigated).

The other allegations are not yet substantiated. They also need to be investigated, but I’d be cautious about assuming every allegation is correct.

The Government’s political response hasn’t been adequate. It should have out there the data on comparative assault rates in prisons. It shouldn’t be last to hear about these allegations.

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NZEI sees sense

July 24th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Radio NZ reports:

A teachers union is dropping its opposition to the Government’s $155 million a year plan to pay teachers more to improve schools after negotiating changes to the scheme.

Yep they were campaigning against a policy to pay their members more money!!

The deal agreed with the Education Ministry opens the way for more schools to join a revised version of the programme known as Investing in Educational Success.

The Educational Institute (NZEI) said the changes include allowing early childhood services to join the scheme, which was originally just for schools.

In addition, the number of new roles for teachers and principals to lead improvements in each group of schools will be based on schools’ needs, rather than on a formula.

The NZEI has been fiercely critical of the Government’s scheme, especially its extra pay for some teachers and principals, and wanted to negotiate an alternative.

Today it said there would be one scheme, with changes.

Education Minister Hekia Parata said the agreement followed one by the Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) last year.

She said, under the agreement, the communities of schools set up by the scheme would become communities of learning that could include the pathway from early childhood to tertiary education.

The changes from the current scheme seem pretty minor – really it is about the NZEI saving face as they basically let their hatred of National get in the way of supporting good policy. But good to see that they have finally shown sense, and have come on board.

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Contrasting two stories

July 23rd, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Interesting to contrast two stories on the parliamentary rugby team travelling to England to defend the parliamentary world cup title they hold.

The Herald story:

MPs will be jetting to the United Kingdom to take part in the Parliamentary Rugby World Cup after being granted special leave.

The team will take part in a tournament from September 10 to 23 – dates which overlap with the start of the real tournament.

Politicians going include Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga – who is currently under pressure over the issue of alleged violence in prisons – and New Zealand First MP Winston Peters, who turned 70 this year.

New Zealand are four times champions in the tournament, which happens prior to each Rugby World Cup.

It is understood the upcoming trip is funded through sponsorship. Players will also be dipping into their own pockets – when asked how the trip was funded, Mr O’Connor said: “my bank account”.

Pretty factual and not sensational. And I’m all in favour of MPs keeping fit by playing sport, and even better beating the Aussies and English. I don’t see this as any different to any other employer giving people time off for an international sporting fixture.

And the Stuff story:

Nine MPs – including two ministers – are taking leave from Parliament to travel to England for the Rugby World Cup.

Corrections minister Sam Lotu-Iiga, his Cabinet colleague Commerce minister Paul Goldsmith and NZ First leader Winston Peters are among those who will skip parliamentary sessions in lieu of the September junket.

So the first two paragraphs make it look like they are merely going to England to watch rugby rather than play rugby – a huge difference.

They’ll play in the Parliamentary Rugby World Cup which runs alongside the tournament.

Also on the team are Labour’s Damian O’Connor, Stuart Nash, Peeni Henare and Kelvin Davis, and National’s Alfred Ngaro and Mark Mitchell.

Parliament’s business committee gave leave for the absence from September 10 – 23, which means the MPs will be in England for the opening, but will miss the October 31st final.

Later on it mentions they are actually playing rugby. Also as one can see they are there for very little of the actual Rugby World Cup.  The first game is on 18 September so they are there for only eight out of 40 pool games and none of the eight knock out games.

Now you can have views on whether the MPs should get time off to defend the world title – that’s fine. But making it look like they are primarily going to watch the RWC is unfair, when in fact they are there for just a small fraction of the RWC.

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Parliament 23 July 2015

July 23rd, 2015 at 12:38 pm by David Farrar

The order paper is here.

