Chief Ombudsman to review OIA compliance

August 28th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Chief Ombudsman will launch an investigation into the way the Official Information Act is being used after the election and will include a probe into ministerial offices as part of the inquiry. …

Chief Ombudsman Dame Beverley Wakem said issues which would be examined included government departments having to seek “sign off” from their ministers before releasing information when there was no reason to do so.

She said there was “excessive reference upwards for approval” to release information when there was no good reason for doing so. …

“I have observed unnecessary steps and referrals upwards. I have heard of at least five layers of approval before something can be released. That’s absurd.”

She said the unnecessary upwards delays included referrals to ministers for approval to release information. There were also offices which had “delayed things beyond what is reasonable” while others did “incredibly well”.

“There’s actually fundamentally nothing wrong with the Act. What is wrong is the execution.

I think this is very welcome, regardless of who is in Government. Some sensitive material will always involve informing the Minister’s office under no surprises, but there probably is too many layers and hoops to go through.

I actually support amending the OIA so all Cabinet level documents get released proactively after say six months, even if not requested.

Dame Beverley, who is president of the International Ombudsman Institute, said she had been tempted to publish a league table of best-to-worst agencies, as other bodies did abroad.

“We haven’t resorted to that in New Zealand but each day that goes by it becomes more tempting.” She said the framework of the inquiry had been completed and it would be launched in the next few months.

They should. In the absence of official stats, bloggers such as No Right Turn compile their own league tables. But would be better to have official ones.

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O’Sullivan on Dotcom

August 28th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Fran O’Sullivan writes:

It’s ridiculous that the New Zealand political system can be gamed by an international businessman with criminal convictions who bought his way into this country via the Investor Plus scheme. That businessman subsequently avoided extradition attempts. Then bankrolled a new political party to the tune of $3 million to “take down John Key” and is now openly colluding with Julian Assange to drop a political bomb just five days out from the election.

Kim Dotcom has long been resisting US Government attempts to extradite him to the United States to face allegations of racketeering and money-laundering over the use of his former file-hosting site Megaupload.

Now Dotcom’s palled up with the redoubtable Assange, who took refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to avoid extradition by the Swedish Government over alleged sexual offences.

Both men seem fairly unenthuiastic to actually turn up to a trial!

You can just imagine the phone calls between the pair.

“This is better than playing Call of Duty, Julian … You can take down a whole Government in this country, all you need is money and some politicians happy to go on the payroll.”

Dotcom has plenty of supporters who feel he was hard done by over the super-hyped raid on the Coatesville mansion. There are big issues still to be addressed.

But it’s notable that while he has flung more than $3 million into the Internet Party – even putting on the payroll a former Alliance Cabinet minister whose politics are vastly different from his – he won’t brook informed questions over what’s really gone on in the Coatesville sandpit when it comes to getting out his chequebook to buy political influence.

Thus he has tried to legally constrain his former bodyguard Wayne Tempero from speaking to media about the lead-up to the birth of the Internet Party.

This is remarkably thin-skinned. If Dotcom has nothing to hide, why would he be concerned about what Tempero has to say?

If he was just a businessman, it would be understandable. But we have the effective leader of a political party gagging former staff from speaking up. If you enter politics, then gagging people is a bad look.

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The 1st leaders debate

August 28th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

David Cunliffe is saying he is the underdog in the first leaders debate tonight. He is uncharacteristically being far too modest.

John Key is strong debater, with a strong grasp of policy and politics. But David Cunliffe is no David Shearer. He is a polished top debater.

He won prizes for debating and public speaking at secondary school. In fact his team won the NZ Schools Jaycee Cup. He carried on debating at Otago University (which has produced many NZ debaters) and has been an MP for 15 years.

Neither man is the underdog. They are both strong formidable debaters. Labour are trying to do the expectations game, where they declare a tie as a stunning victory.

I encourage people to watch the debate for themselves and form their own judgement about how the two men go. Don’t give much regard to reports of who was the favourite on say Twitter (very left leaning) or the Roy Morgan worm (mainly promoted on left sites).

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General Debate 28 August 2014

August 28th, 2014 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel
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A former foreigner who farms here speaks up

August 28th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Anders Crofoot writes in the NZ Herald:

When it comes to the foreign ownership of farmland, my family has a unique perspective.

Before my wife, Emily, and I moved our family thousands of miles from upstate New York to the Wairarapa, we did research. A great deal of it. We’d narrowed our choices to English-speaking Canada, Australia and of course, New Zealand. Since moving Downunder, we’ve learned that being a “good bastard” is a compliment. Maybe Winston Churchill was right when he said “Britain and America are two nations divided by a common language”.

While Emily was the farmer, I was an investment analyst. Together, we learned about the country, its political stability, history, economy, agricultural system, climate and the rural property market. Of course, being “foreign investors”, we checked out whether we’d be welcomed or not.

They decided to invest here.

