The Remuera Golf Club subsidy

November 23rd, 2015 at 4:08 pm by David Farrar

Bernard Hickey writes:

Just imagine if someone told you the ratepayers of Auckland and the taxpayers of New Zealand were giving billions of dollars to the wealthiest property owners in the land.

How would the public react? Probably not well. Yet that is exactly the case and I haven’t heard a chorus of talkback abuse or any outraged front pages or indignant questions in Parliament.

So here goes. Did you know that 1400 members of the Remuera Golf Club receive the exclusive benefit of a piece of Auckland Council-owned land valued at up to $517 million?

The club pays rates of $130,000 a year. If up to 70 per cent of that land was broken up and sold for housing and the rest left in parks, it would produce revenues of $16.5 million a year.

That’s an annual subsidy of $16.37 million, or $11,700 a member.

Councils should and do provide recreational and sporting facilities. But I don’t think golf courses should be subsidized like this. Sporting fields tend to be open to anyone to play on for a minimal fee, and often can host multiple codes. Also they are much much smaller than golf courses.

I think golf courses should have rates assessed at market prices. If the land is worth $500 million, then their rates bill should reflect that.

Even if each member played 50 rounds a year, that would be a subsidy of $233 per round or $13 a hole.

That’s a huge subsidy.

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DNA solves a crime

November 23rd, 2015 at 3:35 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

DNA evidence taken from a man 17 years after he abucted and raped a woman has led to his conviction and a lengthy prison sentence.

Glenn Te Kahu, 38, was arrested in Whanganui on December 10 last year, and a DNA sample was taken from him as police planned to charge him with intending to injure.

Since a 2010 law change to the Criminal Investigations (Blood Samples) Act 1995, police have been permitted to obtain DNA from people they intend to charge with an imprisonable offence.

When Te Kahu’s DNA was entered in the national profile databank a “hit” occurred, and it was matched to an unsolved rape and abduction in Napier on the evening of February 5, 1998.

The victim, a 27-year-old woman, was out having drinks in a Napier bar with her fiance and another couple. About 2am the group decided to leave the bar. As they walked back to their car, the woman was ahead of the group and turned into a side street.

Te Kahu, a 20-year-old Mongrel Mob member at the time, was standing next to his car on the side street. He grabbed the woman, threatened to kill her if she disobeyed, and pushed her into the car before speeding away. He dragged her on to the beach at Marine Parade and raped her, then ran to his car and drove away.

The victim screamed for help and people came to her aid. She spoke to police, who took swabs from her and entered the DNA in the national databank.

Despite an investigation that lasted months, the woman’s attacker was not found – until December last year.

Great to see the law change working, and a rapist going to jail for his crime.

Sadly two parties voted against the law change in 2009 – Greens and Maori Party.


For the first time in two decades annual migration with Australia is positive

November 23rd, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ reports:

New Zealand had a record annual net gain (more arrivals than departures) of migrants in the October 2015 year (62,500). It resulted from a record 120,100 migrant arrivals and 57,600 migrant departures. The annual net gain in migrants has been setting new records for the last 15 months. In October, net migration passed another milestone with the first annual gain in migrants from Australia in over 20 years (since the November 1991 year). Fewer New Zealand citizens departing for Australia and increased arrivals of both New Zealand and non-New Zealand citizens drove the change.

Here’s the graph:


Here’s the net migration figures for October years in the last decade:

  • Oct 15:+260
  • Oct 14: -5,090
  • Oct 13: -22,600
  • Oct 12: -39,270
  • Oct 11: -35,510
  • Oct 10: -19,460
  • Oct 09: -20.310
  • Oct 08: -34,960
  • Oct 07: -26,510
  • Oct 06: -20.920

Departures to Australia were only 24,800 in the year to October 2015.  For the year to October 2008 it was 48,130 – so the numbers leaving to Australia have halved.

