General Debate 29 May 2016

May 29th, 2016 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

The Channel Nine report

May 29th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Stephen Rice, the producer who spent two weeks in a Lebanese jail, appears to have taken the fall for the 60 Minutes child snatch fiasco, despite a so-called “independent review” recommending that no individual be sacked over the matter.

The interim report into the saga, handed down on Friday, blasted the 60 Minutes operation for systemic failures at every level.

The report’s authors – Gerald Stone, the founder of 60 Minutes in Australia in 1979; senior Nine executive David Hurley; and Nine Entertainment Co’s in-house counsel Rachel Launders – found that a number of “critically relevant questions” relating to the decision to film the attempted rescue-cum-abduction of the children of Brisbane mother Sally Faulkner in Lebanon were never raised “by the executive producer who approved it, the senior producer who proposed it, or the reporting team that volunteered to participate in it”.

Amongst the questions the report says were never asked are:

Would payment to the child recovery agency encourage an unlawful act?

Could such a payment backfire on Nine?

Would Nine’s staff be participating in an unlawful act?

What were the potential consequences if the act failed?

What would be the impact on the reputation of Nine and 60 Minutes if the operation failed or resulted in injury? and

Did the public interest in telling the story outweigh the risks involved?

So these geniuses never even considered whether what they were funding was illegal and what might happen if it failed. Incredible. They’re lucky only one of them was sacked.

Further exacerbating the situation was the fact that 60 Minutes had come to operate with a degree of autonomy so great “that the executive producer saw no need to consult with the director of news & current affairs on the wisdom of commissioning this story”.

This is what surprised me. That a producer could decide to fund a televised kidnapping and not need to even consult with the director of news!

Review: Tickled

May 28th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Went to see the Tickled documentary on Monday night.

It was an intriguing 90 minute expose which was equally funny and disturbing.

The film is basically a public service documentary exposing the actions of David D’Amato and his decades of fixation with tickling videos. Not that there is anything wrong with tickling videos (if that is your thing) but the lengths D’Amato goes to to destroy people he has fallen out with, vilify them, bully them and hide his identity.

It all started a few years ago when David Farrier saw an ad for people to take part in a competitive tickling video and asked if he could do one of his light hearted stories on it. The response from “Jane O’Brien Media” was so virulent and over the top (basically saying that they want nothing at all to do with a homosexual journalist and there is nothing at all gay about videos of men tying other men down and ticking their bare bodies), that Farrier got intrigued.

With the technical skills of Dylan Reeve and some whois lookups they pieced together a network of sites all controlled by the one person.

As they started to make more inquiries, JOM flew not one but three people over from the US to NZ to try and encourage them to stop. The encouragement was a series of threats. This made them more determined and they flew to America to do further research and interviews.

They eventually worked out that the person behind all this was David D’Amato who had been sentenced in 2001 for posing as Terri DiSisto, better known as Terri Tickle. It seems after his sentence, he carried on under another persona.

This is one of the true stories that you would think is fictional. the film captures the weirdness of it all, while also exposing some very nasty behaviour from a rich guy who hides behind fake identities.

What I found most fascinating is the motiviation of D’Amato is not money. He doesn’t make money from his fetish. He inherited millions of dollars from his father. He could spend that in dozens of ways to have a happy nice life. But instead for some reason he is compelled to use it to harrass, threaten and intimidate people.

I’d definitely recommend seeing the documentary. It’s engrossing and captivating. They did a good job editing it so it is a punchy 90 minutes long.

A video interview on Vice with David Farrier is below

Read the rest of this entry »

Good one Bish

May 28th, 2016 at 3:20 pm by David Farrar

Chris Bishop facebooked:

This afternoon I got a message on my Facebook page from Joan about a poor wee kitten left on her front lawn, near death’s door. I had a free hour so I raced out to Waitangirua to pick it up. The poor thing was not in good shape – but it was still alive, just.

I got in touch with the Kitten Inn on the way and they said to take it direct to the Petone Vet hospital. They took it straight off me for the doc to check out. I hope it pulls through! The Kitten Inn will take care of it after that, and place it with a loving family. They’ve currently got 100 kittens awaiting homes, and perform a sterling service saving kittens from right around the Hutt. Thanks Susan and your team for all that you do!

