Let Russell become an Aussie!

March 27th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Crowe, 50, was born in Welington, but his family moved to Australia in 1968 when he was four. He first raised the issue in 2013, claiming that “apparently I fall between the cracks”.

Those cracks are a section of immigration law that demand that he must have been resident in Australia on February 26, 2001 (he wasn’t) or have spent 12 months here in the preceding two years (due to filming and promotional commitments for Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind, he hadn’t). 

I call on all patriotic NZers to support Russell in his quest to become an Aussie, even if it needs a law change.

However, the Department of Immigration has told Fairfax it has no record of either Mr Crowe’s applications or its alleged rejections.

“According to Departmental records, Mr Crowe has not submitted an application for a permanent visa or for Australian citizenship,” the department said in a written response to questions.

“Should Mr Crowe apply for and be granted a permanent visa, there are a variety of options that he may use to meet the eligibility requirements, including the residence requirements.” 

It would help if he actually applied, but again I think he deserves a special dispensation to be made Australian, even without an application.

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General Debate 27 March 2015

March 27th, 2015 at 10:23 am by David Farrar

Tougher sanctions for bad employers

March 27th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Government has announced some changes to employment law, to deal with the small number of bad or abusive employers. They are:

  • A 500% increase in maximum penalties to $50,000 for individuals and $100,000 for companies
  • Public naming of employers who breach minimum standards
  • The ability to ban an individual from being an employer if they are consistently in breach of the law

These are targeted at the worse repeat offenders, and show a nice balanced approach to the law.



Australia needs a three strikes law

March 27th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

One of Victoria’s most notorious criminals – the man who brutally raped and murdered Jill Meagher in 2012 – has been found guilty of raping three other women after being released on parole for a string of other heinous crimes.

He was on parole?

Two of the victims, a Dutch backpacker and a St Kilda sex worker, were raped just months before Bayley raped and murdered Meagher. At the time he was out on parole after serving time for a string of sex worker rapes in 2000.

Bayley now has more than 20 convictions for rape.

Incredible. No one should ever get the chance for more than three convictions. He did at least 10 rapes over 12 years.

Now in NZ a third rape would get 20 years with no parole, or preventive detention.


IGIS to look into pacific spying complaints

March 27th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has announced:

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, will commence an inquiry into complaints over alleged interception of communications of New Zealanders working or travelling in the South Pacific by the Government Security Communications Bureau (GCSB).

The complaints follow recent public allegations about GCSB activities. The complaints, and these public allegations, raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data.

“I will be addressing the specific complaints that I have received, in accordance with the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1996. But there is also a clear need to provide as much factual information to the complainants, and to the wider public, as is possible.”

“For that reason, I have decided not only to investigate the complaints but also to bring forward and expand the relevant parts of my ongoing programme of review and audit of GCSB procedures and compliance systems. That review programme operates at a systemic level and doesn’t, of course, scrutinise or second-guess every day-to-day aspect of the GCSB’s operations: what it does allow for, as in this instance, is a focussed review of a particular area of GCSB or New Zealand Security Intelligence Service practice.”

This is a very good thing. The key thing when it comes to issues of security and intelligence is to have independent oversight and a system of checks and balances. The decision to investigate is important to verify that any activities have been legal.


Rakiura Track Day 3

March 26th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar


Off just after 8 am for an 11 km hike out to the end of the track. We started with a bit of a climb.


Lovely views of the ocean and hills in the mist.


Another stream to cross.


And just great views down by the water.


We were so lucky with the weather. Was around 17 degrees and sunny.


You stay close to the water for around two thirds of the final day.


Good old NZ native bush.


The final section of the track.


And we’re out. It’s then a 2 km walk to Oban, but we were lucky that we got picked up on the way.


hanging up in the property next to the end of the track.


We had around three hours to spare Sunday afternoon so went to the South Sea Hotel for oysters, drinks and lunch. Then we flew out, and you can see Oban below us.

A really enjoyable three day hike. The easiest of the great walks to date. Was genuinely surprised by the beaches and beautiful bays. Definitely worth doing.


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The 10 best UK attack ads

March 26th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Sun has the 10 best UK attack ads in their political history.


This is from the current campaign and is very good.


