Government signs .nz MOU with InternetNZ

May 4th, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Amy Adams has announced:

Communications Minister Amy Adams has welcomed today’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between InternetNZ and the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) on the management of the .nz domain name.

“The agreement will help ensure this important resource continues to be managed in a transparent way that supports the interests of the local internet community and end users of digital services,” says Ms Adams.

The Memorandum of Understanding sets expectations for how InternetNZ will operate the domain name in the interests of New Zealand internet users, and sets out a process for dealing with any concerns between parties.

It provides a clear statement of how the relationship between InternetNZ and MBIE should operate.

“A stable, reliable, and responsive domain name system is a key part of a modern communications infrastructure.

“The success of the .nz domain name lies in consulting with, and being accountable to, New Zealand internet users,” says Ms Adams.

That accountability is key, and I think it is great to have this agreement. In many countries Governments run the country code top level domain or have passed laws dictating how it should be run. In New Zealand, we have an open multi stakeholder approach to Internet policy.

The MOU is here. It is almost unique in the world to have a Government sign an agreement recognising that the country code top level domain should be run in accordance with RFC1591. They have also recognised the seven principles for top level domains that InternetNZ is guided by:

  1. Domain name markets should be competitive.
  2. Choice for registrants should be maintained and expanded.
  3. Domain registrations should be first come, first served.
  4. Parties to domain registrations should be on a level playing field.
  5. Registrant data should be public.
  6. Registry / Registrar operations within a TLD should be split.
  7. TLD policy should be determined by open multi-stakeholder processes

The agreement also increases accountability for InternetNZ by setting out a process any complaints can be heard, and also requiring InternetNZ to regularly test the views of the Internet community on key issues.

It’s really pleasing to be in a country where the Government has such good policies towards the Internet.

  • NB – I am Chair of the .nz Domain Name Commission but wasn’t involved in negotiating the MOU – however I was one of those consulted on its details

Politik on Amy Adams

January 15th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Richard Harman writes at Politik:

For Communications Minister, Amy Adams, who has launched a review of the 2001 Telecommunications Act which is relevant to the way the internet is regulated, the very idea of regulation almost seems like trying to wrestle with a jelly.

Not that she seems that philosophically keen on regulation anyway.

The review includes issues surrounding television which she says she does not think it is government’s job to try and figure out how the commercial businesses respond to the rapidly changing market.

Good. The smartest brains around the world are struggling with working out the answer, so to have a Government try and pick winners is a bad idea.

That comment will disappoint many in the TV industry who worry that a country of 4.4 million viewers will simply be rolled over in content terms by the big Hollywood or other international players.

We have NZ on Air, the Film Commission etc to support the local industry. That is preferable to dictating to providers what content they must supply.

It is that enthusiasm for light handed regulation and endorsement of the market which has made something of a rising star within the National Party.

My view is that Amy is doing very well.

On telecommunication regulation overall she says she has to walk a fine line.

“We have to get the balance right between investors seeing a value in spending on new and replacement technologies and services but at the same time not make it so attractive to investors that consumers get done in the pricing — and that’s a very fine balance,” she says.

“The biggest thing missing at the moment is certainty.

“You talk to any investor and it’s not even a matter of what the rules are, it’s knowing what the rules are so they can price it out and work out where they are and I think the biggest issue at the moment for investors in that market is not the pricing level so much as the complete uncertainty as to where it could go.”

There’s a clue here to how she might respond to the submissions that have been made on the Telecommunications Act and is pricing provisions.

“The very one off, individually created, unique in the world approach we have for pricing telecom services is creating some issues and we could look to a number of better understood processes like a utility style building block approach.”

There’s a lot of interest in the concept of treating telco infrastructure providers like other utilities. Instead of having the Commerce Commission determine prices for every regulated service, just have them establish a maximum rate of return as they do for lines companies and airports.

“I’m personally of a view that the internet stays free and open and outside state control,” she says.


“But that is not to say that we can’t have some sort of consistency of approach about things that our respective countries and residents expect us to regulate for like tax, like classifications, like law enforcement.”