Being in Federated Farmers a few years later, I came across one farmer who made Winston Peters look like a weak-kneed liberal. Proving the debate is seemingly two-thirds heart and one-third brain, I later learned that he’d bought a farm in Australia but he still opposed foreign investment, albeit slightly sheepishly.

Bit like the former deputy leader of NZ First who used to decry immigrants in his thick English accent!

Deciding on a country is one thing, but it’s quite another to get the ideal farm. We were very fortunate to convince Castlepoint’s board that New York Yankees were fit custodians for their iconic Wairarapa station. That was 1998 and we’ve never looked back.

Kiwis are the most hospitable people with an unerring knack of convincing you to take on more responsibilities. I was one of two non-New Zealand-born farmers on the Federated Farmers board. I’m also on the board of Grow Wellington and, to keep my feet firmly on the ground, I’m Castlepoint’s fire chief. Emily is similarly involved and our children are now working in New Zealand.

Politicians are quick to say that families like us are their “ideal” business migrants. The message is that “people like us” will continue to be welcomed, whichever party wins on September 20. Unfortunately, that nuance is lost if you’re thousands of miles away reading nzherald.co.nz or watching news on-demand.

If we were researching New Zealand today, would we make the big move? Possibly not.

Those parties beating the drums against foreign investment should reflect on that.

The tone around foreign investment has hardened for the worse. To outsiders, politics and cultish popularity now seem big determinants. There’s also a nasty undercurrent which reflects poorly on us as Kiwis. Who this is putting off we’ll never know, but it is off-putting.

Farming is the most international industry we have. It’s this mix of people that makes New Zealand agriculture unique and the success it is. The Green Party opposed Shania Twain’s high-country purchase but look at what British record producer Robert “Mutt” Lange has given back: 53,000ha and a whole landscape permanently protected. The restoration and enhancement of Young Nicks Head may never have taken place had a Kiwi farmer purchased it rather than New York financier John Griffin. We’re even near-neighbours of James Cameron — that’s in a rural sense because we’re over an hour away by car.

Politics must come out of the “foreign investment” debate because it can so easily spiral into the gutter. Rules are important and we Kiwis accept that with sport, why not overseas investment?

And we have rules – that any investment must produce benefits for NZ. But various parties want blankets bans, because it gives them a soundbite for the election.A

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Is it 2002 all over again?

August 27th, 2014 at 6:22 pm by David Farrar

The latest 3 News poll has National down 2.5% to 45%, but Labour dropping even more (2.6%) to 26.4%. That is even lower than their 2011 result. So in National’s worst week, Labour drops even further.

There is volatility in the polls, but at this stage it is not people going from right to left. It is a transfer of votes within the right and left blocs. National losing to Conservatives and Labour losing to Greens and Winston.

The Conservatives at 4.6% is great news for them. Now it is just one poll, and let’s see what the others say. But it gives them what they need – relevance.

People will wonder what is the impact on the outcome if they made 5%? Well here is the result with them on 4.6% and 5.0%.

Conservatives 4.6%

Centre-Right 59 seats (Nat 57, ACT 1, UF1)

Centre-Left 53 seats (Lab 33, Greens 17, Internet Mana 3)

Centre 11 seats (NZ First 8, Maori 3)

This means National would need the Maori Party to govern, and Labour would need both NZ First and the Maori Party (plus Greens, Mana)

Conservatives 5.0%

Centre-Right 62 seats (Nat 54,  Conservatives 6, ACT 1, UF1)

Centre-Left 51 seats (Lab 32, Greens 16, Internet Mana 3)

Centre 11 seats (NZ First 8, Maori 3)

This means National would still need the Maori Party (or NZ First) to govern, but Labour would be unable to govern under any combination.

 

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Labour claims they can build Auckland homes for $360,000

August 27th, 2014 at 3:55 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Labour would be able to offer first home buyers two-bedroom properties in Auckland for as little as $360,000 if elected, party leader David Cunliffe announced today.

Labour’s KiwiBuild policy would build 100,000 new, affordable homes over 10 years and sell them at cost to first home buyers, Mr Cunliffe said.

“Using the purchasing power of the Government and off-site building techniques we will be able to lower the cost of building a home.

“This will enable Labour to sell a new two-bedroom terraced KiwiBuild home for around $360,000 in some parts of Auckland.

“That compares to around $485,000 for a similar Hobsonville home.” …

Labour’s housing spokesman Phil Twyford said KiwiBuild would deliver the equivalent of a Hobsonville $485,000 two-bedroom terrace home for $360,000 by forgoing the developer’s margin on the land cost-saving $36,000 and a further $89,000 would be saved by using off-site manufacturing, bulk buying building materials and reducing builders’ margin through high-volume tendering.

If Labour do win the election, it would be amusing to see them actually try to implement the policy and the excuses they’ll come up when the homes cost way way more than that. Maybe they’ll blame the unions for pushing the price of labour up!

Socialist parties always think that the state can provide things cheaper if you get rid of the profit margin, and economies of scale. But, you know what? The history of the world is they almost never do.