Teacher aides not sacked for drug dealing at school!!

March 26th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

An Auckland primary school has suspended two teacher aides after they were snapped exchanging cannabis in the staff room.

But the school says the pair will keep their jobs and officials are yet to contact police, raising Ministry of Education concerns.

Surely they must be sacked.

I don’t care what they do in their own time and place. But they brought illegal drugs to school, and were selling or exchanging it in the staff room.


And a third panelist goes

March 26th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A disability advocate recognised in the New Years Honours list has quit an Auckland Council panel, saying it’s no longer independent.

Huhana Hickey is the third member of the council’s community advisory panels to step down over concerns they are ineffectual.

Last week Ali said he did not feel comfortable getting paid $500 a meeting to chair a panel that had no legal mandate to give advice that made any difference.

A council the size of Auckland had enough competency and expertise to openly engage with the various communities without setting up “token” panels, he said.

Exactly. You don’t need a token panel costing $150,000 or so.


King Richard III

March 26th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A villainous Plantagenet monarch was transformed into the People’s King – for a few days at least – as thousands witnessed Richard III turn in his graves.

They were respectfully solemn, with only muted cheering and applause along the winding 20km route through verdant middle-England countryside as Richard’s recently unearthed mortal remains were transported with military-timed and detailed pomp and ceremony behind two armoured medieval knight outriders for his public reinterment in a 2.5 million ($5 million) cathedral tomb.

His story, and bones, had come full circle. Richard now lies in repose barely 50m across the lane from where he was found, famously twisted and evidently buried with scant ceremony, beneath a Leicester carpark, more than 500 years after he was slain at the battle of Bosworth Field.

His body was ripped asunder by 11 ferocious blows as his crown was torn from him that August day in 1485 by Henry Tudor’s forces after trusted allies, prudently sensing which way the wind was blowing amid the melee, deserted him at a key dynasty-changing, Machiavellian moment.

Good to have a King of England no longer buried underneath a car park.

Richard III is not one of the great kings of English history, but he was a formidable warrior. He killed many in the battle in which he was slain.

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Parliament 26 March 2016

March 26th, 2015 at 11:56 am by David Farrar

The order paper is here.

Oral Questions 2.00 pm – 3.00 pm

  1. JAMES SHAW to the Minister of Science and Innovation:Does he stand by his statement that the Government will “build a strong business-led R&D ecosystem to strengthen and diversify New Zealand’s economy”?
  2. Dr JIAN YANG to the Minister of Finance: What reports has he received on how low inflation is benefiting New Zealand families?
  3. PHIL TWYFORD to the Minister responsible for HNZC: Does he agree with the National Business Review who asked “Is the Government’s social housing privatisation policy in tatters”?
  4. NUK KORAKO to the Minister for Economic Development:What reports has he received on the progress of New Zealand businesses succeeding internationally?
  5. KELVIN DAVIS to the Minister of Transport: Will transport spending in Northland return to the level that this Government inherited, given annual NZTA funding for the region has fallen by $36 million since 2008/09?
  6. Hon JUDITH COLLINS to the Associate Minister for Social Development: How much has the Government saved as a result of its benefit fraud initiative?
  7. SUE MORONEY to the Minister for ACC: Was the then Minister for ACC Hon Judith Collins correct when she said last year that the reason the Government ignored ACC’s recommendation for cuts to levies for employers and workers was “because we need to get to surplus”?
  8. PITA PARAONE to the Minister of Education: What reports has she received, if any, about why the Māori Education Trust is selling its 320ha Kahutara dairy farm, the late Edward Holmes’ farm, that was gifted to the Trust to educate Wairarapa Māori?
  9. JONATHAN YOUNG to the Minister of Energy and Resources: What reports has he received on renewable electricity generation in New Zealand?
  10. MOJO MATHERS to the Minister for Primary Industries: Will he support a ban on cosmetics testing on animals?
  11. TODD BARCLAY to the Minister for Small Business: How are small businesses benefiting from the innovation initiatives of the Business Growth Agenda?
  12. Su’a WILLIAM SIO to the Minister for Building and Housing: Have all boarding houses that are “rat-infested, mouldy dives that are unfit for human habitation” been closed down since he said he wanted them eliminated in November 2014; if not, why not?