Oral Questions 2.00 pm – 3.00 pm

  1. DAVID CLENDON to the Minister of Corrections: What specific events has he been made aware of at the SERCO-run Mt Eden Correctional Facility that could trigger a specific deduction from the performance-related fee, and which of those events have resulted in a specific deduction?
  2. KANWALJIT SINGH BAKSHI to the Minister of Finance: What reports has he received on dairy prices and their effect on the New Zealand economy?
  3. Hon ANNETTE KING to the Minister of Health: Is he confident that the Government is adequately resourcing the public health workforce?
  4. GARETH HUGHES to the Minister for Climate Change Issues:Given criticisms that the carbon target he set is inadequate, will he set a more ambitious target ahead of the Paris climate negotiations in December?
  5. PAUL FOSTER-BELL to the Minister of Science and Innovation: How is the Government seeding more high-tech start-ups in the New Zealand economy?
  6. GRANT ROBERTSON to the Minister of Finance: Does he agree with the Reserve Bank Governor’s statement that “the growth outlook is now softer than at the time of the June Statement. Rebuild activity in Canterbury appears to have peaked, and the world price for New Zealand’s dairy exports has fallen sharply”?
  7. MARK MITCHELL to the Minister of Education: What reports has she received on education in regional New Zealand?
  8. PHIL TWYFORD to the Minister for Building and Housing: How does he intend to reduce the shortfall of Auckland houses in the next two years, given that under this Government the shortfall is increasing by 5000 a year, and the Productivity Commission predicts on current rates the shortfall – now 32,000 – will hit 60,000 by 2020?
  9. MATT DOOCEY to the Minister for Social Development: What is the Government doing to support people off benefits and into higher education?
  10. KELVIN DAVIS to the Minister of Corrections: Why did he state that he only learned about the practice of dropping this week, when he was directly told about it one month ago at select committee?
  11. JACQUI DEAN to the Minister of Tourism: What reports has he received on the progress on the New Zealand Cycle Trail?
  12. DARROCH BALL to the Minister for Social Development: Does she stand by all her statements in regard to the provision of social services?

National: Five questions on the economy, high tech start ups, regional educational, supporting people off benefits and the NZ cycle trail

Labour: Four questions on public health workforce, economic growth, Auckland housing and Mt Eden Prison

Greens: Two questions on Mt Eden Prison and climate change

NZ First: One question on Anne Tolley standing by her statements

Government Bills 3.00 pm to 6.00 pm

Social Security (Extension of Young Persons Services and Remedial Matters) Amendment Bill – first reading

The Bill amends the Social Security Act 1964 to extend the existing Youth Service to all 19-year-old beneficiaries with children, and 18- and 19-year-old beneficiaries without children who are considered at significant risk of long-term welfare dependency.

  • Introduced June 2015

The first reading consist of 12 speeches of up to 10 minutes each, for a maximum debate of two hours.

 

Health Practitioners (Replacement of Statutory References to Medical Practitioners) Bill – first reading

The Bill is an omnibus Bill amending 7 statutes to increase the range of functions that can be performed by health practitioners under those statutes by changing certain references to medical practitioners to references to health practitioners.

  • Introduced June 2015

The first reading consist of 12 speeches of up to 10 minutes each, for a maximum debate of two hours.

 

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Results of Members’ bills ballot, Thursday 23 July 2015

July 23rd, 2015 at 12:31 pm by David Farrar

The four bills drawn are all from Labour MPs. They are:

  1. Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Paid Leave and Work Contact Hours) Amendment Bill Sue Moroney
  2. Education (Charter Schools Curriculum) Amendment Bill Hon Phil Goff
  3. Social Workers Registration (Mandatory Registration) Amendment Bill Carmel Sepuloni
  4. Official Information (Parliamentary Under-Secretaries) Amendment Bill Adrian Rurawhe

Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Paid Leave and Work Contact Hours) Amendment Bill

This bill extends paid parental leave to 26 weeks and adds provisions around work contact hours, where working parents are entitled to the flexibility of returning to work for a certain amount of time during the parental leave period without losing their entitlement to paid parental leave.

Note that the Government has already increased the duration of leave from 14 weeks to 18 weeks. This bill is unlikely to progress unless United Future support it.

Education (Charter Schools Curriculum) Amendment Bill

This Bill would requiring partnership schools kura hourua (“charter schools”) to teach the NZ curriculum.

This undermines the whole idea of charter schools having flexibility (like private schools) and is unlikely to be supported.

Social Workers Registration (Mandatory Registration) Amendment Bill

This Bill implements recommendations made to the Minister for Social Development by the Social Workers Registration Board to provide for the current voluntary system of registration for practising social workers to become a mandatory system.

I think this bill is worth supporting at least through first reading.