By this logic, we would all have much cheaper food if the Government owned all the farms. Think how much cheaper our food would be if farmers did not make any profit from the land, and instead the Government just employed them all directly?

And think about how much cheaper our food would be, if the Government centrally purchased all agricultural supplies for farmers. It would reduce the cost of farming massively, and hence food.

How about this for a challenge to Labour. If they really think they can produce two bedrooms houses in Hobsonville for $360,000 at no loss, then why don’t they promise to reimburse the taxpayers for any homes they build that cost more than that? Why should it be our money they gamble with?

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I’m fine with Police being undercover in bars

August 27th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Undercover police officers drank in Dunedin bars as part of an operation targeting liquor licensing offences.

While police said the inaugural operation was a success — with most bars found compliant — the Hospitality Association slammed the move as “creepy”.

Two Central Otago-based police officers — in their mid-20s — visited city bars on Saturday night to check compliance with the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act. …

The undercover officers visited six bars in total, with some bars visited twice.

He confirmed those officers were allowed to drink while on duty.

“There is case law that backs up if someone is in a licensed premises, then one drink an hour is appropriate … otherwise you would stand out.”

The behaviour of licensees and staff was largely found to be compliant. One Octagon bar was given a written warning, after serving alcohol to an intoxicated patron at 3.40am on Sunday.

I’m fine with this. Bars shouldn’t serve people who are clearly intoxicated. The only reliable way to check on this is with undercover officers, so I have no problems with this.

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Some candidate stats

August 27th, 2014 at 2:26 pm by David Farrar

From the Electoral Commission.

  • 15 parties seeking the party vote (+2 from 2011)
  • 554 candidates (+10)
  • 369 dual candidates
  • 71 list only candidates
  • 114 electorate only candidates
  • 38 electorate candidates not with a registered party
  • Epsom and Tauranga have most candidates at 11 each
  • Hauraki-Waikato have least candidates at three
  • 390 men (-7) standing and 164 (+17) women.

Candidates per party are:

  1. Labour 85
  2. National 75
  3. Conservatives 64
  4. Green 60
  5. ACT 44
  6. Social Credit 35
  7. Internet Mana 35
  8. NZ First 32
  9. Maori 27
  10. ALCP 13
  11. United Future 11
  12. NZ Ind Coalition 10
  13. Ban1080 9
  14. Focus NZ 8
  15. Civilian Party 8
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Labour on assets buy back

August 27th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour leader David Cunliffe has refused to confirm if his party is planning to buy back state-owned assets sold by National.

In a confusing exchange with reporters today, Cunliffe first said the party would “be saying more about that before the election.” 

Asked to clarify if voters could expect the party to set out a position before polling day next month, he replied:  “No, I haven’t said that.”

But he later appeared to back-track, saying: “They will certainly know before they cast their vote.”

God knows what that means.

Another story suggests that their bribe to get Winston on board will be $100 million a year to buy “assets”. Basically this means the politicians will be playing the stock market with our money. It won’t even be in a professional investment fund. If Labour win, then Cunliffe and Peters will decide on our behalf to buy shares in maybe Contact Energy, maybe Xero, maybe Kathmandu, maybe Woolworths. It will just be a giant slush fund, run by politicians.

If they think they are so good at playing the sharemarket, they should borrow against their homes, and invest with their own money.

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It seems the feminists work for me!!

August 27th, 2014 at 1:35 pm by David Farrar

Peter Zohrab has done an open letter to the Speaker of the House.

27 August 2014

The Speaker Rt. Hon. David Carter
Parliament
Parliament House
Wellington

Dear Mr. Carter,

On 26 August 2014, Human Rights lawyer, Tony Ellis, said in an interview on Television New Zealand that Human Rights are only paid lip service to. It was not clear whether he was referring to human rights in general in New Zealand, but that may well be the case! 

On August 1st 2014, some Men’s Rights activists, including myself, were mounting a demonstration outside Bowen House, Wellington, which of course houses the offices of many Members of Parliament.  Three security guards who were working inside Bowen House came out — one-by-one and later en masse — to harass us, by questioning us and implying that what we were doing was not allowed and that they had some authority over us, both of which was untrue.  They took our photographs.  I only got rid of them by taking their photographs and starting to phone the Police.  As you know, they have no jurisdiction over the footpath and so were interfering with our Freedom of Expression.

At one stage, an obviously Feminist woman appeared out of nowhere and started arguing with us. I assume that she was deliberately dropped off by car in front of us, because I had not seen her walk towards us from the side along the footpath, and she left by being picked up by car from the footpath in front of us.  She was obviously an agent provocateur, and it was after that that the three security guards appeared together and said that they had received a complaint, which appeared to be from her.  It was a false complaint.

Could you please 

  1. discipline your security guards for this arbitrary and totalitarian behaviour;
  2. find out from them the name and contact details of the woman who complained to them and pass this information on to the Police and to me;
  3. discipline them if they do not have a record of her name and contact details;
  4. ask the Police to investigate if the incident with the agent provocateur was instigated by David Farrar, who passed in front of us twice and is a Feminist.

