Archive for the ‘NZ Politics’ Category

Once again, PM should not comment on Reserve Bank decisions

March 10th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Prime Minister John Key has sent a shot across Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler’s bows, effectively warning him not to keep interest rates unjustifiably high as inflation heads lower.

But Key stopped short of calling for an interest rate cut at the bank’s monetary policy review on Thursday.

He noted that while the bank had flexibility it should set monetary policy so that inflation returned to the midpoint of its 1 per cent to 3 per cent target band. …

Key said oil prices were coming down, the exchange rate was still reasonably strong and imported inflation appeared low. In light of that “it’s not an option for the bank to raise interest rates”.

That’s not a decision for the PM. While he is correct that there is no reason for interest rates to go up, he is the PM – not a financial commentator. It is a bad look to have the PM state that something is not an option for the Reserve Bank, because it can look like pressure on them to do as the Government wants.

Parliament 10 March 2015

March 10th, 2015 at 11:45 am by David Farrar

The order paper is here.

Oral Questions 2.00 pm – 3.00 pm

    1. ANDREW LITTLE to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his comment that “no one’s arguing that we’re not working as fast as we possibly can” to cut ACC levies given ACC, the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment, Treasury, the Employers and Manufacturers Association, and Infometrics are among those recommending bigger cuts?
    2. NUK KORAKO to the Minister of Finance: What reports has he received on the economy and particularly on New Zealand’s creditworthiness compared to other developed economies?
    3. Dr RUSSEL NORMAN to the Prime Minister: Does the Prime Minister still stand by his answer that he will resign if the GCSB has conducted mass surveillance of New Zealanders; if so, what is his definition of mass surveillance?
    4. JONATHAN YOUNG to the Minister of Transport: What update can he give on Government investment in bridge infrastructure in Northland?
    5. GRANT ROBERTSON to the Minister of Finance: How would the Crown’s fiscal position be affected if ACC’s recommended reductions to its Work and Earners’ levies for 2015-16 were implemented?
    6. SIMON O’CONNOR to the Minister for Communications: What recent reports has she seen on growth of fibre connections compared to other OECD countries?
    7. PHIL TWYFORD to the Minister of Transport: Does he think his “deep commitment to Northland” has been demonstrated by the Government cutting spending on Northland roads by $36 million or nearly 30 percent over the last five years?
    8. RON MARK to the Minister of Transport: Does he stand by all his statements?
    9. EUGENIE SAGE to the Minister for the Environment: Will he be taking any steps to increase protection for indigenous trees and vegetation in the proposed changes to the Resource Management Act?
    10. MELISSA LEE to the Minister for Small Business: What reports has he received on confidence from small businesses in the New Zealand economy?
    11. TRACEY MARTIN to the Deputy Prime Minister: Does he consider the flag referendum to be a judicious use of taxpayers’ money?
    12. SUE MORONEY to the Minister for ACC: What is the purpose of the Work and Earners’ levies charged by ACC?

National: Four patsies on the economy, Northland bridges, fibre connections and small businesses

Labour: Four questions on ACC (x3) and Northland roads

Greens: Two questions on GCSB and RMA

NZ First: two questions on Transport Minister standing by his statements and the flag referendum

Government Bills 3.00 pm – 6.00 pm and 7.30 pm to 10.00 pm

Drug and Alcohol Testing of Community-based Offenders and Bailees Legislation Bill – first reading continued

The bill amends the Bail Act 2000, the Sentencing Act 2002 and the Parole Act 2002 to enable the Department of Corrections and the New Zealand Police to require community-based offenders and bailees, if they are subject to conditions prohibiting the use of drugs or alcohol, to undergo drug and alcohol testing to ensure compliance with these conditions.

Introduced: July 2014

The debate has up to 50 minutes remaining.

Weathertight Homes Resolution Services Amendment Bill – first reading

The bill amends the Weathertight Home Resolution Services Act 2006 to remove any doubt about the validity of the criteria, deem certain claims determined as ineligible to be eligible, and to widen the definition of qualifying claimant.