Official Information (Parliamentary Under-Secretaries) Amendment Bill

This Bill would ensure that information held by Parliamentary Under-Secretaries in their official capacity is official information, and subject to the Official Information Act 1982.

I support this bill and think it should be passed.

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Goff oversaw four times as many land sales as National

July 23rd, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Government has “rubber stamped” $6 billion worth of farm sales to overseas investors over the past three years, Labour claims.

Labour MP Phil Goff’s bill seeking to curb rural land sales to overseas buyers failed by just one vote in Parliament on Wednesday, sparking an angry debate and accusations of racism.

Speaking during debate on his Overseas Investment (Owning our Own Rural Land) Amendment Bill, Goff conceded the last Labour government allowed too much land to be sold to overseas buyers  – “but to its credit it changed its policy four years ago”.

Opposing in opposition what you did in Government isn’t credit, more hypocrisy.

The bill sought to curb foreign investment in rural land by imposing a rule that it must deliver benefits over and above what a New Zealand investor could produce.

Goff accused National of rubber-stamping every one of the nearly 400 applications from overseas investors to buy New Zealand farmland over the past three years.

“It is clear that National has not followed up on public concern about the ease with which foreign investors can buy New Zealand farmland and ministers are just acting as a rubber stamp. The result is 140,000 hectares of our land, worth over $6 billion, has passed into overseas ownership in just three years.”

And how much was sold under Labour? Goff and his colleagues approved 1,431 applications for 650,00 hectares.

So the rate of land sales is one quarter what it was under Labour.

Incidentally the amount of land in NZ is 26,802,100 hectares. So the amount sold under National is 0.5%. Also note that in some of these cases it would be one foreign owner selling to another foreign owner.

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Little’s hypocrisy on the flag referendum

July 23rd, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Andrew Little yesterday demanded the Government stop the flag referendum saying there was no need for one.

Here’s Labour’s official policy from 2014:

Labour will: review the design of the New Zealand flag involving flag design experts and with full public consultation and involvement.

We believe that the time has come for a change and it is right for the issue to be put to the public.

And in case that isn’t clear enough, here’s his personal views from last October:

Q: Should NZ change its flag: What’s your personal opinion? Should there be a referendum? If you want the flag changed, what’s your favourite design?

A: Yes, my personal opinion is we should have something more relevant to an independent, small Asia/Pacific nation. I think a referendum is a suitable way to deal with an issue that can be very polarising. I don’t like the idea of the silver fern on a black background. The elements I would like to see in a flag are the Southern Cross, blue for the sea, green for the land and mountains, and a reference to our Maori heritage.

So Little’s demand yesterday to scrap the referendum is pure hypocrisy.  He’s now against it, because the PM proposed it.

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Members’ bills ballot, Thursday 23 July 2015

July 23rd, 2015 at 8:24 am by David Farrar

With four members’ bills yesterday completing their first readings, that means another four get drawn from the ballot today. Those in the ballot as of late last night are:

 