Animal rescue charities are the best. Great Bish was able to help and pick the kitten up.

Union exposed lying about strike

May 28th, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Telegraph reports:

Doctors’ leaders aimed to drag out a bitter dispute over a new contract for 18 months and admitted pay is “the only real red line,” leaked messages reveal.

The secret strategy is revealed in more than 1000 pages of leaked Whatsapp messages – just weeks before 40,000 junior doctors vote on a deal which has just been agreed between the British Medical Association (BMA) and Government.

The correspondence, between members of the union’s Junior Doctors Committee, over the past six months discloses secret tactics which are at odds with the public messages being conveyed.

Despite repeated public protestations that safety, not pay, was the chief concern about proposed changes, a member the committee described pay as ““the only real red line” for junior doctors.

The messages show that while the union was claiming it wanted enter talks with Government, its committee chairman was privately suggesting that delaying tactics, and a string of strikes, could be the “best solution” to the dispute.

This is no surprise. The aim of the union was to hurt the Government, not get a settlement, and their claims of concern about safety were a smokescreen for simply wanting more money.

A great idea for Wellington

May 28th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Imagine heading down to Oriental Bay in July and looking out over the harbour on one of those typical calm, blue sky Wellington winter days. 

You know, the ones that follow the southerly storms and remind us of why we live here. Now imagine doing all this while lounging in a hot, outdoor, saltwater swimming pool. 

One Wellington businessman is working on making the fantasy a reality.

Prefab owner Jeff Kennedy is a member of the Better Te Aro Collective, which wants to rejuvenate the central city.

His idea is to create a hot pool complex next to Freyberg Pool, where the old open air, saltwater Te Aro Baths once were.

That’s a fantastic idea. Wellington has many great summer days (and still getting them in late May!) but the water is never warm. A heated outfoor recreational pool would be great.

1464342636159

Would be very popular with locals and tourists.

Garner on Labour

May 28th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Duncan Garner writes:

Would Jacinda Ardern and Phil Twyford be a better leadership team? Both are from Auckland. Both have performed well this year. Both know the issues. But sources tell me this won’t happen.

The caucus is resigned to heading into the election with Little at the helm. There is a growing acceptance within that Little won’t lead them to victory.

My sources also tell me Little has failed to raise any money and that’s crucial. Also, who can even tell what Labour really stands for any more.

Yes they claim they will sort out the housing woes, apparently, with a major scheme to build 100,000 homes across 10 years. Sounds great. Is it possible? Who knows.

Little’s claim to sort the housing crisis out within the first term doesn’t ring true.

No amount of wand- waving can sort Auckland’s housing issues within three years. It’s impossible.

Labour used to stand for a capital gains tax, then they dropped it. Yet this week they have talked once again about new taxes and targeting property investors and speculators. Does that mean a capital gains tax again? Possibly. But not for the 2017 election.

As far as I can tell their only solid policy is to spend an extra $1.2 billion a year (that’s 80% of the allowance for new spending) on subsidising 100% of tertiary fees for the most well off in society.

General Debate 28 May 2016

May 28th, 2016 at 8:29 am by David Farrar

Which US candidate do you most side with

May 28th, 2016 at 7:02 am by David Farrar

A comprehensive quiz to determine which 2016 Presidential candidate you most side with.

A slight worry that I side most (95%) with John McAfee who is slightly mad. But to be fair I got between 90% and 95% for all the libertarian candidates.

My other scores are:

  • Ted Cruz 88%
  • Donald Trump 67%
  • Hillary Clinton 41%
  • Bernie Sanders 36%

 

Life and 27 years no parole for Tully

May 27th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Work and Income double-killer Russell John Tully has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 27 years.

It is the second highest non-parole period ever handed down in New Zealand history.

Tully was found guilty in March of being the masked gunman who stormed the Ashburton Winz centre on September 1, 2014 and shot dead receptionist Peggy Noble, 67, from point blank range and three times shot case manager Susan Leigh Cleveland, 55, as she pleaded for her life.