On 7 April 2013 I wrote to you about another case of Parliamentary staff apparently interfering with my Freedom of Expression — with regard to Select Committee submissions.  On that occasion, you gave no impression of having got to the bottom of the matter.  I hope you achieve a better result this time.  I note that the senior of the three security guards was a woman, and that the [deleted by DPF] does a good impression of being a Lesbian woman.  David Farrar has mentioned that I have called New Zealand a Dykeocracy, so this may be a case in point.

 I attach photographs of the security guards.

Yours sincerely,

 Peter D. Zohrab


http://equality.limewebs.com/?p=1#comments
http://newmalestudies.com/OJS/index.php/nms  

Should I confess that I did indeed send in a feminist provocateur to argue with Peter Zohrab? Will he discover that the Wellington Young Feminists Collective is in fact a wholly owned subsidiary of DPF Group Ltd?

The vast feminist conspiracy claims another victim. Well done girls. Charlie is very pleased with your work.

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Some lyrics from the Kill the PM song

August 27th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

I think there is a huge difference between song that have general lyrics about violence, sex and the like – and a song that explicitly expresses a desire to kill a specific person, and to have sex with a specific person. The first is art. The second is creepy.

Here’s some lyrics from the song by @peace.

That’s why I’m going to kill the Prime Minister. I’m going to kill the Prime Minister, because we are down and suffering and the motherfucker ain’t doing nothing. Going to kill the Prime Minister.

One of these days I’m going to fuck your daughter. This poor boy going to make his seed, going to wake up in your girl – well hello Miss Key.

This is beyond creepy. And the creep isn’t one bit remorseful. He has no idea what the impact might be on Steffi Key to hear there is a song about how he wants to fuck her. He thinks that because he doesn’t like the politics of her father, he can target her in a song like this.

There should be consequences for such vile behaviour.

John Armstrong notes:

By yesterday afternoon, @Peace appeared to have realised it had made a rather big mistake. It posted on Facebook, saying the song had been written with the purpose of getting young voters to enrol. Anyone who has listened to the song will know that is an untruth of huge proportions. The lyrics have nothing to do with enrolling to vote. 

What is ironic is that the left leaning Rock Enrol wanted to use Homebrew at concerts to promote voting. I’d say a song implying rape of a young woman will not encourage young people to vote, but just absolutely turn them off politics.

Simon Sweetman also notes:

The band @Peace really screwed up. You only have to click on that Wiki link to see how they’re going to be remembered. They released a song threatening to kill John Key - and then went into a swift panic, explaining that it was really all about mobilising young voters. The rallying cry included reference to sleeping with Key’s daughter. It wasn’t (quite) a statement of rape – but it’s a blunt and nasty use of the term, it’s a leading statement – “one of these days I’m going to f*** your daughter”. It could be very easily construed as a threat, an act of violence.

The sad thing is this was predictable. Tom Scott, formerly of Homebrew, has spent years spewing vile and hatred at John Key. He has rarely been called out for this. In fact one Labour MP raved how much she loves his music. So is it any surprise when he takes his hatred and bile from one level, and ramps it up slightly more so that he moves into glorifying violence against those those politics he disagrees with. Why does he get more extreme? Because he suffers no consequences for his behaviour. NZ on Air carry on giving him taxpayers money (which is ironic as his song is all about how he gets nothing from the Government!).

UPDATE: Psycho Milt at No Minister spells it out for those who think it is just a song:

If you’re thinking he didn’t say he was going to rape her, you’re missing the point.  Here’s the rape culture involved:

1. The most obviously rapey bit is that whatever interest or distinct lack of interest Stephanie Key might have in letting this ambulatory excrement within touching distance of her apparently isn’t relevant from his point of view.

2.  The less obvious, but far worse, rapey bit is the matter of why this turd-on-legs wants to fuck Stephanie Key – not because of her appearance, her personality or any of the other, mundane, trivial reasons two people might fuck.  No, the reason he wants to fuck her is he thinks squirting semen in her would be a suitable gesture of contempt for her father.  That’s rape culture right there, folks. Attitudes to sex and to women don’t get much more poisonous than this – quite an achievement for a self-proclaimed Green voter…

Can’t have put it better nyself.

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Labour’s latest billboard

August 27th, 2014 at 12:43 pm by David Farrar

Owly Images

This is not a parody. Iain Lees-Galloway posted it.

Good to have them be honest about the impact of their pro-union policies.

UPDATE: For the terminally stupid, this was a graphic posted to the Internet by Iain Lees-Galloway, not an actual physical billboard.

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Food inflation now at -0.1%

August 27th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

foodinflation

Stats NZ has released their monthly food price index and it shows annual food inflation for the last 12 months was -0.1%, or basically food prices are stable.

The graph below shows food inflation since 2000. Note that the spike in 2011 was partly caused by the GST increase which saw income tax rates drop to compensate.