Bill Title Member Name
1 Accident Compensation (Recent Migrants and Returning New Zealanders) Amendment Bill Melissa Lee
2 Affordable Healthcare Bill Barbara Stewart
3 Age of Majority (Attainment at 18 Years) Amendment Bill Brett Hudson
4 Better Public Service Target Results Independent Audit Bill Tracey Martin
5 Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Relationships Registration (Preventing Name Change by Child Sex Offenders) Amendment Bill Dr Jian Yang
6 Buy New Zealand (Procurement) Bill Richard Prosser
7 Care of Children (Adoption and Surrogacy Law Reform) Amendment Bill Kevin Hague
8 Charter Schools (Application of Official Information and Ombudsmen Acts) Bill Hon Nanaia Mahuta
9 Child Poverty Reduction and Eradication Bill Jacinda Ardern
10 Children, Young Persons, and Their Families (Parent’s and Guardian’s Responsibility) Amendment Bill Barbara Kuriger
11 Climate Change (Divestment from Fossil Fuels) Bill Dr Russel Norman
12 Commerce (Supermarket Adjudicator and Code of Conduct) Amendment Bill Mojo Mathers
13 Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance (Break Fees Disclosure) Amendment Bill Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi
14 Crimes (Corporate Manslaughter) Amendment Bill Hon Damien O’Connor
15 Crimes (Non-fatal Strangulation) Amendment Bill Kelvin Davis
16 Criminal Procedure (Removing Paedophile Name Suppression) Amendment Bill Pita Paraone
17 Crown Minerals (Protection of World Heritage Sites) Amendment Bill Hon Ruth Dyson
18 Customs and Excise (Prohibition of Imports Made by Slave Labour) Amendment Bill Peeni Henare
19 Domestic Violence—Victims’ Protection Bill Jan Logie
20 Education (Charter Schools Abolition) Amendment Bill Chris Hipkins
21 Education (Charter Schools Curriculum) Amendment Bill Hon Phil Goff
22 Education (Charter Schools Teacher Quality) Amendment Bill Louisa Wall
23 Education (Public Good not Profit from Charter Schools) Amendment Bill Dr David Clark
24 Education (Restoration of Democracy to University Councils) Amendment Bill Hon David Cunliffe
25 Electricity Industry (Energy Efficiency) Amendment Bill Rino Tirikatene
26 Electricity Industry (Small-Scale Renewable Distributed Generation) Amendment Bill Gareth Hughes
27 Electricity Transparency Bill David Shearer
28 Employment Relations (Allowing Higher Earners to Contract Out of Personal Grievance Provisions) Amendment Bill Scott Simpson
29 Employment Relations (Certainty at Work) Amendment Bill Iain Lees-Galloway
30 Employment Relations (Restoring Kiwis’ Right to a Break at Work) Amendment Bill Jenny Salesa
31 Energy Efficiency and Conservation (Warm Healthy Rentals Warrant of Fitness) Amendment Bill Metiria Turei
32 Environment Canterbury (Democracy Restoration) Amendment Bill Dr Megan Woods
33 Family Proceedings (Paternity Orders and Parentage Tests) Amendment Bill Jacqui Dean
34 Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No 2) Andrew Little
35 Immigration (Refugee Quota) Amendment Bill Denise Roche
36 Independent Prison Inspectorate Bill David Clendon
37 International Non-Aggression and Lawful Use of Force (Implementation of Amendment to Statute of Rome) Bill Dr Kennedy Graham
38 Keep Kiwibank Bill Hon Clayton Cosgrove
39 Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Establishment Bill Eugenie Sage
40 Land Transfer (Foreign Ownership of Land Register) Amendment Bill Mahesh Bindra
41 Land Transport (Vulnerable Road Users) Amendment Bill Julie Anne Genter
42 Legislation (Climate Impact Disclosure Statement) Amendment Bill James Shaw
43 Life Jackets for Children and Young Persons Bill Alfred Ngaro
44 Local Government (Four Well-beings) Amendment Bill Su’a William Sio
45 Local Government (Freedom of Access) Amendment Bill Paul Foster-Bell
46 Marriage (Court Consent to Marriage of Minors) Amendment Bill Joanne Hayes
47 Nurse Practitioners Bill Hon Annette King
48 Oaths and Declarations (Endorsing the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi) Amendment Bill Marama Fox
49 Oaths and Declarations (Members of Parliament) Amendment Bill Meka Whaitiri
50 Official Information (Parliamentary Under-Secretaries) Amendment Bill Adrian Rurawhe
51 Overseas Investment (Protection of New Zealand Homebuyers) Amendment Bill Phil Twyford
52 Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months’ Paid Leave and Work Contact Hours) Amendment Bill Sue Moroney
53 Private International Law (Choice of Law in Tort) Bill David Bennett
54 Public Finance (Sustainable Development Indicators) Amendment Bill Steffan Browning
55 Public Works (Prohibition of Compulsory Acquisition of Māori Land) Amendment Bill Catherine Delahunty
56 Radiocommunications (Enhanced Public Broadcasting Provision) Amendment Bill Kris Faafoi
57 Receiverships (Agricultural Debt Mediation) Amendment Bill Ron Mark
58 Sentencing (Domestic Violence) Amendment Bill Poto Williams
59 Sentencing (Livestock Rustling) Amendment Bill Ian McKelvie
60 Shop Trading Hours Act Repeal (Shopping Centre Opening Hours) Amendment Bill Hon Trevor Mallard
61 Social Security (Apprenticeship Assistance for Youth) Amendment Bill Grant Robertson
62 Social Security (Pathway to Work) Amendment Bill Stuart Nash
63 Social Security (Stopping Benefit Payments for Offenders who Repeatedly Fail to Comply with Community Sentences) Amendment Bill Mark Mitchell
64 Social Workers Registration (Mandatory Registration) Amendment Bill Carmel Sepuloni
65 Summary Offences (Drink or Drugs Affecting Behaviour) Amendment Bill Clayton Mitchell
66 Summary Proceedings (Warrant for Detention Conditions) Amendment Bill Jonathan Young
67 Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Amendment Bill Clare Curran
68 Vulnerable Children (Mandatory Social Worker Registration) Amendment Bill Ria Bond
69 Waitemata Harbour Protection Bill Rt Hon Winston Peters