The 50-year-old was also found guilty of attempting to murder case manager Kim Adams. He was found not guilty of attempting to murder case manager Lindy Curtis who was shot in the leg and badly injured hiding under a desk.

Good – an evil manipulative man with a huge sense of entitlement who should never get to terrorise people again. He will be 77 before he is even eligible for parole, and it seems unlikely even then he would be deemed safe to release. So hopefully the families of the victims can now start to rebuild their lives.

General Debate 27 May 2016

May 27th, 2016 at 2:57 pm by David Farrar

A new media venture

May 27th, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stoppress reports:

The departures of Tim Murphy and Mark Jennings from their respective roles as the editor in chief of the New Zealand Herald and head of news at MediaWorks were both mourned as casualties of the changing media landscape.

However, the social media anguish seems to have been pre-emptive. 

Earlier today, Jennings and Murphy told StopPress that they were launching a media consultancy called Jennings/Murphy, which would provide strategic media assistance to businesses or individuals looking for advice across editorial, video production, strategic comms and media.

The pair will shortly launch their new website, and Jennings invites those interested in their services to approach them.

With decades of experience between them, countless contacts and inside knowledge of the challenges facing modern media companies, the pair do seem well suited to providing strategic advice for corporates struggling in this space.

The launch of the consultancy does not, however, imply that the newsmen have departed journalism for good.  

In addition to starting this business, the pair also unveiled—cue widespread journalistic cheers—plans to start a news site together.

“We are hoping to develop a home for quality news journalism here that will hopefully fill the gap from which mainstream media has withdrawn a bit,” says Murphy.

Sounds a good plan. Good luck to them.

Murphy says the aim is to develop a site that’s led by editorial judgement rather than web analytics. “We’ve got to turn away from clicks to clocks,” he says quoting a speaker at the recent International News Media Association Awards in London.

“We certainly don’t think there’s a market for something that’s dull or unworthy either. We’re not interested in setting up something that’s straight-laced niche play. It’s got to be broad and it’s got to have high appeal.

“There will be news, current affairs and investigations. And it will be about communicating in a more conversational way than traditional news.”

At this point, Jennings steps into the conversation and reminds me that the website hasn’t launched yet.

“I was smiling when Tim was saying, it’s going to be this and it’s going to be that, because we’re not off the ground yet,” Jennings says.

Like Murphy, he does, however believe there’s a clear gap in the market for the type of stories they’re hoping to tell.

“There’s constant feedback coming to us, with people saying, ‘Why can’t we have this sort of news? Why do we have to scroll to the bottom of Stuff or NZ Herald to find the stories we want? We don’t want the car crashes, we don’t want the Bachelor stories and we don’t want the lost dogs.’.

And half the stories on the main sites seem to be from overseas newspapers, but you only discover that at the very end.

Clinton pinged by State Department Inspector General

May 27th, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Washington Post reports:

One of the two big dominoes in the Hillary Clinton email controversy toppled today:The State Department’s inspector general released its report on the email practices of Clinton and a number of other past secretaries of state. (The other major domino is, of course, the FBI investigation into Clinton’s decision to exclusively use a private email server while serving as the nation’s top diplomat.)

The report, which you can read in its entirety here, badly complicates Clinton’s past explanations about the server and whether she complied fully with the laws in place governing electronic communication. And it virtually ensures that Clinton’s email practices will be front and center in Donald Trump’s fusillade of attacks against her credibility and honesty between now and Nov. 8.

The report is quite damning in what it reveals.

Clinton used an inappropriate method of preserving her documents. Her approach would not have been approved if it had been requested by a more junior member of the State Department staff.  The report also suggests that despite a Clinton aide’s insistence that the method of preserving her emails had been submitted to a legal review back in 2010, there is no evidence that such a review took place. And, here’s the kicker: Clinton refused to sit for a formal interview.

Staff who raised the issue of Clinton’s personal server were lied to and said it had been approved by legal review, and more so were told never to raise the issue again!