Food is one of the basic necessities, and the cost of food is a major factor for families. Food prices are mainly impacted by global and domestic markets, but government policies that impact the economy also have an effect.

Over the five years 8 months since November 2011, food prices have increased 10.3% and fruit and vegetable prices have increased 12.5%. On a per annum basis this is 1.8% and 2.2% food inflation respectively.

During the nine previous years, annual food inflation averaged 4.1% and fruit & vegetable prices increased 5.8% per year on average. Fruit and veges costs 52% more in November 2008 than November 1999.

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Boris for PM

August 27th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

London Mayor Boris Johnson will seek to become a Member of Parliament in west London at next year’s general election, his spokesman says, raising the prospect of a future run at becoming prime minister.

Johnson, known for his unkempt shock of blond hair and frequent gaffes, hopes to be selected as the Conservative Party candidate for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, a seat the party has held since 1970, his spokesman said on Tuesday.

This is exciting news. Boris as an MP again will either become Prime Minister or explode in a spectacular scandal, probably involving several women.

Johnson has always publicly played down his chances of eventually becoming prime minister, saying they were about as good as those “of finding Elvis on Mars or my being reincarnated as an olive”.

The King is alive!

A poll in June 2014 showed his approval rating as Mayor was 64% good and 27% poor. Even Labour and Lib Dem voters are more likely to say he is doing well than poor.

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$100 million for rural broadband

August 27th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

NBR reports:

InternetNZ has welcomed a move by ICT Minister Amy Adams to top up the six-year, $300 million Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) with $100 million more in contestable funding if National is re-elected.

Ms Adams has also promised $50 million to boost mobile phone coverage in remote areas.

The policy would be funded by extending the Telecommunications Development Levy, currently due to expire in 2016, for another three years.

The Levy (successor to the old Kiwi Share Levy that used to go straight into Telecom’s pocket) extracts $50 million a year from telecommunications companies, proportionate to their revenue (see Commerce Commission table right).

As the law stands, the levy will reduce to $10 million a year after 2016.

Funds from the levy go toward the RBI build, which is being carried out by contract winners Vodafone (building new cell towers fixed wireless broadband leg) and Chorus (fibre). Unlike the $1.35 billion the Crown is investing in various companies involved in the urban Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) rollout, the money does not have to be paid back, and Chorus and Vodafone get to operate RBI infrastructure on a commercial basis (with the proviso they give all retailers equal access). 

The fact the new funding is contestable is a blow for Chorus, which had been feeding off rumours that National will put more money toward public-private broadband. 

I think it is a good thing that the funding will be contestable, so rural regions get the best bang for the buck.

Today’s policy announcement has also put Labour on the backfoot. 

National has already comprehensively out-spent the previous Labour government on broadband; Labour’s ICT policy promised new spending in the region of $21 million.

Again, David Cunliffe and Clare Curran find themselves out-Laboured by Steven Joyce and Amy Adams.

Labour need all the spare money to pay families on welfare more money for staying on welfare.

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International expert says land supply is the reason for house inflation

August 27th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

David Killick at The Press reports:

Former World Bank principal planner Alain Bertaud, who visited Christchurch this month, has more than 30 years’ experience in urban planning. Now based in New York City, he has worked in places as diverse as France, the United States, Central America, Yemen, and Thailand. …

Providing affordable accommodation, according to Bertaud, is not that hard.

“The solution is to increase the supply of land. I would not bother so much on the construction of the housing itself, I think that can be taken care of fairly easily by the private sector.”

The opposite of what Labour is proposing. Labour has been against increasing the urban boundary in Auckland to allow more land to be used for housing.

Let’s figure it out. Look at your latest property valuation, or that of someone you know. Compare land value and “improvements” (the house). I bet land value accounts for over 30 per cent of your total property value. In some desirable areas, like coastal areas, land value may be over 50 per cent.

That is crazy. Bertaud says the rule of thumb is that land should be no more than 30 per cent.

In Houston, Texas, it would be only 15 per cent. “It’s strange because normally when the land prices are very high it’s a very dense country like Japan or Holland. This is not a dense country.”

Exactly. Unless we expect farms to take over the whole countryside, New Zealand has plenty of space for houses. “It’s a self-inflicted problem, frankly.”

It is, primarily by local government. From the point of view of local government, they like to restrict land, as it makes life easier for their planning departments. So land supply restrictions work well for the entity which decides them, but punish those seeking to buy a home.

Restricting land supply and imposing too many controls also stifles business growth, especially in the central city, Bertaud warns.

“I think it’s so inconsistent to put restrictions on height and say at the same time we want a compact city, we don’t want sprawl. If you put a restriction on height, it means you want people to use more land but you don’t provide this land.”

You need to allow growth to be both vertical and horizontal.