Arrivals from Australia were 25,060 in the year to October 2015.  For the year to October 2008 it was 13,170 – so the numbers arriving Australia have almost doubled.

This is very unusual. People tend to migrate from smaller places to larger places.

In terms of net migration, in October 2015 we had an average of seven people a day migrate from Australia. In October 2008 we had an average of 106 people a day leave NZ for Australia.

It is a hugely significant turnaround.


UK Labour in open warfare

November 23rd, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

Ken Livingstone has backtracked on his apology for suggesting shadow defence minister Kevan Jones “might need psychiatric help”, after he was accused of being forced by the Labour leadership to say sorry.

The former London mayor re-ignited a row just hours after tweeting that he “unreservedly apologised” to Jones for telling the Mirror: “I think he might need some psychiatric help. He’s obviously very depressed and disturbed … He should pop off and see his GP before he makes these offensive comments.”

Livingstone made the remarks after Jones, who experienced depression in 1996, questioned his appointment as co-chair of Labour’s review of Trident.

The veteran Labour politician initially refused to retract his comments, accusing Jones of “wimping around”, telling him to “get over it” and blaming his own south London background for the fact he is rude back when someone is rude to him. But after speaking on the phone to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Livingstone publicly apologised, saying the comments should “not have been made at all, let alone in that context.

“I also make this apology because Jeremy is right to insist on a more civil politics and as a party we should take this seriously,” he added.

Corbyn, a long-time campaigner against stigmatisation of those with mental health problems, is said to be angry and upset about the comments but believed Livingstone’s remorse was “sincere”. But before long, Livingstone was back on the television air waves for a fresh confrontation with Jones on Channel 4 News.

Appearing from his home, he said the apology was made because Corbyn had told him that Jones was “actually quite a decent guy and reminded me that Jeremy’s strategy is that we don’t do all the offensive backstabbing and rows and I just got on board with that”.

He then watered down his apology by saying: “If I’ve upset anyone, I’m really sorry. But this row isn’t something I started. It’s because I was attacked as not fit for this job.”

Livingstone, who got Jones’s name wrong three times by calling him “Jeremy”, added: “You provoked this row. You questioned my ability to do this job. Why didn’t you just pick up the phone and ask me what I knew and understood about it? I’ve been debating military and defence issues for 45 years both in our party and in the media.”

Jones, who was in the Channel 4 studio, responded by accusing Livingstone of having been forced into an apology after causing offence.

“You were somehow excusing it because of your background, when other people had posh educations, which I did not, can I remind you. That does not excuse what you’ve done … You were not going to unless Jeremy told you to,” he said.

The shadow defence minister also revealed that neither he nor shadow defence secretary Maria Eagle had been told that Livingstone, an opponent of Trident, was to co-chair Labour’s defence review.

“Why announce it on Twitter and use grossly offensive language to myself and millions of other sufferers of mental health [problems] to get over your point?”

This would be a rather sad episode if it was between a Conservative and a Labour MP. But what is startling is this is between a Labour MP and former Labour Mayor. And between the shadow defence minister and the person heading up the defence policy review for Labour.

I’m trying to think what could the Conservatives do to make Labour led by Jeremy Corbyn electable. Short of genocide, I can’t think of anything.

Having said that it is highly likely Corbyn will be gone within two years.


ISIL killing women too old to rape

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

The Telegraph reports:

In the desert dust of Sinjar, in north west Iraq, a walking stick lies on the ground.

Strewn casually alongside it are a couple of pairs of scissors, some household keys and a shoe. Bank notes flutter in the dirt.

But, if you look a little closer, the scene becomes a horror show. Clumps of hair and fragments of bone poke grotesquely out of the ditch. It is estimated that almost 80 women are buried in this mass grave, aged between 40 and 80-years-old. The bodies are of Yazidi women, murdered by Islamic State butchers.

As the world prayed for Paris, more than three thousand miles east another atrocity was being uncovered.