More fishing misinformation

May 27th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

I’ve blogged previously on the campaign to ban NZ hoki because a dolphin was caught in a net three years ago. It wasn’t one of the very rare Maui’s dolphon (pop 55) but a Hector’s dolphin (pop 7400).

But the misinformation is even worse than that, Cameron Slater points out:

Maui Dolphins are a coastal and inshore waters species. Further he would know that Hoki is caught in trawlers, using pelagic (medium depth, neither close to the bottom nor near the shore) and bottom trawling methods in offshore waters…in other words nowhere near where Maui dolphins live, eat and play.

And:

Moreover the Hoki fishery hundred of kilometres south of Maui dolphin’s normal range. Maui dolphins are a West coast species largely found  north of Whanganui and South of the Kaipara harbour. Hoki is caught off the West Coast of the South Island, Cook Strait and the Chatham Rise to the east of the South Island. They are hundreds of mile apart at their closet possible range. The report from the Germans and the emotive clap-trap being pushed by idiots like Trubridge and the Media party don’t even match the facts.

Today we have the campaign organiser admit they know that hoki is not fished anywhere near Maui’s dolphins – despite is being the centre of their campaign:

We are well aware that hoki is a pelagic fish whose range does not overlap with Maui’s dolphins.

I’ve yet to see many in the media seriously scrutinise the claims being made, or doing any independent research on the claims. They just report the propaganda.

NZ farmers reject handouts

May 27th, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Dairy farmers across the Tasman are looking to politicians to support them through the current milk price slump but their New Zealand counterparts do not expect any such treatment from the Budget.

Deputy Australian Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, after a three-day trip to Victoria, last week called for a bipartisan approach to develop a dairy industry support package to help dairy farmers struggling with milk price downgrades from the two biggest players in that market – Murray Goulburn and Fonterra.

But New Zealand dairy farmers, many with memories going back to the farm subsidy days of the 1970s and early 1980s, don’t expect any special treatment from the Budget.

In general terms, Federated Farmers wants the Government to keep a tight rein on the country’s finances, to help farmers improve productivity, and to address the imbalances posed by Auckland’s booming property market.

But Federated Farmers dairy chairman Andrew Hoggard said dairy farmers did not want handouts.

So refreshing to have a sector group reject handouts as a solution.

“The Budget can’t do anything about the world price so that’s at the forefront of our minds at the moment,” Hoggard said.

If your business involves a global commodity such as dairy or coal or oil, you’re at the mercy of the global market.

I’d be grateful for 31 years of peppercorn rentals

May 27th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A Wellington furniture-maker is being forced to pack up his tools, after the death of his longstanding benefactor.

Rick White secured his workshop in Leeds St 31 years ago, thanks to a handshake deal with former district court judge Ian Borrin.

But Borrin died in March, leaving the building as part of a $30 million bequest to create a charitable trust. 

White, owner of Waywood Furniture, was paying $800 a month in rent, which never changed while Borrin was alive. The commercial monthly rate today would be about 10 times that.

So for 31 years he paid a peppercorn rental. And the owner has died, and now that no longer applies. What is unexpected or unusual about that?

He planned to carry on working there until he died, happy, over his workbench.

Then he should have approached Judge Borrin and asked him how much would it cost to buy the building.

He said he had a duty to the judge’s estate and the foundation to “maximise the revenue stream” from his properties. There was a prospective new tenant who had made an unconditional written offer to take a lease and redevelop the property.

Patterson said he spoke to Borrin before his death, and it was his wish that the redevelopment proceed.  There was no written record of the judge’s wishes with regard to White’s workshop: “The judge wanted him to exit in a friendly manner, but also in a timely manner.”

White had now been given 3½ months to leave.

“He’s getting on a bit, he’s just trying to maximise the value of his tenancy. The world’s moved on, I’m afraid.

“We’re now in a commercial world, and I’m afraid Rick is a minor casualty.”

Nikau Foundation manager Louise Parkin said the group did not yet have Borrin’s assets in the trust, as they were still in probate.

She confirmed Borrin had the discretion to hold White’s rent unchanged for 31 years, and said the full commercial rate for the premises would be about $80,000 a year.