The bills by party (Ministers excluded) are:

  • National – 14/34
  • Labour – 32/32
  • Greens – 14/14
  • NZ First -8/12
  • Maori – 1/1
  • ACT – 0/1

If the other 20 National MPs got a bill in the ballot (or could get agreement of the hierarchy for their bills) then the chances of a non hostile bill being drawn would increase from 14/69 to 34/89 or from 20% to 38%.

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Labour needs to investigate these pie chefs

July 23rd, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A potato-top pie has won the top pie award at the 19th annual Bakels New Zealand Supreme Pie Awards.

The tasty treat, from New World Greenmeadows bakery in Napier, beat 512 other competitors at the gala dinner on Tuesday night.

Judges described the pie as a “perfect ratio between a flavoursome filling, a super creamy potato top, and a delicious pastry shell.”

Great that we have pie awards.

But I detect something very sinister in the list of winners. Have a look:

Gold Award Winners

Mince and Gravy: Khemara Yin, The Bakehouse Café, Thames

Steak and Gravy: Bunchoeun Keo, One Tree Bakery, Mt Maunganui

Chicken and Vegetable: Srieng Choeu, Fresh Bun Café, Tuakau

Gourmet Fruit (Blueberry and Spiced Apple): Sao Bunarith, Dairy Flat Bakery, Albany

Gourmet Meat (Butter Chicken): Srieng Choeu, Fresh Bun Café, Tuakau

Vegetarian (Bok Choy, Carrot, Parsnip and Kumara): Bunny Te, Angkor Wat Bakery and Café, Bay of Plenty

Bacon and Egg: Vong Hean, Mairangi Bay Bakery, Mairangi Bay

Mince and Cheese: Sopheap Chouk, Te Awamutu Bakehouse Café, Te Awamutu

Steak and Cheese: Roger Cathro, Pak n Save, Petone

Potato Top Pie: New World Greenmeadows, Napier

Commercial Wholesale: Phil Lyons, Couplands Bakeries, Christchurch

Café Boutique (Caramelised Walnuts, Pear and Blue Cheese Tart): Zaqeeyan Zakhiyan, Divine Cakes and Desserts, Christchurch

Nine out of the 11 winners have chinese sounding surnames. According to the Labour Party and Phil Twyford it is absolutely implausible they could all be New Zealanders, as Chinese are just 9.5% of Auckland.

So I expect Labour to demand an urgent inquiry into the foreign takeover of the Kiwi pie industry.

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Some of the Villa allegations already discredited

July 22nd, 2015 at 7:35 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The school under fire for bribing its kids with takeaways says it never served fried chicken – only pizza.

Villa Education Trust, which runs Middle School West Auckland, is yet to respond to questions from the New Zealand Herald, but told the Ministry of Education today they don’t use food as part of any rewards or behaviour programme at the school.

“The school had a shared lunch just before the end of term where pizza was brought in.

They have told us Kentucky Fried Chicken hasn’t been served to students,” the ministry said.

“This was not part of any behaviour programme. It is common for schools to have shared lunches.”

There may be some substance to the other allegations, but I’m sceptical.

One has to put in context that there is a vigorous campaign to discredit and destroy charter schools. No other schools in New Zealand face such a well funded and ongoing campaign. Everything possible to undermine them has been attempted from boycotts, to press campaigns.

This doesn’t mean that allegations should be ignored. But it does mean that allegations without any proof should not be treated as authoritative, even if the media does.