Introduced: February 2015

The debate can last up to two hours.

Radiation Safety Bill – first reading

The bill replaces the Radiation Protection Act 1965 to “provide an enhanced legislative framework for radiation safety that responds effectively to the range of technological, scientific, and organisational changes that have occurred over the last 5 decades” and also enables “ratification of key relevant international instruments.”

Introduced: December 2014

The debate can last up to two hours.

Taxation (Annual Rates for 2015-16, Research and Development, and Remedial Matters) Bill – first reading

The bill is an omnibus bill that significantly amends ten different tax acts,especially in the area of child support.

Introduced: February 2015

The debate can last up to two hours.

 

MPs pay law change may see pay rises twice as large

March 10th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Everyone has been assuming that tying MPs pay increases to the average for the public sector will see them fall. I was assuming that. So I went to the Stats NZ QES survey to work out how much less pay MPs would have got over the last six years, if this new law had been in force the whole time.

To my surprise I found that the public sector have had larger (%) pay increases than MPs have!

If backdated, this law change would have seen MPs get even larger pay increases.

MPs pay

I’ve gone back through the QES surveys since 2009 and calculated the average public sector increase in ordinary time earnings for each year. This is the column called “New Law”. It is used by comparing the average for the four quarters to June with the average for the four quarters the year prior.

The right hand column is what the total package increase was by the Remuneration Authority under the existing law. The actual salary increases are sometimes more than this, but that is because of the decreased value of some personal benefits. That package approach continues under the new law – so this is comparing like with like.

So over the last six years the Remuneration Authority has only increased MPs packages by an average of 1.7% a year.

The average increase in the public sector, according to QES, is 3.1% a year.

So while this law change will reduce the MPs pay increase for this year, it could well result in them gaining larger increases over the long term than they would have under the current law.

The Remuneration Authority has in fact been very restrained in the last six years.

There is some benefit to the new law. It is a clear formula, that people can relate to – MPs get the same as public servants. However the history of the last six years is that this could well mean MPs end up with larger pay rises. Now I don’t have a problem with this, but I’m not sure this is what people realise the impact of the law may be.

Quote of the week

March 10th, 2015 at 9:00 am by TaxpayersUnion

“I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.” 

– Winston Churchill

The is brought to you by the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union. To support the Union’s campaign for lower taxes and less government waste, click here.

A third Green co-leader contender

March 10th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

3 News reports:

Vernon Tava, a Green Party co-convenor in Auckland, is reported to be throwing his hat in the ring to be the party’s new male co-leader.

Mr Tava has decided to stand for the leadership.

Dr Norman was not an MP when he first co-led the Greens and it’s always been possible someone from the party who is not in parliament will stand.

Mr Tava retweeted The Nation’s tweet revealing his intention on Saturday.

He is a Waitemata Local Board member and is deputy chair of the board’s finance committee as well as being involved in work on parks and open spaces, and heritage, urban design and planning.

“I dedicate most of my time to the local board but I also work as a lawyer at the Auckland Community Law Centre, formerly the Grey Lynn Neighbourhood Law Office, representing and assisting clients on low incomes,” he says on the board’s website.

His campaign site is here. He seems to think that the Greens should aspire to more than being a prop party for Labour:

Are we a party of the left with environmental credentials (Red-Greens)? Or are we a true party of sustainability – environmental, social, cultural and economic – willing and able to be an independent entity with a decisive influence on government policy? The left-right spectrum is only one aspect of political action and if we limit ourselves to only being able to deal with one end of that spectrum we are far less able to move the focus of politics to genuine sustainability. The urgency of local and global ecological crises demands that we work across political lines. The Greens need to be an independent political axis around which governments turn.

He sounds far too sensible to get elected.

To many younger voters (and potential voters) left and right hold little appeal; we will only win them over with evidence-based, problem-solving approaches rather than coming from a position of ideology.

Evidence-based decision making? he’s doomed!