National: Five patsies on inflation, NZ businesses, welfare fraud, renewable electricity and small business.

Labour: Four questions on social housing, Northland roads, ACC and boarding houses.

Greens: Two questions on research & development and animal testing

NZ First: One question on the Maori Education Trust

Government Bills 3.00 pm to 6.00 pm

Taxation (KiwiSaver HomeStart and Remedial Matters) Bill – third reading

The bill amends the KiwiSaver Act 2006 and the Income Tax Act 2007 in relation to withdrawal of member tax credits for KiwiSaver members purchasing their first home and “corrections” to the tax, social policy, and KiwiSaver treatment of income replacement payments for some veterans and other claimants.

  • Introduced: December 2014
  • 1st reading: December 2014, passed without dissent
  • Select Committee report: March 2015, supported without dissent
  • 2nd reading: March 2015
  • Committee: March 2015

The debate can last up to two hours.

Human Rights Amendment Bill – second reading continued

The Bill amends the Human Rights Act 1993 to enable the establishment of the position of a full-time Disability Rights Commissioner and to make changes to the role and structure of the Commission.

  • Introduced: October 2011
  • 1st reading: November 2013, passed 105-15 with Greens and Mana against
  • Select Committee report: April 2014, supported with amendments with Labour and Greens opposed

The debate has up to 60 minutes remaining.


Why are so many Australian muslims radicalised?

March 26th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A nightclub bouncer who reportedly became a terror group leader. A man who tweeted a photo of his young son clutching a severed head. A teenager who is believed to have turned suicide bomber, and others suspected of attempting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State movement. All of them, Australian.

The London-based International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence reports that between 100 and 250 Australians have joined Sunni militants in Iraq and Syria. Given Australia’s vast distance from the region and its population of just 24 million, it is a remarkable number. The center estimates that about 100 fighters came from the United States, which has more than 13 times as many people as Australia.

That’s a huge number.

Experts disagree about why the Islamic State group has been so effective recruiting in Australia, which is widely regarded as a multicultural success story, with an economy in an enviable 24th year of continuous growth.

Possible explanations include that some Australian Muslims are poorly integrated with the rest of the country, and that Islamic State recruiters have given Australia particular attention. In addition, the Australian government failed to keep tabs on some citizens who had been radicalized, and moderate Muslims have been put off by some of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s comments about their community.

It’s pathetic to even suggest that Tony Abbott is the reason. I’m not Abbott’s biggest fan, but the hatred and bias from many sections of the Australian media towards him is appalling.

I think the first explanation is the strongest. For well over a decade there has been a significant radical element who have not integrated. Many senior Muslim clerics in Australia have said appalling things, and use incendiary speech. We’re very fortunate that in NZ we’ve never had this problem. That doesn’t mean that there are not some extreme radicals – just that the senior leadership in NZ is not radical, and in fact very well focused on integration.


Was Bowe Bergdahl really worth five terrorists?

March 26th, 2015 at 10:33 am by Lindsay Addie

The Washington Post reports that Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl who the Obama Administration swapped for five terrorists is to be tried for desertion.

Eugene Fidell, Bergdahl’s attorney, told The Washington Post that his client was handed a charge sheet on Wednesday. Army officials said in a statement that Bergdahl has been charged with desertion with intent to shirk important or hazardous duty and misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place. His case has been referred to an Article 32 preliminary hearing, which is frequently compared to a grand jury proceeding in civilian court.

Bergdahl is unlikely to face the death penalty if found guilty but could face a long prison sentence. Also it is worth noting that although Bergdahl isn’t the only US soldier who has deserted in either Iran or Afghanistan. His case is different because he  allegedly deserted from a battlefield.

Bergdahl’s case has prompted questions over whether the Obama administration handled the prisoner swap legally. Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security, also provoked criticism when she said after Bergdahl’s recovery that he had served “with honor and distinction.” She later acknowledged the remark was controversial, and said she was referring to the soldier’s decision to enlist in the first place.

“That, in and of itself, is a very honorable thing,” she said.

This is a big faux pas by the Obama administration and Susan Rice for uttering these words. Doing some proper check-ups on Bergdahl first would have probably avoided this embarrassing mess. His fellow soldiers have been saying for ages that he was a deserter.