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General Debate 27 August 2014

August 27th, 2014 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel
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A former Saudi Commodore on Israel

August 27th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Abdulateef Al-Mulhim is a retired Royal Saudi Navy Commodore. He wrote a couple of years ago in Arab News:

 From the period of 1948 and to this day many confrontations have taken place. Some of them were small clashes and many of them were full-scale battles, but there were no major wars apart from the ones mentioned above. The Arab-Israeli conflict is the most complicated conflict the world ever experienced. On the anniversary of the 1973 War between the Arab and the Israelis, many people in the Arab world are beginning to ask many questions about the past, present and the future with regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The questions now are: What was the real cost of these wars to the Arab world and its people. And the harder question that no Arab national wants to ask is: What was the real cost for not recognizing Israel in 1948 and why didn’t the Arab states spend their assets on education, health care and the infrastructures instead of wars?

The total cost of the conflict is massive.

The Arab world wasted hundreds of billions of dollars and lost tens of thousands of innocent lives fighting Israel, which they considered is their sworn enemy, an enemy whose existence they never recognized. The Arab world has many enemies and Israel should have been at the bottom of the list. The real enemies of the Arab world are corruption, lack of good education, lack of good health care, lack of freedom, lack of respect for the human lives and finally, the Arab world had many dictators who used the Arab-Israeli conflict to suppress their own people. 

These dictators’ atrocities against their own people are far worse than all the full-scale Arab-Israeli wars. 

Israel is a convenient diversion for many rulers in the region.

Many Arabs don’t know that the life expectancy of the Palestinians living in Israel is far longer than many Arab states and they enjoy far better political and social freedom than many of their Arab brothers. Even the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip enjoy more political and social rights than some places in the Arab World. Wasn’t one of the judges who sent a former Israeli president to jail is an Israeli-Palestinian? 

The region would do much better if there was peace with Israel.

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Churches campaigning

August 26th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

churchcampaign

A reader writes:

Hi David.  The Anglican and Methodist churches appear to have entered the election campaign, at least in Chch.  These huge 3-hoarding wide landscape erections (all with “Oops” but variant wording) have appeared at numerous church sites in the city, with various anti-Govt messages (such as national debt etc not just social policy or poverty as canvassed by the Sallies sometime sin a political framework).  Haven’t seen this before. I have sited them at two main Anglican churches and one Methodist one, so it is obviously coordinated.  

That reminds me that I must find time after the election to work on a members’ bill to remove tax free legal status from churches in New Zealand. They should have no special status beyond that of any other NGO.

 

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The NZ First list

August 26th, 2014 at 2:14 pm by David Farrar

NZ First have announced:

1 Rt Hon Winston Peters
2 Tracey Martin
3 Richard Prosser
4 Fletcher Tabuteau
5 Barbara Stewart
6 Clayton Mitchell
7 Denis O’Rourke
8 Pita Paraone
9 Ron Mark
10 Darroch Ball
11 Mahesh Bindra
12 Ria Bond
13 Mataroa Paroro
14 Romuald Rudzki
15 Jon Reeves
16 Asenati Lole- Taylor

Andrew Williams has dropped off the list entirely, after he criticised his draft ranking of 13. I must say that I don’t see what he had done to deserve his demotion (unlike Lole-taylor who had made numerous blunders). Williams did some dumb stuff as Mayor of North Shore, but had been pretty restrained as an MP.

A huge promotion for the MP for Wogistan, Richard Prosser.

If NZ First make 5% then Fletcher Tabuteau and Clayton Mitchell will be MPs. It is good to see NZ First bringing some new blood in.

Fletcher Tabuteau is their Rotorua candidate and has run a marketing and communications company. He is now a educator in business teaching.

Clayton Mitchell is their Tauranga candidate and a local City Councillor. He has said he will carry on doing both, if elected.

Ron Mark would get in if NZ First gets close to 7%.

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Will Labour abolish three strikes for repeat serious offenders?

August 26th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Labour voted against the three strikes legislation, and off memory were committed to abolishing it in 2011.  Does anyone know if this is still their policy? They are saying nothing publicly, which makes me suspect it it – but they know it will be unpopular, so keep quiet on it.

The Herald reviews law & order policies, yet doesn’t mention the three strikes law once. Will a change of Government mean repeat serious violent and sexual offenders continue to get parole?

Once the review was completed, Labour would consider several changes which improved the court experience for sexual assault victims. It would look at changing cross-examination rules to make sure victims were not “put on trial”. Specialist courts could be established which trained judges, lawyers and staff in the dynamics of sexual violence and dealing with victims. And the definition of consent could be amended so the burden of proof was shifted from the Crown to the accused. This provoked some public discomfort as critics felt it could impinge on a person’s right to be presumed innocent.

Yep under Labour you will be presumed to be a rapist, ad will have to prove consent, if there is no dispute that sex occurred.

 

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Green Party activist guilty of defacing National billboards

August 26th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Spraying graffiti on a National Party billboard and resisting the police officers who caught him has led to a community work sentence for a Christchurch man.

It is the second time Luka Emerson De Spa, 21, has had National in his sights.

Four years ago he was arrested for jumping on top of Prime Minister John Key’s car at an event in Christchurch where De Spa was with a group of protesters.