But at present, once rates and insurance were paid, the property was actually losing money.

“Strictly, it would be unethical for us to subsidise an individual business owner at the trust’s expense, for charitable purposes.”

If Judge Borrin wanted him to retain it for life, he would have said so in the will. If I was Mr White I’d be grateful for the 31 years of peppercorn rentals, rather than complaining they have ended.

NZ vs Norway

May 27th, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

From a TED talk by Michael Green:

Gross Domestic Product has become the yardstick by which we measure a country’s success. But, says Michael Green, GDP isn’t the best way to measure a good society. His alternative? The Social Progress Index, which measures things like basic human needs and opportunity.

Analysts, reporters and big thinkers love to talk about Gross Domestic Product. Put simply, GDP, which tallies the value of all the goods and services produced by a country each year, has become the yardstick by which we measure a country’s success. But there’s a big, elephant-like problem with that: GDP only accounts for a country’s economic performance, not the happiness or well-being of its citizens. With GDP, if your richest 100 people get richer, your GDP rises … but most of your citizens are just as badly off as they were before.

That’s one of the reasons the team that I lead at the Social Progress Imperative launched the Social Progress Index in 2014. The Social Progress Index determines what it means to be a good society according to three dimensions: Basic Human Needs (food, water, shelter, safety); Foundations of Wellbeing (basic education, information, health and a sustainable environment); and Opportunity (do people have rights, freedom of choice, freedom from discrimination, and access to higher education?)

GDP is very important as it allows a country to do a lot of the other stuff, but it is not the only indicator that matters.

Chart 2: A telling comparison: New Zealand vs. Norway
Countries can experience similar levels of social progress at vastly different levels of GDP per capita. New Zealand achieves a Social Progress score of 87.08, which is almost as high as Norway’s 88.36, but at a GDP per capita that is half that of Norway: $32,808 versus $62,448.

The chart is:

slide-21-michael-green

Green comments:

If you look at New Zealand’s scorecard, it does a bit better than Norway on opportunity — on personal rights in particular — and a little worse on personal safety and ecosystem sustainability.

What exactly is driving this? You’d have to ask the New Zealanders. Indeed, that’s one of the things we hope to do next: identify role models for other countries and unpack how exactly they’re doing the things they do well.

I think one of the things we do well is focus hard of equality of opportunity. This is very very different from equality of outcome, but makes a big difference.

This year, we worked out a Social Progress score for the world. We’ve taken the population-weighted average of all the countries and summed it up together. This gave a level of social progress that is 61 out of 100, which means that the average human being lives at a level of social progress somewhere between Cuba and Kazakhstan.

Somewhat depressing but was worse in the past.

Trump clinches the nomination

May 27th, 2016 at 7:17 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Donald Trump has reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for US president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and set the stage for a bitter autumn campaign.

Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count on Thursday (Friday NZ Time) by a small number of the party’s unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the national convention in July.

Among them is Oklahoma GOP chairwoman Pam Pollard.

“I think he has touched a part of our electorate that doesn’t like where our country is,” Pollard said. “I have no problem supporting Mr Trump.”

It takes 1237 delegates to win the Republican nomination. Trump has reached 1238.

Amazing that Trump has defeated 16 candidates faster than Clinton can defeat the most left wing US Senator to get the Democratic nomination.

The campaign against Clark

May 26th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Helen Clark is a victim of her own success, Prime Minister John Key has suggested.

Clark is embroiled in controversy over her bid for the United Nations’ top job after an international publication claimed her candidacy had sparked an “internal uproar”.

In a lengthy article highly critical of Clark, Foreign Policy’s Colum Lynch said Clark had left a trail of “embittered peers and subordinates” at the United Nations Development Programme, which she has headed for the last seven years.

The claims against her included that Clark “ruthlessly ended the careers of underlings in her quest to advance her candidacy and of undercutting the UN’s promotion of human rights,” Lynch wrote.

I’m sure Clark did ruthlessly end many careers at UNDP. That is not necessarily a bad thing, as many UN organisations are bloated and inefficient.