Last week Kurdish forces – backed by British and American air strikes – liberated Sinjar from Islamic State militants, along with 28 other villages.

They discovered two graves. The first – containing the corpses of older women – was found west of the city’s centre, near the Sinjar Technical Institute. The second was ten miles west, and is believed to contain men, women and children. It is rigged with explosives and deliberately difficult to access.

The Kurdish government team will analyse the bodies in an attempt to uncover the grim story of what happened here.

But let’s be frank: it is not difficult to guess.

Over the past year, Islamic State forces have kidnapped thousands of young Yazidi women to use as sex slaves. Now we know what happened to those not deemed ‘attractive enough’ for them.

Just when you think they can’t get more vile.

In the village of Kocho, Isil militants gave the inhabitants a deadline by which to convert to Islam. If they refused, they would die.

Hundreds of men and boys were slaughtered; many killed by point-blank shots to the head or were pushed off cliffs. More than a thousand women and girls were kidnapped. The brutal sexual violence against these women and girls – passed around by Isil fighters – has been well documented.

They really make the Nazis seem civilised by comparison.

Islamic State’s attitude to women has been brutally laid bare in its division of the Yazidis into those who were young and beautiful enough to rape, and those who were not. Mothers and grandmothers who seemingly could not command a price in the sex market (reportedly a ‘packet of cigarettes’) were simply slaughtered.

It’s hard to imagine women being reduced to pieces of meat in a more savage manner.

We need a new version of the Nuremberg Trials for crimes against humanity.


Phil Goff’s plan for Auckland is to try and get non Aucklanders to pay for his promises

November 23rd, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports on Goff’s announcement:

“We need to do more than just finish the motorway network. We need to get on with the city rail link to double passenger capacity and deal with congestion at Britomart. We need light rail on the isthmus, in the East and out to the airport,” he said.

So he plans even more spending than Len. And how would he fund it?

But as far as he was concerned funding for that infrastructure would not come from asset sales, as two independent reports released last week suggested.

So he won’t free up capital to reinvest in more capital. That means borrowing for it, which means rates to go up to pay the interest.

However funding for major infrastructure could not come from rates, and he believed Aucklanders would see a change of heart from central government.

This is almost dishonest. It is the same thing Len Brown did. Promise all this spending, but just assume that the Government will pay for it. And when they don’t, well bang rates go up 10% (on average – often much more).

Phil Goff is campaigning for taxpayers in Napier, Invercargill and Christchurch to fund his campaign promises for Auckland.

“If we go with a well presented case, and it’s central government that’s holding up what needs to happen in Auckland, then central government wears the opprobrium for doing that”

So Phil Goff’s plan is to win the Mayoralty and then campaign against the Government for not giving him taxpayer money to fund his promises.

Under his leadership the council would learn to do more with less, and rates increases would be brought under control, he said.

How? Can he give any concrete examples of where he would reduce spending?

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Greens wrong on Ministerial funding

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

Tracy Watkins reports:

The Government has been told to boost political party coffers with more taxpayer funding and it probably should. But if MPs want the extra money, they are going to have to swallow some very big dead rats first.

The first is agreeing to come under the Official Information Act, just like the rest of the public service.

This would then allow people to OIA e-mails between opposition MPs, and between opposition MPs and their staff.

I think the OIA should apply to Parliament for financial information, but not communications.

Anyway to the main point:

The ARC is a panel convened once every parliamentary term to review funding for Parliament and MPs. It usually comprises former MPs (on this occasion John Carter and Rick Barker, who have respect across the political spectrum) and an accountant or similar to lend it the air of independence. Its job is to poke into every aspect of parliamentary and state funding for political parties represented in Parliament and decide whether more money, or any other tweaks, are required.