Why Labour is in crisis throughout the Anglosphere

March 26th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The New Statesman reports:

It is easy to blame Ed Miliband for Labour’s problems; too easy. Labour parties are in crisis all throughout the Anglosphere: they are in opposition in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. Their problems go far deeper than the identities of their party leaders.

Labour’s fate seems especially bleak in New Zealand. Here the centre-right National Party reign: Labour won just 32 out of 121 seats in the general election last year, and only 25 per cent of the vote. Nowhere is Labour’s battle for relevance more urgent.

25% is a low in any of these countries.  In the UK they are at 33% (same as Conservatives), in Australia 38% (2% behind Coalition but 4% ahead on TPP), in Canada the Liberals are at 34% (1% ahead). In NZ they got 22% less than National.

Little is determined to learn from these mistakes. It might be that as a former trade union official, he will find it easier to reorientate Labour to a position from which it can again win elections. “The language the commentators keep using is ‘moving to the centre, moving to the centre’. And I think it is about getting down to a small number of priority issues,” he says. Last year, one of Labour’s problems was drowning the electorate in policy detail. “What I’m determined is that for the 2017 election, we won’t do what we did last time, which was have 120-odd policies,” Little says. Instead the party will offer a pledge card highlighting five or six main policies, much like Tony Blair’s Labour Party in 1997.

He sees rehabilitation for Labour lying in “finding a language and ideas that resonate with people that say, actually, there is a different way of doing this.” Labour parties must be seen as modern and forward thinking, and not merely lamenting the changing nature of the international economy that has eradicated the notion of a job for life. “That is where the future lies – being able to talk about the future of work.”

The rhetoric is good and pleasing to see Little saying this. But can he deliver a policy prescription that recognises it? To the contrary their labour policies seem to all be about reducing flexibility, not increasing it.


Are MBIE requiring people to break their bank’s terms and conditions ?

March 26th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

A reader writes in:

As you’re no doubt aware, directors of companies are required to lodge a company return every year, and since about 2012 that has involved paying a fee of about $45.  While it’s a bit cheeky of them to start charging for something that used to be free, that’s not what I’m concerned about.  Rather, it is that in order to pay that fee without using your credit card, you have to disclose your internet banking credentials to the RealMe website.  And that website is a third party in the eyes of most banks, which means that they expect you to breach your bank’s electronic banking terms and conditions. 

In my case I am using the ANZ and their Electronic Banking Conditions of Use can be found at http://www.anz.co.nz/resources/6/7/67cd07804ee131e5bc44fe146f64e4a5/ANZ-Electronic-COU.pdf with the applicable rule on page 8: “Don’t enter your login details onto a third party website”.

I made contact with the companies office to enlighten them about this conundrum, however they do not seem interested.  Initially they told me that the payments portal takes me to the bank’s website (verbally over the phone so I cannot prove it) and subsequently they emailed me with: 

Further to our telephone conversation last week. I have spoken with our accounts team.

They confirm that DPS does not gather or store your information, rather it just directs you to your nominated bank .

I also took the liberty of contacting the ANZ via bank mail, with their reply including:

“You cannot provide your personal log on details to anyone, including government website’s.”
(their apostrophe error, not mine).

I replied to the MBIE with a few screenshots, including of the page where they want your login details (screenshot is at the end of the email), a link to ANZ’s T&C’s, and the ANZ’s reply. They just told me that I should lodge it manually (by post) and pay with a cheque – which defeats the purpose of doing everything online!

I have two problems with the MoBIE online payment arrangement.  First is that they have obviously set it up without asking the banks whether they would be happy with the arrangement – they just did it.

The second is that they are pretty presumptuous in thinking that people will be happy to break their agreement with their bank in order to pay a government fee.

I also note that when you pay your company renewal in Australia you can use BPAY, which is a payment system run by the banks.

I do wonder why MBIE didn’t work with the banks to devise a payment system that doesn’t cause users to break their terms and conditions.


General Debate 26 March 2015

March 26th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Labour abandons 20 years of support for free trade

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

NewstalkZB reports:

Labour is set to initially back a New Zealand First Bill that would legislate against a potential crucial clause in the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade deal.