Key said on Wednesday Clark was being targeted because she was the front runner. He predicted the campaign would get dirty.

“I think it shows you that, as the front-runner, there are some people who want the job and don’t want her to get it because they are bidding to get the title themselves,” Mr Key said on the way to question time today.

“But, look, at the end of the day, the fact that her organisation led some change and she implemented that change, should come as no surprise to anybody. It just shows you the campaign might get a little bit dirty.”

Still rather surreal to have Key defending Clark, and saying the campaign against her is just dirty politics!

New Zealand sources have previously acknowledged that Clark is not universally popular at UNDP after leading a restructuring drive that saw more than 200 staffers at its New York headquarters sacked after inheriting an organisation that was top heavy with senior managers.

But they say Clark is well respected as a result of those changes, one of the factors behind her being seen as a front runner to replace UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon when he steps down later this year.

Clark remains the favourite with the bookies. She is 2/1 with Paddypower, compared to 5/1 for Irina Bokova and 4/1 for Vuk Jeremic. Kevin Rudd by the way is 20/1.

A reflection on Hiroshima

May 26th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

James Martin writes:

Millions of Americans have a personal or family connection to World War II. One is Salon columnistCamille Paglia who, in answering a letter from a reader in her April 21 column, mentioned her father’s service during the war, explaining how he and his Army unit, which was slated for an invasion of Japan, were “spared from certain decimation by the two atomic bombs and Japan’s surrender.”

Paglia’s father was among many thousands spared because of President Harry Truman’s decision to launch a nuclear strike against Imperial Japan. His order to attack Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, was carried out in no small part by my uncle, Maj. Tom Ferebee. He was the bombardier aboard the Enola Gay, the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb, and that in doing so, ushered in the nuclear age.

As President Obama prepares for his visit to Hiroshima May 27, I recall my uncle’s personal reflections. As the bombardier, peering through his Norden bombsight, he was the last man to see Hiroshima in any detail before it was leveled, making his perspectives on the event somewhat unique.

Definitely a unique perspective.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff estimated as many as 134,556 dead and missing Americans. A study for the office of War Secretary Henry Stimson put the figure at 400,000 to 800,000 dead GIs, with Japanese fatalities reckoned between five and 10 million military personnel and civilians. In addition to combat casualties, the more than 27,000 American POWs held by Japan were subject to immediate execution should the United States invade.

The nuclear attack on Hiroshima was terrible. All warfare is. The power unleashed by the splitting of the atom was monumental. But tragic as the bombing of Hiroshima was, it was also necessary. The alternative to Hiroshima would have been one of the bloodiest, if not the bloodiest, slaughter in human history.

An invasion of the home islands would have been terrible for everyone – military on both sides, and Japanese civilians.

No apology is necessary for sparing Japan the unspeakable horror of an invasion to end the war. No contrition is needed for an act that preserved hundreds of thousands of lives. One can thoughtfully reflect on the awful destructive power of the atomic bomb while understanding the indispensable role it played in world history. Maj. Ferebee never lost any sleep over the bombing of Hiroshima, and neither should President Obama.

Hard to disagree.

Budget 2016

May 26th, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The surprise in the Budget this year is that there is no surprise!

The last few years there has been a significant surprise such as the increase in welfare benefits or free primary health care for under 13s. There was no surprise this year, just the normal allocation of spending.

There’s nothing in the Budget to get particularly excited about, but also nothing to condemn. Of course that won’t stop the usual suspects condemning it in strident tones, but the reality is that the Government has spent all the money it has, and spent it in the areas you’d expect them to.

What is pleasing is that surpluses of $700 million are projected for this year and next year. That’s a very small surplus, but we are one of the few developed countries around that has managed a surplus. Most of our peers are not forecast to hit surplus until at least 2020.