What are their BCRs?

March 10th, 2015 at 7:57 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Government has rolled out the pork barrel for its Northland candidate Mark Osborne, pledging to replace 10 one-lane bridges at a cost of up to $69 million.

Osborne made the announcement today together with Transport Minister Simon Bridges.

Bridges said funding for the projects would mainly come from the National Land Transport Fund.

Mainly? Where else would the funds come from?

If the 10 bridges all have a positive BCR (benefit to cost ratio) then they are worth doing – regardless of whether there is a by-election. But do they? The Government should release the business cases for them.

Bridges said their replacement was the logical next step from the development of the Puhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance.

He said the National-led Government had invested more than $750m in state highway and local roading projects across Northland over the last seven years. 

“And that doesn’t include Puhoi to Wellsford which is a $1.75 billion commitment. Today’s announcement shows National remains committed to improving roading in Northland, as well as the links to Northland, to ensure the continuing growth and prosperity of the region.”

It is worth remembering that the policies of Labour, Greens and NZ First is to not build Puhoi to Wellsford, and transfer much of the money for roading into rail.

Schools improving at looking after special needs pupils

March 9th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Most schools are catering better for students with special needs, according to a recent report.

The ERO report released yesterday, Inclusive practices for students with special needs in schools, found almost 80 per cent in its sample were “mostly inclusive”. The Ministry of Education says inclusive practice is when schools “adapt to fit the student rather than making the student adapt to fit the school”. …

The latest report ranked 78 per cent of schools mostly inclusive, up from 50 per cent in a similar report from 2010. The proportion of schools with few inclusive practices dropped 19 percentage points in the recent survey.

But CCS Disability Action warned that the two reports were not directly comparable because the 2010 report focussed solely on students with high needs while the latest report covered all students with special education needs.

Still seems to be good progress, and definitely going in the right direction.

How the polls did last year

March 9th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

final-result-chart2

I only noticed this chart on Friday, but Andrew at Grumpolie looked at how the polls and polls of polls did, compared to the election result.

The Herald Digipoll was best overall. Of the poll of polls, the methodology I used did fairly well.

Not on the chart is how iPredict did. It was very accurate in 2011, but in 2014 was well out with a total error of 12.3%.

Overall the public polls under-estimated support for National and NZ First, were slightly too high for Labour and way too high for the Greens.

Andrew also made the point:

The landline bias/non-coverage issue is a red herring – the polls that came closest only call landlines. It’s just one of many potential sources of error that pollster’s need to consider. Here’s another post about this, if anyone is interested in finding out why it’s not such a big deal.

No surprise – hypocrisy from Labour

March 9th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Labour have spent the last decade condemning tactical voting in seats like Epsom and Ohariu, where National has indicated to supporters that it may be in the party’s overall interest to vote for another candidate.

Little has now done the same in Northland. Now I have no problem with his decision to encourage people to vote for Peters. It makes tactical sense. But the issue is their hypocrisy of having spent a decade condemning National for the same.

Interestingly while having Peters win Northland may be a tactical victory for Labour, it could also be a strategic blunder for Labour and the Greens.

If Peters does win Northland, then that is a potential lifeline for NZ First post Peters. They can’t be guaranteed to make 5% with someone else leading them, but if they win and can hold Northland, then they would be able to continue post Peters.

Now neither Ron Mark nor Tracy Martin could I think hold Northland (if Peters wins it), but Shane Jones could. If Peters wins Northland, then Shane Jones could stand in the next election (or the one after) for NZ First, and he would be very likely to hold it.

Now think about what this means for the Greens and Labour? Can you imagine a Shane Jones led NZ First ever letting the Greens into Government? he hates them more than Winston.

Also can you imagine Shane Jones going into coalition with the party that he said no longer has room for people like him in it? I think it is unlikely.

So the irony of Little’s ploy is that it may give the left a tactical victory, but it may be a strategic blunder that pries NZ First away from the left and leaves Labour and the Greens marooned in near perpetual opposition.