Fletcher Tabuteau’s Bill would negate the ability of foreign companies to sue Governments over law changes that harm their business.

Labour Leader Andrew Little says they will support the legislation at its first reading as they have concerns about investor state dispute proceedings.

This is a massive shift in policy for Labour, putting them firmly on the extreme left. They have a proud legacy of supporting trade agreements but they are saying they will vote for a bill which would basically guarantee NZ would never ever get to sign another free trade agreement.

This is not just about the proposed TPP. Investor state clauses are now very standard in trade agreements. And they are about protecting NZ companies also. You may recall that the NZ Super Fund is suing the Portugal Government over the fact they treated the money invested by the NZ Super Fund differently to other investors in a bank. Without such provisions, then NZ companies can get treated differently.

The reality is Labour has signed trade agreements with investor state provisions. They are now voting for a bill that would have made such agreements impossible. This is again not a minor shift – this is a major reversal of 20 years of pro-trade policies from Labour.

The ASEAN FTA was negotiated by Labour and concluded in August 2008 and has investor state provisions.

The China FTA negotiated by Labour has investor state provisions.

The Thailand FTA concluded by Labour in 2005 has investor state provisions.

The Singapore FTA concluded by Labour in 2000 has investor state provisions.

So Labour signed FTAs with these provisions from their first year in office to their last year in office. They are totally standard in FTAs.

Their new policy to support a bill banning any trade agreements with them, is a de facto policy to never again sign a free trade agreement, and to walk away from all the trade agreements they concluded in Government. It’s pathetic pandering to the far left.

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Northland poll

March 25th, 2015 at 9:40 pm by David Farrar

I have details at Curiablog of the 3 News Northland poll. Key findings are:

  • Peters 54%, Osborne 34%
  • National’s bridge upgrade pledge – 74% say it is a bribe but 58% want the bridges
  • 48% say Peters can’t be trusted and 43% say he can be

So two lots of semi-contradictory results. Most Northlanders say they don’t trust Peters but they will vote for him.

And most Northlanders say they think the proposed bridge upgrades are a bribe, but nevertheless they want them.

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Overseas driver crash data

March 25th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

To try to find out, we compared the percentage of fatal and serious crashes where overseas drivers were at fault with the percentage of all New Zealand vehicles that were rental cars driven by tourists.

The analysis found that overseas drivers show up in crash numbers during the tourist season at about nine times the rate they show up on the road.

This is slightly useful data, but limited.

The better comparison would be crash rates per million kms travelled.

Many NZ drivers only use their car for driving to work, so drive perhaps 10 kms a day, and at relatively slow speeds which almost by default can not result in a serious or fatal accident.

On the other hand tourists may be driving 200 to 300 kms a day, on open roads.

I suspect that even if you adjust for this, the tourist crash rate would be higher. The better you know the roads you drive on, the safer you tend to be.

However I doubt it would be anything as dramatic as the 9:1 the Press has calculated.

Comparing crash rates for people driving from one end of NZ to the other, with people driving across town to work is not that useful.


Food in Schools

March 25th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Minister of Local Government Paula Bennett says she expects parents to send their children to school with lunch.

National, ACT and United Future parties have voted down the Feed the Kids bill by 61-59 which sought to feed 20 per cent of New Zealand’s lowest decile school children.

“It absolutely is the right thing to do. We provide breakfast into any school that wants it and this is being taken up which is great, but we believe in parental responsibility and I stand by the decision we made,” Bennett says. 

Meanwhile Labour Justice Spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says of course it’s the role of parents to feed their kids but some parents cannot afford to feed their families.

We have a very generous welfare system. We pay benefits to people not in work, we give support to families with children, we help with childcare and we even have emergency grants for unexpected expenses.

The vast majority of low income families manage to send their kids to school with lunch. A couple of sandwiches is a very low cost – a dollar or so. If kids are being sent to school without lunch, it is far more likely an issue of parenting.

“Food in schools is not the answer to poverty, but it is a short term solution that means kids will at least be guaranteed a meal at school, which will help with their learning. Surely that means it’s the the right thing to do,” she says.