The Economy

  • Average economic growth of 2.8% projected
  • NZ has been 7th fastest growing economy over last five years, among developed countries
  • Surplus for this year projected to be $700 million and the same for next year. Then in 2018 hits $2.5b and $5.0b in 2019. So unlikely to see tax cuts until 2019.
  • 200,000 more people in work than three years ago and further 170,000 jobs projected
  • Average wage projected to hit $63,000 a year – was $47,000 in 2008
  • Net debt to peak next year at 25.6% of GDP then fall to 19.3%

Spending

  • Operating Allowance are around $1.5 billion a year compared to $4.3b a year of last term of Labour
  • Core crown expenses at 29.7% of GDP, down from 34%.

Health

  • $2.2 billion extra for health over four years
  • $1.6b for DHBs
  • $169m for disability support
  • $124m for Pharmac

Infrastructure

  • $2.1 billion more for infrastructure being $1.4 capex and $0.7 opex
  • $857m for the new IRD system to replace the 25 year old system
  • $883m for schools funding 480 new classrooms, nine new schools and rebuilding Christchurch schools
  • $115m for regional roads
  • $190m for Kiwirail

Innovation

  • $761 million for innovation being $411m for science and innovation and $257m for tertiary education.
  • $97m more for health research
  • $95m for regional economic development
  • A 49% increase in funding for the Marsden Fund

Social Investment

  • $640 million for social investment including $200 million for replacing CYF
  • $200 million more for housing for 750 more places for those with most pressing housing needs, $42m for 3,000 emergency housing places, a new emergency housing grant and $36 million to continue home insulation. Also $100m to free up land in Auckland for housing

Other

  • $17m more for Antarctica NZ
  • ETS two for one subsidy to end, saving $356 million
  • $100 million for freshwater improvement
  • Cumulative spending commitments on Christchurch now reaches $17b
  • Tobacco excise tax to continue to increase at 10% a year taking a pack of 20 from $20 to $30. An extra $425m of tax revenue
  • The top 10% of income earners now pay 45% of income tax. The bottom 50% of income earners pay 10% of income tax
  • Those on the top tax rate (earning over $70,000) contribute 60% of income tax revenue

Gary Johnson at 10%

May 26th, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

538 reports:

Gary Johnson might be on the verge of becoming a household name.

At the moment, he’s probably most often confused with that plumber who fixed your running toilet last month or your spouse’s weird friend from work who keeps calling the landline, but he’s neither — he’s the former governor of New Mexico, likely Libertarian candidate for president, and he’s polling at 10 percent in two recently released national polls against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

A Morning Consult survey published Tuesday and found Clinton getting 38 percent of the vote, Trump 35 and Johnson 10, with 17 percent undecided. A Fox News poll conducted from May 14-17 showed Trump leading over Clinton, 42 percent to 39 percent, but Johnson at 10 percent as well. Lest you think this is some fluky May development, a Monmouth Universitysurvey conducted in mid-March — while the political universe was still busy wringing its hands over the Republican nomination — found that in a three-way race, Clinton would get 42 percent, Trump 34 percent and Johnson 11 percent.

Johnson is who I support to be President. He was an excellent Governor of New Mexico and is the rare breed with executive experience but also stood by his principles.

It is unlikely he can win (to say the least) but if he builds up enough support, then he might be able to get into the presidential debates – and the public might like what they see.

Boris sticks it to Erdoğan

May 26th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

Boris Johnson has won a £1,000 prize for a rude poem about the Turkish president having sex with a goat.

The former mayor of London’s limerick, published by the Spectator as a rebuff to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s efforts to prosecute a German comedian’s offensive poem, also calls the president a “wankerer”.

Johnson, a former editor of the magazine, won the Spectator’s “President Erdoğan offensive poetry competition”, despite judge Douglas Murray saying the contest had received thousands of entries. The prize money has been donated by a reader.

The limerick was written off-the-cuff by the Conservative MP during an interview with the Swiss weekly magazine Die Weltwoche. …

Johnson then offered the limerick: “There was a young fellow from Ankara, Who was a terrific wankerer.

“Till he sowed his wild oats, With the help of a goat, But he didn’t even stop to thankera.”

Not bad for something created on live television.

This is why Boris as Prime Minister would be such fun – he’ll offend so many people!