These areas include the costs of running electorate offices, staff pay rates, support staff funding and political party funding, which largely comprises the leader’s budget. Controversially,the leader’s budget is one area where the ARC proposes a boost in funding – controversially because “leader’s budget” is really just a euphemism for slush fund. Millions of dollars in taxpayer funding disappear into these slush funds every year with little public accountability.

The ARC points out that these budgets have not been increased since 2007, so have fallen in real terms thanks to inflation.

Overall funding has not increased – as is the case for most of the public sector.  That is how we have managed to get out of deficit.

But a breakdown of how the funding is divvied up between the parties shines a light on the problem .

National gets by far the biggest cut, receiving $3.7 million in leader’s budget funding. Labour trails by $800,000 on $2.9 million. Parliament’s third biggest party, the Greens, get $1.3 million.

The reason for the disparity is obvious – National got easily the most seats at the last election so qualifies for the most funding as it’s on a per-MP basis.

Note you only get leaders office funding for MPs who are not Ministers. Otherwise National would get twice as much as Labour.

But that’s not where the problem is, according to the Greens and ARC.

As the governing party, National also has a large number of staffers funded by Ministerial Services. And that budget has not been squeezed to anywhere near the same extent.

Figures supplied to the Greens by the Parliamentary Library show support funding for ministerial offices has risen from $26 million in 2007/2008 to about $38 million now.

This is incorrect. Totally incorrect. In fact funding for ministerial office has fallen.

The 2007 Budget allocated $26.72 million for Support Services to Ministers (M47). It came in slightly over that at $26.84 million.

In the 2008 Budget, $27.28 million was allocated. So that was Labour’s last Budget.

Now we turn to the 2015 Budget. And here is where the Greens have made a mistake. There is a total called Services supporting the Executive which is $38.22 million but that includes VIP Transport and Official Visits. The actual comparable line item is Support Services to Ministers and in 2015 is $25.84 million. If you look back at the 2007 and 2008 estimates, you will see VIP Transport and Official Visits are separate items there also. The Greens have compared a sub-total to a line item. This is a basic fail.

So in fact National’s latest Budget has support services for Ministers $1.44 million less than in Labour’s last budget – a 5.3% reduction in nominal terms. I think most taxpayers would be pleased that they have reduced their own support budget by 5.3%.

So the Greens has misled the media with their press release. I look forward to their apology.

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Moore retires

November 23rd, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

New Zealand’s ambassador to the United States, Mike Moore, will leave his post next month and return to New Zealand.

Moore, a former Prime Minister who went on to be World Trade Organisation director-general, suffered what was described as a “minor stroke” in April of this year.

In a statement to embassy staff on Saturday (NZ time). Moore said he and his wife Yvonne would ” go home content that we did our best”.  

“Pity the old body gave up,” he said.

Mike Moore was hit hard by his stroke, and it is the right decision to put his health ahead of the job.

Moore – who has held the post since 2010 – said he was the longest-serving continuous ambassador to the US. “I didn’t seek this job but felt I should do it because great issues were at stake. The time was ripe for it.”

He said security issues and the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement had been major part of the job.

“On a security level things have moved up several notches. You are aware of the many exercises we do together and the important contribution we are making in the struggle against ISIS.

“TPP was the second part of the job and we have worked to getting acceptance for this by Congress.  I believe it will be forthcoming.  It will be a question of time.”

Moore said that in his political life, he had “always been in the wrong place at the wrong time but the mission I was given here was correct and the timing was right”.

Moore has served his country well – as a Minister, as Director-General of the WTO and as an Ambassador.


General Debate 23 November 2015

November 23rd, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Trevett previews Little’s reshuffle

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

Andrew Little is expected to announce his reshuffle this afternoon. Claire Trevett says it is critical for his creidbility:

His team is small and he needs his performers to perform. There are precious few of those. Those who got opportunities and made the most of them will do the best, such as Kelvin Davis and Phil Twyford. Beyond those, few of the MPs have stood out in the public eye.