Wellington City Councillor ratings

March 9th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Wellingtonian has had an 8 member panel of Wellingtonians rate the 15 Wellington City Councillors. They were rated on five areas, and also given an average overall rating. So who got top and bottom in each.

Note that these ratings are of course the opinions of the panelists only.

Overall Top

  1. Paul Eagle 80.7%
  2. Nicola Young 69.8%
  3. Justin Lester 69.4%

Overall Bottom

  1. Helen Ritchie 34.3%
  2. Ray Ahipene-Mercer 44.5%
  3. Jo Coughlan 46.5%

Top Accessibility

  1. Paul Eagle 84.3%
  2. Justin Lester 80.0%
  3. Celia Wade-Brown 78.1%

Bottom Accessibility

  1. Helene Ritchie 38.3%
  2. Ray Ahipene-Mercer 42.9%
  3. Malcolm Sparrow 51.0%

Top Effectiveness

  1. Paul Eagle 75.7%
  2. Iona Pannett 66.3%
  3. Nicola Young 63.1%

Bottom Effectiveness

  1. Helene Ritchie 30.0%
  2. Mark Peck 38.6%
  3. Ray Ahipene-Mercer 40.0%

Top Proactiveness

  1. Paul Eagle 77.1%
  2. Iona Pannett 68.1%
  3. Nicola Young 65.6%

Bottom Proactiveness

  1. Helene Ritchie 33.6%
  2. Sarah Free 35.8%
  3. Ray Ahipene-Mercer 37.1%

Top Work Ethic

  1. Celia Wade-Brown 90.0%
  2. Paul Eagle 87.9%
  3. Justin Lester 81.3%

Bottom Work Ethic

  1. Helene Ritchie 36.7%
  2. Ray Ahipene-Mercer 46.7%
  3. Jo Coughlan 48.8%

Top Wellington First

  1. Paul Eagle 80.7%
  2. Simon Woolf 75.7%
  3. Simon Marsh 70.0%

UPDATE: The panel were:

  • John Milford, Business Central CEO
  • Allan Probert, Khandallah Business Improvement District secretary & veterinarian
  • Lyndy McIntyre, Living Wage Wellington co-ordinator
  • John Dow, events, marketing & sports leader
  • Victoria Spackman, Gibson Group CEO & former chairman of Bats Theatre
  • John Sherwan, Adjunct professor at VUW/businessman
  • Jack Marshall, Wgton City Youth Council chairman
  • Ian Apperley, Strathmore Park blogger

MPs salaries vs Judges salaries

March 9th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

I think it was the wrong call to restrict MPs salary increase to the overall public sector, rather than to similar positions. The salary of the Prime Minister should not be determined based on what the going rate for policy analysts is.

I was interested in what the relativity has been over the years between the salaries set for MPs, and the salaries set for judges, as both are set by the Remuneration Authority. Have MPs had bigger increases than judges? The same? fallen away?

I headed down to the National Library to dig out determinations from 1985 onwards, and the data is below.

MP

This compares the salaries set for backbench MPs with District Court Judges. An MP used to get 73% of what a District Court Judge gets, but today they get just 48%. That is excluding superannuation subsidies which are far more generous to judges.

minister

Then I compared Cabinet Ministers to High Court Judges. In 1985 they were paid almost the same (Ministers got $957 more). Today a Cabinet Minister gets just 67% of what a High Court Judge gets. They get paid almost $150,000 less.

PM

Finally we have the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice. The PM today gets 90% of what the Chief Justice gets, but in 1985 he got paid a third more than the Chief Justice.

So as unpopular as it is with many, MPs salaries have actually fallen away compared to similar positions in the past.

Hide on Northland

March 8th, 2015 at 2:11 pm by David Farrar

Rodney Hide writes in the HoS:

A Peters win would destabilise the Government and power up a Wellington electorate MP. Ohariu would benefit – not Northland. On winning Northland, Peters would resign as a list MP to clear the way for the next candidate on New Zealand First’s list. That candidate is Ria Bond … from Invercargill.