We have a robust system of checks of schools, and even ore on charter schools than most schools. They have targets agreed with with the Ministry, which they can be held against. The ERO can and does review them. And most of all as they have no zones which force people to attend the local school, not students are forced to attend them. If they do not provide good educational outcomes, then parents won’t enrol in them.

Russel Brown at Public Address said that I won’t report negatively on any charter schools. This is false. Not only did I blog earlier today on the allegations, I also have blogged on the Whangaruru charter school that is having considerable problems.

I’d turn about the false claim by Russel, and ask him when has he (or maybe any left blogger) ever published a positive article on a charter school? And what would it take for him to do so? Are the academic results achieved at Vanguard not sufficient?

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PM on foreign ownership and houses

July 22nd, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Prime Minister John Key has signalled the Government may tighten rules on foreigners buying houses if a new register shows a scale the public is unhappy with.

In his first day back at work since Labour released data showing a large proportion of house sales in Auckland in early 2015 were to buyers with Chinese sounding names, Key conceded that the public wanted to know the scale of foreign buying. …

“We’ve been a pretty pragmatic government. If we think we need to take steps to address an issue which we see coming of great concern, we’re prepared to look at it.”

Under proposed legislation the Government will begin to collect the residential tax status of buyers as a proxy for how many houses are being sold to foreigners.

So rather than judge off people’s surnames, the Government will collect much more reliable data. And this decision was announced months ago – so Labour’s stunt was an unnecessary own goal.

Key said information on buyers from markets from Britain and Australia would be “a bit polluted by New Zealanders who live over there”, whereas the “vast bulk” of buyers from mainland China were unlikely to be New Zealanders.

So this data won’t be perfect, but it will be reasonably robust.

Key said that he believed the scale of the issue would not be on the level which Labour appeared to suggest, but if it were he would consider it “a problem”, he told reporters.

“If you’re asking me if 30 per cent of all sales of residential property in New Zealand was to foreigners, would I think that’s much bigger than I expected and be a problem, I’d say ‘yes’.

“Because around New Zealand I’d be amazed if that was the case. Even in Auckland I’d be absolutely staggered if that was the case, but let’s wait and see the data.”

I’m looking forward to seeing the data.

He was dismissive of Labour’s research, based on personal examples.

“My next door neighbour’s Mark Ching. I look more Chinese than he does, but according to Labour, he’s a problem,” Key said.

“My son’s Max Tim Key, and he’s born in Singapore. If you saw that name on a piece of paper and I wasn’t prime minister, you’d assume he was Asian.”

I wonder what Labour’s Bayesian analysis says about whether someone named Key is Chinese?

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Parliament 22 July 2015

July 22nd, 2015 at 12:14 pm by David Farrar

The order paper is here.

Oral Questions 2.00 pm – 3.00 pm

  1. Dr JIAN YANG to the Minister of Finance: What recent reports has he received on the performance of the New Zealand economy and the Government’s management of its finances?
  2. ANDREW LITTLE to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his justification for the $26 million process to consider changing the flag that “It’s just sheer confusion with Australia. Even at APEC they tried to take me to Abbott’s seat”?
  3. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by all his statements?
  4. Dr PARMJEET PARMAR to the Minister for Building and Housing: What are the costs and benefits of the recently announced changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 that will require homes to be insulated and to have smoke alarms?
  5. GRANT ROBERTSON to the Minister of Finance: When did he first become aware that there was an international glut of dairy products and does he stand by his reported comments that he has no plans to take active steps to diversify the economy in response to falling dairy prices?
  6. JAMES SHAW to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his answers to Oral Question No. 4 yesterday?
  7. RICHARD PROSSER to the Minister of Finance: Is he still sceptical about how effective a register of foreign property buyers would be; if so, why?
  8. Dr SHANE RETI to the Minister of Health: What recent reports has he received on the effectiveness of the child immunisation programme?
  9. PHIL TWYFORD to the Minister of Finance: Does he stand by his statement about whether inequality was a problem in the Auckland housing market, “We’ve been concerned about that for some time, that there’s part of Auckland where there’s been really no new supply of lower value houses that low and middle-income families can afford”?
  10. JONO NAYLOR to the Minister of Justice: What announcements has she made about improving the oversight and supervision for offenders deported to New Zealand?
  11. METIRIA TUREI to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his statement that “You certainly wouldn’t want to say to a low-income family they can never own a home, because I believe that they can own a home.”?
  12. KELVIN DAVIS to the Minister of Corrections: Does he stand by his statement in regards to the July 2014 report on fight clubs in Mt Eden Corrections Facility, that he “became aware of the report’s existence only late last week”?