Both have been in the public eye a lot, and generally been performing well. However both have over-reached – Twyford with his Chinese surnames idiocy and Davis with his portrayal of the detainees on Christmas Island. But I agree both should be promoted.

Little has already indicated Jacinda Ardern will be moved up from her ninth position. That is likely to be a shift to fourth in the rankings. Although Labour’s top three are all from Wellington, they cannot be moved given one is the leader, the other the deputy and the third the finance spokesman.

Ardern’s job is to win over Auckland. She is also likely to take on a meaty portfolio in place of the justice portfolio, which is not a natural fit for her.

Jacinda remains opposed to the three strikes law despite the evidence that the reoffending rate for those convicted of strike offences has dropped around 60%..

Expect Kelvin Davis to leapfrog over Nanaia Mahuta to be the highest ranked Maori MP and for Mahuta to drop down.


Carmel Sepuloni was one of those Little promoted soon after he became leader – a show of faith which she is yet to repay.

Little had intended Sepuloni to take over as his deputy after his first year in the job but since then she has failed to fire, partly distracted by personal issues.

So King stayed on as no one was up to it!

The key target for that message is likely to be Cunliffe. Cunliffe has been relatively quiet since the election. Despite that, trust in him is low. He is currently ranked 14th. Little may well use this reshuffle to send a signal to him that there is no road for him into a Labour Cabinet. That in turn would be seen as a hint for Cunliffe to consider a life beyond Parliament.

Actually Cunliffe has been pretty active in his tertiary education portfolio.

Little’s focus will be instead on bringing forward talented newcomers from the 2011 and 2014 intakes, such as Jenny Salesa, Davis and Stuart Nash.

Labour is polling around 30%. If they manage to win Government with 30% of the vote, then they may only have 12 or so MPs in Cabinet. So only the top 12 are shoo-ins. A few more might get outside Cabinet.


Labour MPs cheer Cameron not Corbyn

November 22nd, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Guardian reports:

Jeremy Corbyn may have misgivings about shoot to kill, but few of his own MPs seem to share them. Sitting next to the leader of the opposition for the prime minister’s statement on the G20 summit and the Paris attacks was Hilary Benn. The normally mild-mannered shadow foreign secretary gave every impression he was trying to eliminate his boss with mind control and a rictus smile. Disappointed to find Jezza still breathing, he left without saying goodbye after 45 minutes.

Other Labour MPs chose to kill their leader by vocalising their whole-hearted support for the prime minister’s tougher stance on terrorism. One by one they rose. Pat McFadden. Mike Gapes. David Hanson. Chris Leslie. Emma Reynolds.Chuka Umunna. Anne Coffey. Ian Leslie. Even the usually on-message Sarah Champion. Et tu, Sarah? There would have been more, had not the Speaker curtailed the debate. Not even in Iain Duncan Smith’s darkest hours had a leader been turned on so openly by his own party in parliament.

Gravitas isn’t something that comes easily to David Cameron but, just this once, he was allowed the chance to feel what it might be like to be a statesman. A father not just to the Conservatives but also to a Labour party keen to distance itself from a leader whose pacifism has failed to capture the public mood. A father to the nation.

Corbyn has an intellectual problem in that he sees terrorism as the fault of the West, not the terrorists.

After his remarks to the BBC on Monday, Jezza is finding it hard to shake the impression that he is the kind of leader who would politely request a terrorist to sit down for a nice cup of tea and talk through his anger issues, even as he was reloading his AK-47 to gun down some more civilians having a quiet night out.

Worth pointing out this is a column in The Guardian, not the Daily Mail.

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21 Mayoral staff is too many

November 22nd, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Auckland Mayor Len Brown spent $3.73 million running the mayoral office in the past financial year, 10 per cent less than the allowable budget of $4.152 million.

Mr Brown’s office today pro-actively released details about his office spend following an Official Information Act request from councillor Cameron Brewer.