That’s right. In choosing Peters, Northland voters would be electing an MP from Invercargill.

Those in the Far North would elect a candidate from the deep south.

But it gets better.

Peters lives in Auckland. Parliament is in Wellington. That’s how he divides his time. Kerikeri is 250km north of Auckland. So Peters is asking the people of Northland to vote for an Aucklander to elect an MP from Invercargill and empower an MP from Wellington.

Yep.

It has been 40 years since Peters stood for Northern Maori. He’s late in rediscovering the north but his campaign is exciting.

I believe he prefers a close second. Winning would be altogether too much work.

Northland is a huge electorate with huge needs. John Carter used to spend every spare minute doing constituent cases, and driving around.

How often would Peters visit the electorate from St Marys Bay?

Field on spying in the Pacific

March 8th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Michael Field at Stuff writes:

It is not paradise out there in the South Pacific and while our friendly neighbourhood might be democratic and understand rugby’s off-side rule, corruption, self-interest and idiocy stalks their capitals. 

And dangerously surprising things like coups, civil war and mutinies happen, and they have a real and direct impact on New Zealand. 

The Snowden Papers suggest spying in the South Pacific is something new, but the reality is that we have been spying on Pacific countries for decades.

Back in 1914 London asked New Zealand soldiers to invade German Samoa. We said yes, but asked if they could give us some details of German defences. London replied we would look it up in an encyclopaedia.

These days acting like that is not on.

Time-shift to today and pick a Pacific country that suddenly finds itself with people being killed, buildings on fire and assorted bad people breaking into police armouries – as happened in the Solomon Islands. 

New Zealand’s Special Air Service was on the way to save lives – what are they expected to do for useful intelligence, Google it? 

Field makes the case that we need to do more than just collect metadata.

In the late-90s the Solomons was still known as the “happy isles” but some astute people were picking up whispers about dangerous people, one in particular, the little known Harold Keke. No one was spying on him but later he became a murderous warlord. 

So was Francis Ona, an obscure farmer who closed down the world’s biggest copper mine and sparked a decade-long Bougainville civil war. Much later into that civil war, New Zealand did a lot of spying there. 

We should have, because we were putting unarmed New Zealand soldiers on the ground.

The Snowden papers suggest we are massively collecting metadata across the South Pacific and sending it to the US. 

If this is the extent of the spying, then New Zealand’s tragedy is that we are not really listening at all to the Pacific.  

So often we have been taken by surprise. 

Foreign intelligence takes two forms. That you get by intercepts, and that you get through working networks, having conversations etc. We need both kinds.

Labour MP condemns charter schools then turns up to open one!

March 7th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Whale Oil has the story of Labour MP Su’a Wiliam Sio who made speeches condemning charter schools, yet also turned up to pose for photos at the opening of one in his electorate.

Did the good MP announce at the opening of the Nga Whare Waatea Training Centre that if his party becomes Government, he will be voting to close them down?

Contradictory evidence in the Banks trial

March 7th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

John Banks is seeking to have a second trial for filing a false electoral return thrown out after the discovery of evidence which the Crown failed to disclose to his QC.

Not good for the Crown, if true.

This is at odds with evidence given at the trial, where the Crown contended the lunch was held on June 9, 2010 and the presence of the Americans was denied by the Dotcoms, as well as their bodyguard Wayne Tempero.

The defence was able to prove at the trial there was no lunch on June 9, because Mr Banks was campaigning and Mrs Banks was at work.

In finding Mr Banks guilty, Justice Edwin Wylie said Dotcom was a good witness but he was wrong about the date of the lunch and ruled it must have happened on June 5.

So Dotcom claimed the lunch was on 9 June, but the evidence was that this was not possible as Mrs Banks was at work, so they assumed it was 5 June.