As a first offender aged 17, he was granted diversion for that charge, which meant he escaped having a conviction on his record.

He pleaded guilty in the Christchurch District Court today to charges of defacing a National Party billboard, unlawful possession of a spray-paint can and resisting arrest.

Resisting arrest. Not a peaceful chap!

She said he was a student training to be a chef and had no proper income. He had a 3-year-old child for whom he paid child support.

If he has no proper income, then I suspect the taxpayers are in fact paying for the child he fathered when he was 17.

I blogged on Luka in 2010:

Luka himself appears to be a Green Party member, posting on their Facebook page and advocating a vote for the Green Party in 2011 just a few days ago.

Luka’s father is a former co-convener of the Greens.

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The Maori Party list

August 26th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Teacher and mother of nine Marama Fox and former party parliamentary staffer Chis Mckenzie are leading the Maori Party’s party list behind Co-Leader Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell.

The list released this evening has Mr Flavell at number one, Ikaroa Rawhiti candidate Mrs Fox at number two, Te Tai Hauauru candidate Chris McKenzie at number three and Tuhoe activist Tame Iti at number seven.

Co vice president Donna Gardiner said youth was well represented on the 24 strong list with six of the top ten under 45.

The two youngest on the list, Reverend Te Hira Paenga who is facing off against Hone Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau and Anaru Kaipo standing in Whangarei were both 32 years of age.

 Maori Party List

1. Te Ururoa Flavell (Waiariki)
2. Marama Fox (Ikaroa Rawhiti)
3. Chris McKenzie – Te Tai Hauauru
4. Te Hira Paenga (Te Tai Tokerau)
5. Ngaire Button (Te Tai Tonga)
6. Nancy Tuaine (Whanganui)
7. Tame Iti
8. Eraia Kiel
9. Anaru Kaipo (Whangarei)
10. Raewyn Bhana (Manurewa)

It is possible the Maori Party may get some List MPs. If they only retain one electorate seat, then a 2.0% party vote would get them two List MPs on top of that.

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Guest Post: REVIEW: Dr Who “Deep Breath”

August 26th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

REVIEW: Dr Who “Deep Breath By John Stringer

BBC Season 8: Episode 1 (Peter Capaldi, new Doctor).

Global simulcast and cinema screenings 23/24 August 2014.

I was tempted to take a rubber toilet plunger with me to DR WHO 8:1 (the 12th Doctor, well sorta the 13th or maybe the 15th) that opened worldwide yesterday as Season 8, Episode 1 (ok, both the numbering of the Doctors and episodes is as confusing as the time continuum).  In New Zealand it was featured at Hoyts cinemas. I attended the sunday 10am session (both sessions completely sold out) with Sky Goddess and Off Spring 2.  Here’s the official trailer as an appetizer before we get in to it…

Dr Who, Romance and Same-Sex Marriage

This outing is written by Who master Steven Moffat, responsible for much of the genius of the revived franchise and was directed by Ben Wheatley.

It returns several old favourites: Strax the Sontaran (who opens this meal), the Silurian Madame Vastra (in a same-sex marriage) and companion Clara (whose ‘romance’ with 11Dr Matt Smith is well and truly ‘put to bed’ [pun intend].  Capaldi 12Dr: “I’ve made some mistakes, but I intend to do something about that…I am NOT your boyfriend!”  “I miss Amy…”  “WHAT?” “Nothing.”).

Well, I’m glad we got that sorted out: no more ambiguous metro-sexual shenanigans in the Tardis, thank you, we’re British! And being an older man (“who worried these wrinkles on to my new face?”) it’s nice to re-establish the Hartnell plutonic-ness of an older Doctor hanging about in Police Boxes with young attractive women in public places. Rolf Harris and all that.

And as if to reiterate the point, Capaldi 12Dr wears a… but we’re getting ahead of ourselves (how very Time Lord of me).

The Opening (Strax)

Episode 8: 1 opens with a humorous video report to camera by Strax recapping the respective reincarnations of the Doctor, which is very useful for new entrants.  Lots of tongue-in-cheek references to chins, ears, scarves and Strax continually mistaking Dr Who’s gender.  Hilarious.  I’ve never really liked Strax, he’s kind of like Pumba from Lion KIng, and as a military race(“Kill them and melt them with Acid!”), Sontarans should have deeper more menacing voices, like the Zygons. They’re like happy Mr Potato Heads in armour.

And Strax is rendered permanently cartoonish when 12Dr’s opening lines are to confuse him with “Grumpy?” “Sleepy?” “Dopey?” of the Seven Dwarves.

This ability to laugh (and Strax roars with laughter) at the previous actors has always been an ease of the Dr Who writers and an accepted playfulness.