The figures show the mayoral office spent $2.32 million on salaries for 21 fulltime and part-time staff – an average of about $110,000 per mayoral staffer.

21 staff is too many for a mayoral office.

By comparison the Prime Minister’s Office has 25 staff. And the NZ Government is around 40 times bigger than the Auckland Council.

A Mayor does need some staff – a comms person, a policy person, an EA etc. But 21 is way too many.


Maybe this is why child obesity is growing

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

The Herald reports:

Walking is no longer the most common way to get to school– and cycling rates have dropped even more dramatically over 25 years.

A new Ministry of Transport report, 25 years of New Zealand Travel: New Zealand Household Travel 1989-2014, examines long-term travel trends, including how schoolchildren commute.

Children are more likely to be car passengers now than 25 years ago, and far fewer are cycling to school.

For primary school children in the late 1980s, 42 per cent of school journeys involved walking, followed by being driven (32 per cent), using public transport (13 per cent) and cycling (12 per cent).

By 2010-2014, the walking rate had fallen to 29 per cent, while more than half of primary school children’s journeys were as car passengers (57 per cent). Public transport had fallen slightly to 11 per cent, with cycling declining by much more, to just 2 per cent.

So the proportion of primary school children who would walk or cycle to school has fallen from 54% to 31%.

Cycling to school saw a similar drop for secondary school students – falling from 19 per cent to 3 per cent of journeys.

Why? I used to cycle to school. Great way to be fit and often faster than the bus.

Studies had found that the main reason for the fall in cycling rates was the belief that biking to school was dangerous, the party said.

Is it more dangerous than 25 years ago?

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The bathrobed PM

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

Stuff reports:

A group of Australian journalists can perhaps understand why Barack Obama yesterday asked Malcolm Turnbull if Australians “talk to the New Zealanders”.

There aren’t many world leaders who’d be confident enough to walk through a crowded hotel lobby in a bathrobe.

But most world leaders are not John Key.

Key, who’s been in Manila for the annual APEC summit, was spotted by some Aussie journalists gadding through the lobby of the opulent Peninsula Hotel on Wednesday night, barefoot and clad in nothing else but a bathrobe.

I presume there were togs underneath!

“It takes a special breed of world leader who’s happy to walk across the crowded lobby of a five-star hotel in a terry-towelling bathrobe,” wrote an impressed political editor from The West Australian.

Asked about it by New Zealand journalists, Key initially tried to pin it on a case of mistaken identity.

“I don’t know what was going through Malcolm Turnbull’s mind,” he said.


Key commented that it wouldn’t be a world leader who’d do such a thing, rather a “junior world leader”.

He said he was on his way back from a swim in the pool.

Don’t see what the fuss was about.


General Debate 22 November 2015

November 22nd, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

A remarkable gondola

November 22nd, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Plans for a $50 million gondola from Queenstown’s Remarkables Park to the iconic Remarkables mountain range have been revealed today.

A 9.8km gondola, the longest in Australasia, is proposed by Remarkables Park Town Centre developer Porter Group Ltd.

It will dock with NZSki’s new ski field base building, which opened this year and was designed with the gondola in mind.

Comprising 140 eight-seater cabins, the Leitner Poma-designed gondola will lift off next to Porter Group’s proposed Frankton conference centre.

It will then run across and alongside the Kawarau River, then head up the Rastus Burn Valley to The Remarkables ski field’s new base building – a 27-minute journey.

Designed as a sightseeing attraction in its own right, it also offers an alternative route to the 13km Remarkables ski field access road, not only for skiers and snowboarders but also sightseers, climbers and mountain bikers throughout the rest of the year.

What a great idea – a huge tourist attraction, and also great for skiers.


How about letting parents and kids decide?

November 21st, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The ODT reports:

Dunedin secondary school pupils may be forced to attend the school nearest to them if one option proposed by the Ministry of Education is adopted.