The new GCSB Director

May 26th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

He had an early exposure to the murky world of espionage when called on as director of the Office of Treaty Settlements to give evidence about claims the intelligence agencies had spied on Maori organisations and provided information to the Crown in their negotiations.

That was news to him at the time, says Hampton, and – as it turned out – news to the intelligence agencies also, given that it turned out to be a “complete hoax”.

“So I’ve not necessarily believed everything I read. But yeah, there was public concern so I wanted to reassure myself there wasn’t a basis for it. But people don’t need to take my word for it: the [Michael Cullen, Patsy Reddy] report did a really good job of looking at what GCSB does and concluded they don’t consider there is any mass surveillance underway.”

Hampton’s appointment is the next step in the evolution of the GCSB as it is brought blinking into the public glaze after years of living in the shadows. Like his predecessors – acting director Una Jagose and, before her, career public servant Ian Fletcher – Hampton’s appointment breaks with the tradition of GCSB directors drawn from the military and diplomatic worlds.

I think that has been a major beneficial change under this Government – that both the SIS and the GCSB are no longer run primarily by ex military staff. Nothing against those staff, but there was a culture that absolutely everything had to be secret, rather than assessing the balance between operational security and transparency.

Prior to the GCSB, he was at the Education Ministry (helping sort out the Novopay debacle), Crown Law and chief talent officer at the State Services Commission. And like his counterpart at sister agency the Security Intelligence Service, Rebecca Kitteridge, Hampton brings a public service sensibility to the job. He is focused on GCSB’s “customers”, and liberally uses words like accountability, transparency, and added value – things the GCSB was not so good at a few years ago.

The change has been difficult and necessary; the story of the GCSB’s bungled spy craft in relation to German entrepreneur Kim Dotcom is now history, but it remains dogged in controversy as the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, probes a series of allegations, including that the agency wrongly spied on Kiwis in the Pacific, and used its eavesdropping powers to snoop on rival candidates for the job of World Trade Organisation boss when our Government was backing former trade minister Tim Groser for the job.

Hampton says he can’t talk about the specifics of any of those inquiries but points out they are “legacy” issues, pre-dating not just himself, but his two predecessors.

But, as he is at pains to note, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the GCSB collects foreign intelligence.

“One of our three core roles is to gather foreign intelligence. That is what we are [tasked] with doing. It’s not for us to set out own intelligence priorities, they are set for us by the Government of the day. Nor is it for us to decide what to do with that intelligence. We are not an enforcement agency. But the fact we do seek intelligence about the intentions, capabilities, and activities of foreign parties shouldn’t come as a surprise. That’s one of the key reasons we exist.”

The Inspector-General reports will be interesting. I doubt much will come of the Pacific inquiry as from what I have read any material picked up accidentally from NZers in a foreign country is disposed of. The WTO inquiry could be more interesting as that will focus on whether gathering intelligence on that contest fits within the purposes of the Act.

The intellectual giants of NZ First

May 26th, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

NZ First has added a new party policy to its list – voting the opposite to ACT leader David Seymour.

In a weird twist of events on Wednesday night NZ First pulled its initial support for the Official Information Act (Parliamentary Under-Secretaries) Amendment Bill purely because Seymour had decided to vote for it.

It passed its first reading in October after United Future leader Peter Dunne and the Maori Party broke ranks with National and ACT to get the Labour bill over the line.

Seymour, who is under-secretary for education and responsible for charter schools labelled it a “silly bill” but rather than lobby members to oppose it he decided to vote for it as well.

The bill is designed to make under-secretaries subject to the OIA but Seymour claims it’s a “stunt bill” targeting him. 

Speaking in the House on Wednesday night NZ First MP Denis O’Rourke said his party was “comforted” by the fact Seymour initially opposed the bill because he “always gets things wrong”.

“So by supporting it we thought we must be getting it right.”

But Seymour’s voting in favour of the bill at its second reading meant NZ First had to have a “re-think” and now “feel strongly that we must oppose it,” O’Rourke said.

What pathetic puerile politicians. You might expect this from ten year olds, but not MPs.  How can anyone take them seriously when they decide how to vote in Parliament based on this.