National: Four questions on the economy, rental properties, child immunisations and deported offenders

Labour: Four questions on the flag referendum, dairy prices, Auckland housing and Mt Eden Prison

Greens: Two questions on Pm standing by an answer and housing affordability

NZ First: Two question on PM standing by his statements and a foreign buyers register

There are also two questions to members:

  1. MAHESH BINDRA to the Member in charge of the New Zealand International Convention Centre Act 2013 Repeal Bill: What is the intention of the New Zealand International Convention Centre Act 2013 Repeal Bill?
  2. CLAYTON MITCHELL to the Member in charge of the Fighting Foreign Corporate Control Bill: What is the intention of the Fighting Foreign Corporate Control Bill?

General Debate 3.00 pm to 3.00 pm

The general debate consists of 12 speeches of up to five minutes each, so a maximum of one hour.

 

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Fixing Councils’ blunder

July 22nd, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Up to 25 councils may have forgotten to set speed limits on their roads, meaning tens of thousands of tickets could be invalid.

The Government moved urgently last night to fix the blunder, rushing through a law change to validate the speed limits and any tickets issued since 2004. …

Under law changes made more than 10 years ago, councils were given responsibility for setting speed limits on all roads except those with 100km/h limits.

These included roads outside schools where the speed limit dropped to 20km/h and stretches of highway where drivers were forced to slow down as they passed through townships.

Councils had to review their speed limits every five years or they expired.

So why did 25 Councils not realise this? Surely they must have some system for monitoring regulations that need to be reviewed and renewed?

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Bennett on local government

July 22nd, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

A good speech by Paula Bennett to the LGNZ Conference. Some extracts:

I imagine there are some who think that because the Commission has decided to take large reorganisation off the table for greater Wellington and Northland, and because I have clearly stated I will not legislate for large amalgamation that you can all continue as you have.

Well you can’t.

It is not in the best interests of the people of New Zealand.

We simply have to look at growth across a region, and your current structure does not strategically or cohesively support that.

A clear message the status quo is not acceptable.

They are going to work alongside you and your communities to ensure that we have the right structure, legally, financially, and with the right accountabilities to ensure sustainable growth in our towns and cities.

This might mean a CCO on water or transport across a region.

It could mean a different business structure or increased responsibilities and accountabilities for Regional Councils.

It could even mean in areas that might put a number of CCOs in place for key growth and infrastructure that there is no longer a need for a Regional Council.

Some councils may even choose to amalgamate.

I fully understand and accept that one solution will not work across all of New Zealand.

That is why the Local Government Commission will be working up various structure options for each region to look at and decide what works best for them, and then where necessary I will legislate to either set a new CCO up across a region – or even to take something away.

And in case there was any doubt:

I have zero interest in imposing unwanted change on you.

But you know that our regions are not as cohesive as they need to be to support our challenges and our future growth.

So I implore you to do something about it.

Be brave – own the change and both the Commission and I will do everything we can to assist and support you.

But let me be clear – there will be change.

Good.

The Government is aware of the cost pressures many councils face, and the Funding Review document launched this morning shows you are thinking about different mechanisms to manage growth.

Structural change should be one of them.

This is a conversation worth having, but first and foremost local government needs to demonstrate that it can live within its means.

Ratepayers are not willing to pay more for services while they see waste.

Most Councils seem to have little fiscal discipline. If they can show some fiscal discipline, then I’m for looking at expanding their funding tools beyond rates.

I expect you to look closely at your costs and have free and frank conversations about what is driving your expenditure and whether that discretionary spend is assisting your council to achieve its strategic goals. 

This is exactly what the Government has been doing, with our Better Public Service targets driving a more integrated delivery of services in a way that gets results and saves taxpayers’ money.

Wouldn’t it be great if local Councils did that also – commit to actual specific outcomes from the money they spend, rather than just outputs?

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