The ministry has put up for discussion four options for improving the efficiency of the Dunedin secondary schools network.

It is efficient to force people to attend a certain school, but that doesn’t mean it is right. Educational outcome is more important than efficiency and if parents want to send their kids to a further away school, they should be able to.

Roll figures for 2015 show the city’s secondary schools have capacity for 9252 pupils, but 1513 spaces are not used in Dunedin – the equivalent of two secondary school rolls.

To make the network more efficient, option one is to implement a system in which the majority of an area’s pupils attend their local schools.

In other words force people to attend a school they don’t want to. This means poorly performing schools will not lose students, and hence have no incentive to improve.


Tuhoe wants to battle welfare dependency

November 21st, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Welfare, says Tuhoe leader Tamati Kruger, is a “disease” that has sapped the motivation of his people.

“Being a beneficiary is a type of servitude,” he says. “It doesn’t nurture self-realisation or honour or self-respect. It destroys all of that, and the disease spreads from the individual to the family to the neighbourhood to the community.”

Kruger for Parliament I say.

Welfare is necessary for those who need temporary assistance. But unless one has a severe disability, it should not be a long-term source of income.

Another story reports on an initiative:

The Tuhoe iwi is negotiating to take over social services for its people in an ambitious bid to end welfare “dependency”.

The tribe wants to take over welfare payments, schools, healthcare and housing within its Urewera tribal area from Whakatane south to Lake Waikaremoana.

Tuhoe chief executive Kirsti Luke said a majority of Tuhoe people in that area were on benefits, and tribal leader Tamati Kruger said the iwi aimed to change that.

“We are declaring war on dependency,” Mr Kruger said. “Our motivation is that if we want to be a vibrant people, to be a productive people who live up to their beliefs and to their faith as to what life is all about, and the honour that has to be part of humanity, then this is clearly what we have to overcome – because being a beneficiary is a type of servitude.”

Mr Kruger said Tuhoe had put a proposition to the Government to make better use of the $55 million a year taxpayers spend on welfare benefits for 4934 Maori beneficiaries around the Tuhoe tribal area. At the last Census, the tribe had 35,000 members.

“We believe that we can design a system where there is a transition from benefits to wages and salaries,” he said.

In principle this is a great idea.

But there are constitutional problems. Just because someone is a member of Tuhoe doesn’t mean their welfare payments can be paid through Tuhoe without their consent. There would need to be some sort of opt in process.

But if there is a way they can make this happen, it is worth doing. Success is not guaranteed, but Tuhoe should be in a better position than WINZ to work with its own members to reduce welfare dependency.

The iwi has set up its own doctors’ clinic in Taneatua, without state funding. More than 500 of its 884 enrolled patients were not previously enrolled at any clinic in the Bay of Plenty.

Tuhoe is now negotiating with the Education Ministry to share control of the 15 schools in its area and use them as hubs to develop health services, skills training and jobs.

Again, good to see positive leadership.

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Christchurch Council plan slammed

November 21st, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A damning independent review has found the Christchurch City Council botched the $40 million development of new planning rules for the city.

The independent review, by Peter Winder and Tanya Perrott finds fault with the council’s development of the  Replacement District Plan (RDP). It concludes the council has “not produced an effective plan” for the Government-appointed independent hearings panel (IHP) to consider.

Council boss Karleen Edwards has responded by hiring two consultants to oversee the final stages of the process. 

Winder and Perrott’s 30-page report, released exclusively to The Press, outlines a series of misjudgments made by council staff. It talks of a “culture of exclusion” whereby even councillors were largely shut out of the process and left feeling disenfranchised.

I wonder whether other Councils are much better?

Winder and Perrott’s report says council staff misjudged what the IHP and government ministers required.  They largely prepared the first wave of chapters without any input from elected councillors.

In the absence of an explicit strategic approach agreed by elected members, some staff “assumptions” drove the process.