But when interviewed by Mr Butler about the new affidavits before the Court of Appeal hearing, Dotcom accepted the evidence of the US businessmen – including that donations were not discussed at the June 5 lunch. Instead, he said there was a second lunch – again on June 9 – at which the donations were discussed.

You can’t have it both ways. If the lunch was on 5 June, then the Americans were there and their evidence is now accepted that no donations were discussed.

If there was a lunch on 9 June, then the evidence is that the Banks were not there.

“It has never been part of the crown case nor has there been any prior suggestion that there were two lunches within a matter of days of each other, at which both Mr and Mrs Banks were present,” wrote Mr Jones.

“How the Crown can now properly pursue this prosecution in the circumstances is unknown … the crown case will accordingly have to be completely recast in a way which, with respect, is utterly untenable.”

It does seem preposterous that there would have been two lunches within four days with Mr and Mrs Banks, and this was never mentioned at the original trial.

2014 election results

March 6th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Parliamentary Library has published an interesting analysis of the 2014 election results.

A couple of graphs from it:

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Some big changes over time.

02000008

Interesting that the proportion of female electorate MPs is increasing, while decreasing for List MPs. Electorate seats tend to be longer lasting for MPs than list seats, so that is a good thing.

02000009

Parliament actually has a great proportion of Maori as MPs, than the overall population does. It’s good to see the House of Representatives is quite representative.

$122,000 for a lame video

March 6th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

3 News reports:

The [Internet] party spent more than $1 million on election related advertising, including $122,000 for a YouTube parody of Prime Minister John Key and US President Barack Obama.

$122,000 for that lam parody video? My God – someone did well out of it.

The election returns reveal the party’s explosive press secretary Pam Corkery was paid $15,000 for her 15 weeks’ work – that’s $1000 a week.

Worth every cent!

Party Leader Laila Harre was paid $66,000 – more than $4000 a week.

$4,000 a week. I guess that makes you the 1%, not the 99%. The Greens obviously couldn’t match that pay scale.

Could the IRD do a test case on property speculation

March 6th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

A reader e-mails:

I’ve been thinking about the overheated Auckland property market, which must be driven by to some extent by speculation, and the intent of the tax law. I reckon IRD could take a test case along the following lines: 

Mr and Mrs X purchased a two flat property in central Onehunga in 2009 for $480,000 to add to their rental property portfolio. They borrowed 100% of the purchase price so therefore the rent was well short of the required mortgage repayments and the property always made a loss for tax purposes. They had to ‘top up’ the mortgage payments with around $100 a week of their own money (they privately told their friends they were happy to do this because the property was well located and would give a good capital gain). In 2014 they decided to restructure their portfolio and sold the property for $680,000. They declared no taxable capital gain because they considered the property was held for rental purposes and they had no history of buying and subsequently selling rental properties. 

IRD could propose that when they bought the property they did so with the clear knowledge that the rental income was less than even the interest on the mortgage used to fund the purchase, and with rent rises in Auckland averaging about 5% a year they would be required to top up the mortgage repayments from their own money for the foreseeable future. The purchase was therefore only a viable proposition if the property was to be sold at a later date for a substantial capital gain. It therefore must have been purchased with the purpose or one of the purposes being resale. The $200,000 gain on sale should therefore be treated as taxable income.

There are various provisions in the income tax act relating to the sale of land – the one related to the business of dealing in land is CB 7 and the one related to buying land with the intention of resale is CB 6. The tax law does not say landlords have to have the intention of trading in property to get caught. Case law has limited the circumstances in which CB 6 or predecessor section have applied but judges can create new precedent, and judges’ interpretation of tax avoidance provisions has moved to a more purposive approach in the last 10 years or so.

It would be an interesting test case,if the IRD went this way. It could have a big impact, if successful.

My personal preference is for NZ to have a land tax, with reductions in income tax rates to make it overall fiscally neutral.

Greens still against cell phone towers

March 6th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Thousands more cellphone antennas and roadside cabinets could be installed without community consultation under a proposed environmental rule change.