It would not be a short-term solution. Beyond doubt it would become entrenched, and never ever cease. In fact beyond doubt more and more families would stop sending their kids to school with lunch (as taxpayers are paying for a free lunch at school), and this would be seized on as proof it is needed more and more.


A rare judicial review application by the Govt

March 25th, 2015 at 2:02 pm by David Farrar

Normally private sector bodies take judicial reviews against the Govt, but in a rare move the Government is seeking a judicial review against the  Institute of Professional Engineers of New Zealand (IPENZ).

Stuff reports:

The Government has lodged a legal challenge against a decision not to investigate the Christchurch engineer involved in the failed CTV building design.

The Government has applied before the High Court to seek a judicial review of the decision by the Institute of Professional Engineers of New Zealand (IPENZ) to drop its investigation into Alan Reay’s role in the design of the CTV building.

Building and housing minister Nick Smith said the decision to drop the investigation into Reay after he resigned from IPENZ was flawed. 

“We want the decision overturned and IPENZ to complete the investigation into the professional conduct of Dr Reay’s role in the design of the CTV building.”

“We owe it to the memory of those who lost their lives to hold those responsible to account for the building’s flawed design, and to ensure every possible lesson is learnt by the engineering profession to minimise the future risk.”   …

“It is important that we clarify the law as to whether a professional can avoid disciplinary proceedings by simply resigning. Completing the IPENZ investigation will also be important in clarifying the professional standards expected of a senior engineer supervising the work of a more junior engineer,” Smith said.

Resigning to escape a disciplinary hearing is a cop out, especially when the issue at hand was the collapse of a building killing scores.

Good to see the Government taking action on this.


Paid lunch breaks?

March 25th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reported:

Cotton On appears to have backed away from plans to strip workers at its Auckland distribution centre of their tea breaks, but their union says it is not yet convinced the war has been won.

Don’t you love the emotional term “strip”.

All that happened is the employer put forward a proposal. Unless the union agreed to it, it couldn’t occur.

The union wanted to preserve the current entitlement to a 15 minute paid tea break and a 30 minute paid lunch break and he was not clear from Cotton On’s statement that both would be retained.

Staff get a paid lunch break??

This is a first for me. I don’t know of any other employer that pays you over your lunch break. Tea breaks yes, but not lunch breaks.

The union ran screaming to the media about the employer’s proposal. Ironically if the employer did the same, they’d be fined by the Employment Court for a breach of good faith. But do you note we were never told exactly what the employer proposed. Just emotional rhetoric over stripping breaks.

If Cotton On employees are getting paid lunch breaks, they’re doing better than most employees. Have you ever worked for an employer that pays your wages over your lunch break? I’d be genuinely interested to hear.


Parliament 25 March 2015

March 25th, 2015 at 12:09 pm by David Farrar

The order paper is here.

Oral Questions 2.00 pm – 3.00 pm

  1. PHIL TWYFORD to the Minister for Social Housing: What reports, if any, has she received about the Salvation Army saying it felt pressured into carrying out expensive, time-consuming research on buying unwanted state houses because the Government repeatedly referred to the charity as a likely buyer?
  2. DARROCH BALL to the Minister for Social Development:Does she stand by her statement, “Every child has the right to be safe from abuse and neglect and these guidelines will help us build a stronger culture of child protection across New Zealand where the safety and security of children is paramount.”?
  3. JAMI-LEE ROSS to the Minister of Finance: What reports has he received on progress the New Zealand economy is making in reducing its external debt position?
  4. JACINDA ARDERN to the Minister of Internal Affairs: How will his decision to cut funding by $392,000 a year to the specialist non-fiction service provided by the National Library affect access to educational resources for rural schools?
  5. Dr PARMJEET PARMAR to the Minister for Social Housing:What are the next steps in the Government’s social housing reform programme?
  6. Dr RUSSEL NORMAN to the Minister for Climate Change Issues: Does he stand by the Prime Minister’s answer that it is “misinformation” that New Zealand’s net greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 20 percent between 2008 and 2012; if so, by what percentage did New Zealand’s net greenhouse gas emissions increase between 2008 and 2012?
  7. SIMON O’CONNOR to the Minister of Health: What reports has he received in relation to the increased funding for cochlear implants announced in Budget 2014?
  8. Dr DAVID CLARK to the Minister for Economic Development: When did his officials first learn of SkyCity’s desire for a public funding top-up in order for the International Convention Centre to meet the Preliminary Design specifications?
  9. MATT DOOCEY to the Minister for Small Business: How are small businesses benefiting from the Better for Business – Result 9 Programme?
  10. Hon RUTH DYSON to the Minister of Education: What further advice, if any, did she receive that led to her decision to consult on the closing of Redcliffs School, following the advice she received from geotechnical experts in September last year that “with the mitigation measures in place, the risk from rockfall is considered to be no higher on the school grounds than on any site remote from the Port Hills”?
  11. JAN LOGIE to the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety: Does he agree with the previous EEO Commissioner Judy McGregor’s statement on aged care that “The sense of crisis that surrounds aged care is partly a reflection of our collective knowledge that we are not being fair and that a large group of workers is being discriminated against.”?