“Some of these have proved to be questionable,” their report said. 

In many Councils town planning staff are incredibly powerful. Their individual preferences can have the force of law.


Templeton’s third liquidation

November 21st, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Businesses are doubtful of recouping tens of thousands of dollars from a failed company that ran Monster Slide events in New Zealand.

Trill Productions Ltd went into voluntary liquidation on November 2, making it the third company directed by Wellington entrepeneur Jamie Templeton to go under since February. 

I don’t judge people for one business failure.  Risk and reward are always linked.

But to have three companies in liquidation suggests there is a pattern of behaviour or judgement.

It’s not just suppliers who have been left out of pocket. Thousands of customers were duped into paying for tickets in advance for events that never eventuated.

Trill Productions is the third company directed by Templeton to go bust this year.

On February 5, Illuminate Global Ltd and Illuminate Youth Events NZ Ltd, which ran paint parties and youth events, went into liquidation. They left debts of about $158,000 and $4000, respectively, according to liquidators.

I believe it is time for regulatory authorities to look at whether Templeton is suitable to be a director of a company. And certainly any suppliers in future will be justified in demanding cash in advance for any services to companies he is involved with.


General Debate 21 November 2015

November 21st, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Herald says Len should not go to Paris

November 21st, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald editorial:

Many Aucklanders would have been open-mouthed with amazement at the announcement that Mayor Len Brown is going to the world climate change conference in Paris at the end of the month. The audacity of the discredited mayor never ceases to amaze. He ought to have resigned long ago but any credit he recovered with his decision last week not to stand for re-election next year probably evaporated with this announcement. What purpose can he serve at the climate change conference?

Sight seeing?

The conference is going to hear that his council has set a target of reducing Auckland’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2040, and that it is preparing for the impacts of climate change such as severe weather events, floods and sea level rise.

The Council’s target is nonsense because the Council has almost no ability to impact the level of greenhouse gas emissions in Auckland.

National governments can impact the level of greenhouse gas emissions by imposing a charge on such emissions, determining energy sources etc. A local authority has no such power, so the 40% target is basically wankery.

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Young Mothers

November 20th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

An interesting publication by Stats NZ on young mothers and the workforce.Their findings include:

  • 3% of women aged 15 to 19 are mothers
  • The proportion of 20 to 24 year old women becoming mothers has fallen from 25% in 1994 to 20% in 2014
  • Two thirds of teen mothers are sole parents
  • Teen mothers by ethnicity are Maori 6.1%, Pacific 4.2%, European 2.3% and Asian 0.8%
  • 20 to 24 year old mothers by ethnicity are Maori 38%, Pacific 30%, European 17.5% and Asian 6.9%
  • 20 to 24 year old sole mothers by ethnicity are Maori 23%, Pacific 16%, European 8.4% and Asian 1.6%
  • 82% of teenage women who are not parents are in education compared to 29% of teenage mothers
  • For 20-24 year olds the proportions in education are women (no kids) 45%, men 39%, sole mothers 22%, partnered mothers 14%

Wouldn’t NZ be so much better off if all of NZ had the same young mother rate as Asian New Zealanders?

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Ted Cruz acts out The Princess Bride

November 20th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

This is cool. He’s obviously seen the movie many times.

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Now this is religious freedom

November 20th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar


ABC report:

A Massachusetts agency is letting a woman who belongs to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster wear a colander on her head in her driver’s license photo after she cited her religious beliefs.

Lowell resident Lindsay Miller said Friday that she “absolutely loves the history and the story” of Pastafarians, whose website says has existed in secrecy for hundreds of years and entered the mainstream in 2005.

Miller says wearing the spaghetti strainer allows her to express her beliefs, like other religions are allowed to do.

A spokesman for the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles says policy does not permit head coverings or hats on license photos, but exceptions are made for religious reasons.

A great victory for freedom of religion!