The Previous Doctors

Previous doctors have been nicknamed by other Doctors, as:

  • 11Dr. Chinny -Matt Smith
  • 10 Dr. Sandshoes -David Tennant (married to 3Dr’s daughter in real life).
  • 8.5D.r Granddad -John Hurt, to which we might add:
  • 3Dr. Dandy -Jon Pertwee
  • 4Dr Scarfie -Tom Baker
  • 5Dr Cricket -Colin Baker.
  • 12Dr Capldi will perhaps win the moniker “Eyebrows.”  “Look at these eyebrows. These are attack eyebrows! They could take off bottle caps!”

Capaldi as 12Dr

Peter Capaldi is brilliant: quirky, sexless, eccentric, old(er), darker, all hands and legs and YES a Scottish accent that wafts in and out. 12Dr: “You all sound… English! You’ve developed a fault!” He is a conscious move away from the younger Dr Whos of the past decades This is reinforced by the new costume, a throw back to the coat tails of the 1Dr (Hartnell) and 2Dr (Troughton) but with contemporary accessories (Dr Martin type shoes and a red inner lining). Capaldi pulls this off.  I would place him as a combination of Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee.

Capaldi has been in Who before, as a Roman character, but is perhaps best known to us as the scientist at the back end of World War Z with Brad Pitt.

This 12th Doctor is confused and ‘lost’ in the ruin of his latest transformation, and dashes about like a concussion patient, rambling manically, but eventually gets to the crusade.  That helps to establish this character as a bit darker a bit more unpredictable (doesn’t Dr Who always reflect his age, as in era)?  The girlies are left abandoned and gasping, only to be saved and reunited “just as friends” in time to hold the female audience (who after all, like older men?).

The wrinkles and gravitas coupled with the Matt Smith and David Tennant acting physicality is a perfect blend.

The Tardis and its Arrival.

The Tardis arrives creatively, caught within the throat of a ginormous roaring female T-Rex godzilla-ing herself around Edwardian London and threatening to knock over Big Ben.  “Sorry, I brought you over accidentally…I’m not flirting…but you are a big sexy female…”  Momma T.Rex eventually gets roasted from within by the bad guys.

The Tardis is re-decorated for this new Doctor, evoking the eternal script line, “You’ve re-decorated! I don’t like it.”  “Yes, I miss the roundy things, I need more roundy things.”

Clara

Is awesome.  There is a very moving phone call between Clara and 11Dr Who (Matt Smith) through time and space that helps embed the transition to Capaldi…but no spoiler on that.

Let’s get to the baddies.

Rubbish Robots from the Dawn of Time

A new alien beastie.  A half man half robot restaurateur, not a cyborg exactly, who makes a ghastly Edwardian air balloon out of human skin.  He’s all ‘borrowed’ eyeballs and clanking clock wheels, oh, and a blow torch on his Hellboy fist stump.  None of them breathe, thus the episode’s title “Deep Breath.” His minions evoke the scary Weeping Angels but with slashers. BothOff Spring 2 and I thought we were witnessing the origins of the Cybermen.

Like the Snowmen, and the Weeping Angels before them, these clockwork cyborgs tap the rich Dr Who vein of childhood fairy tale creepiness (Victorian clockwork dolls).

Oh and head Rubbish Robot looks like Liam Neeson. More of that Scottish theme again, to go with Clara’s tartan mini skirt.

Brick Bats

I did not like the new theme version, it was a bit ‘soft.’  Bring back the grimy mechanical earlier versions.

I’m a bit tired of the London period pieces, and Matt Smith’s Western episodes were a bit kitsch. I’d like some more alien planet stuff (cue some obligatory BBC CO2 smoke).  But 8:1 I guess sets off from where it began, London, and British Victorian and Edwardian stables. British Empire and all that hurrah!  Dr Who is re-colonising the world, including the USA.

Extra Features

There were some extra features, and we got to view Who and Clara (Jenna Coleman) at the first script reading of Episode 8:1 with the other actors.  You see here just how brilliant these actors are and how much talent is required to pull this stuff off.

The real hero for me was the writing.  The dialogue is quick, witty and fun.  The show is able to be hilarious, almost cartoonish, yet sinister and moving. Not many shows can achieve that (and over 50 years?): Dr Who does this in Zygorian spades.

Here are some of my favourite quotes from the first episode.

•12Dr and Silurian Vastra: “I never bother with sleeping. I just do standing-up cat naps.”
”And when do you do that?” 
”Generally, when everyone else is talking. I like to skip ahead to my bits [of the script].”

• “I could use it to blow this whole room if I see one thing I don’t like, and that includes karaoke and mimes.”

• “He’s seen stars fall to dust. You might as well flirt with a mountain range.”

• “I need clothes. Yes, clothes and a big, long scarf. No… never mind that. That’ll look stupid.”

• “Have you ever looked in a mirror and thought, ‘I’ve seen that face before’?”

• Re the same sex marriage between Vastra and Jenny…”I don’t like her, ma’am, I love her. And as to different, well, she’s a lizard.”

Great relaunch and reincarnation.  Full of change and re-setting, with lots of back to the Future and framing the future with the Past.  Dr Who just keeps us guessing. We-oo-o-ooo.

~ John Stringer.

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