One missing question, which means a party failed to put in a question.

National: Four patsies on NZ debt, social housing, cochlear implants and and small business.

Labour: Four questions on social housing, National Library, Sky City and Redcliffs School

Greens: Two questions on climate change and aged care

NZ First: One question on child abuse

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

Taxation (KiwiSaver HomeStart and Remedial Matters) Bill – committee stage

The bill amends the KiwiSaver Act 2006 and the Income Tax Act 2007 in relation to withdrawal of member tax credits for KiwiSaver members purchasing their first home and “corrections” to the tax, social policy, and KiwiSaver treatment of income replacement payments for some veterans and other claimants.

Introduced: December 2014
1st reading: December 2014, passed without dissent
Select Committee report: March 2015, supported without dissent
2nd reading: March 2015

There is no time limit for the committee stage but as an uncontroversial bill, is unlikely to take long.

Social Security Amendment Bill (No 3) – committee stage

The Bill corrects the effects of a Social Security Appeal Authority decision that weekly compensation payments made by employers accredited under the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) accredited employer schemes do not count as ACC payments, and hence a deduction.

  • Introduced: November 2010
  • 1st reading: April 2011, passed 110-10 with Greens and Chris Carter against
  • Select Committee report: May 2011, supported without dissent or amendment
  • 2nd reading: February 2015, passed 95-25 with Greens and NZ First against

There is no time limit for the committee stage. It is unlikely the debate would be greater than three hours.



Clarkson to be sacked

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

The Telegraph reports:

Jeremy Clarkson is to be sacked as Top Gear presenter after a BBC investigation concluded he did attack a producer on the programme.

Lord Hall, the Director General of the BBC, is expected to announce his decision on Wednesday after considering the findings of an internal investigation.

Clarkson, 54, will be thanked for his work on the hugely popular motoring show, but will be told such behaviour cannot be tolerated at the Corporation.

That’s $150 million they are waving good bye to.

I suspect there will be huge bidding from other TV channels to hire Clarkson (and May and Hammond) for a new motoring show.

An idea of how popular Clarkson is, is reflected in this story:

But, unlike the great Indian leader or votes of women campaigners, her protest isn’t to do with the British occupation or gender injustice, but to get Jeremy Clarkson back on Top Gear.

Presumably missing sections of the show such as ‘Star In A Reasonably Priced Car’, Cameron is promising she won’t eat until the suspended host is brought back.

“Nancy has threatened to go on hunger strike unless Jeremy Clarkson is restored,” David Cameron told the BBC.

Nancy is 11 years old and obviously a devoted fan.


The NZ-Korea FTA

March 25th, 2015 at 11:19 am by David Farrar

Some details of the recently agreed free trade agreement between Korea and NZ:

  • New Zealand exporters to that market currently pay NZ$229 million a year in duties.  Tariff reductions under the FTA mean New Zealand exporters will save an estimated NZ$65 million in duties in the first year.
  • Duties on New Zealand’s current exports will largely be eliminated within 15 years of entry into force.
  • Kiwifruit exporters currently face a tariff of 45 percent on their exports
  • Beef exports face duties of 40 percent
  • At the end of the FTA phasing period around 98 percent of New Zealand’s exports will enter duty and tariff free

Note that New Zealand First are promoting legislation that would stop the FTA with Korea. NZ First have opposed almost every major trade agreement NZ has signed.

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