Telecommunications firms would be allowed to install 3.5 metre-high cellphone antennas on street lights, power poles, multi-storey buildings and on any rural structure without resource consent, the Government has proposed.

Excellent. The safety issues have been proved 1,000 times over, and just adding them onto existing structures shouldn’t need a resource consent.

Green Party environment spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter said the Government appeared to have little regard for environmental outcomes or community input.

“We support National Environmental Standards but they need to be used to protect the environment, not to override the right of local communities to have a say,” she said.

Do they want their cellphones to work, and to have Internet access?

This is basic essential infrastructure. If a tower is going to block someone’s view etc, then they should have a say. But this is just about adding them to existing structures.

Environment Minister Nick Smith said they would “reduce by thousands” the number of resource consents required to install wi-fi panels, street cabinets, light pole antennas and cabling.

Tens of millions are spent on an entirely wasteful process, as they inevitably gain the consent.

Union says don’t pay principals more

March 6th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Principals’ Federation president Denise Torrey has criticised the Principal Recruitment Allowance scheme through which five schools have received a $50,000 boost to their principal’s salary.

Torrey warned that “more money in a principal’s pocket” would not help kids learn better, or make a better principal. 

Excellent. I look forward to the Principals’ Federation accepting a zero pay rise for the next five years or so.

Five things to remember re Winston and Northland

March 6th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar
  1. If Winston wins, then NZ First will have their Invercargill candidate enter Parliament which will effectively mean one fewer MP in Northland and one more MP in Invercargill.
  2. NZ First care so much for Northland they failed to stand a candidate there not only in 2014,but also in 2011 and 2008. Winston was list only for the last two and could have stood there but chose not to.
  3. If Winston did win the seat, Parliament would lose the proportionality it had on the general election results, and United Future (which got 0.22% of the vote) would then hold the balance of power in Parliament.
  4. NZ First policy is to remove $300 million funding from roads of national significance (such as Puhoi to Wellsford) and spending it on trains.
  5. Winston doesn’t even know the boundaries of the electorate. He said on Q+A the Puhoi to Wellsford road of national significance “doesn’t get to the Northland electorate at all” but Wellsford is in Northland, not Rodney.

Just No

March 6th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Customs are seeking the power to require people to disclose passwords to their electronic devices when entering New Zealand.

Failing to do so without reasonable excuse should be an offence punishable with three months prison, it has suggested.

No, no and no.

3 News Northland poll

March 5th, 2015 at 9:21 pm by David Farrar

The details of the Northland poll are at Curiablog.

They show Peters 5% ahead of Osborne with 19% undecided. Obviously a very good result for Peters. The key will be what do the undecided voters do.

Hughes standing for co-leader

March 5th, 2015 at 10:56 am by David Farrar

One News reports:

Fifth-ranked Green MP Gareth Hughes has confirmed he’s standing to become the Green’s male co-leader.

The 33-year-old who’s in his third term as an MP says his candidacy is for a generational shift in New Zealand politics .

West Coast based list MP Kevin Hague has already put his hat in the ring and is considered by some to be the front runner.

The party will decide on who the male co-leader is at its conference in late May.

It’s good Green members will get a choice.

I don’t agree with Gareth on most environmental issues, but he has done a lot of good work in the Comms/ICT sector and has built up a lot of respect for his approach to issues in this sector – even by those who disagree with him. If there had been a change of Government, many said he would be a good Comms/ICT Minister.

It is hard to see him beating Hague, but the fact that Hague is seven years older than the retiring Norman may be a factor – hence why Hughes is talking generational shift.

Not sure if James Shaw has totally ruled out standing, but it seems unlikely. Kennedy Graham is talking about it, but I think the real contest is likely to be between Hague and Hughes.

This is the big revelation?

March 5th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Documents released today with NZHerald.co.nz refer to the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Tonga, Vanuatu, Nauru and Samoa as targets of the Government Communications Security Bureau.

What a stunning revelation. An agency whose mandate is primarily to collection foreign intelligence, collects foreign intelligence.