But the picture that emerges is that of a Minister determined that telecommunications in New Zealand will have a light handed regulatory regime, but one which fits neatly into the overall globalised telecommunications industry.

Any infrastructure industry will always have a degree of regulation. It is a necessary evil to prevent vertically integrated monopolies destroying competition. But the regulation should be predictable and consistent.

Adams 1 Media 0

April 3rd, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

A Taranaki Daily News columnist wrote on the conspiracy pushed by a Labour blogger that Amy Adams had some conflict of interest around her actions as Environment Minister, on the basis she also owns a farm. I guess they think owning farm land means you can’t be Environment Minister.

Anyway look at this “clarification” that the Taranaki Daily News had added to the column:

In this article Taranaki Daily News columnist Rachel Stewart raised questions about the links between Environment Minister Amy Adams and the Central Plains Water irrigation scheme in Canterbury.

The column suggested the minister had the power to dismantle a Water Conservation Order so that the Rakaia River could feed that irrigation scheme, and this decision would benefit farm holdings she owned.

The Taranaki Daily News acknowledges the minister had no such power.

Rachel Stewart wrote the Minister had done things “by the book” but also suggested that to say the Minister had not abused her role would be “a big stretch”.

The Taranaki Daily News acknowledges that Minister Adams declared a pecuniary interest in the Central Plains Water scheme and transferred her responsibilities as Environment Minister to Minister Gerry Brownlee in April 2012.

We also acknowledge there has only been one Cabinet decision made regarding the Central Plains Water Scheme and on that occasion, Mr Brownlee took the paper to the relevant Cabinet committee. Ms Adams, who does not own a dairy farm in Canterbury, excused herself from the Cabinet committee where it was discussed, and took no part in the discussions.

Wow, that is a huge backdown. You’d think they’d check their facts before making such serious allegations.

Labour attacks National for not appointing an all male board!

November 15th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

3 News reported:

“I never like appointing all-male boards if I can help it,” says Environment Minister Amy Adams.

In choosing a board of inquiry to decide whether the controversial Ruataniwha Dam should go ahead, emails show Ms Adams “was underwhelmed with the potential line-up”.

“It’s always my preference to have a good balance of gender,” she says.

Labour leader David Cunliffe says it’s double-speak on the Government’s part.

“The National Party has done exactly what they criticised Labour for doing,” he says.

“Even though we didn’t do a man ban and now they’re doing it themselves; I guess people call that hypocrisy.”

A silly story, and I love seeing Labour attack the Government for not appointing an all male board.

As I have said all along, one can say it is healthy to have diversity on a board (or caucus) but you don’t do that by way of quotas which make gender the only criteria.

Labour proposed being able to ban men from even seeking the nomination in an electorate. That is a word of difference to a Minister saying they don’t think a board should be 100% male.

Adams calls for independent assessment of Chorus

November 7th, 2013 at 9:50 am by David Farrar

Amy Adams has announced:

Communications and Information Technology Minister has today instructed her officials to commission an independent assessment of Chorus’ financial position and its capability to deliver on its contractual commitments under the Ultra-Fast Broadband and Rural Broadband Initiatives.

Ms Adams has written to Chorus informing the company of her decision.

“In recent weeks, I have had the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) work with external consultants to carry out an independent analysis of Chorus’ financial position across a range of pricing options, based on publicly-available information.

“To complement this work, I have decided to seek an independent assessment at arm’s length from the Government.

“In order to properly assess the range of options before the Government, I have directed MBIE to work with Crown Fibre Holdings to commission independent advice to the Government of Chorus’ financial position and capability to deliver on its contractual obligations with the Government.”

The review would assess the impact of the Commerce Commission’s decisions on both the Unbundled Copper Local Loop and the Unbundled Bitstream Access prices on Chorus’ ability to deliver on its contractual commitments under the Ultra-Fast Broadband and Rural Broadband Initiatives.

As part of the review, the consulting firm would be asked to assess the scope for Chorus to manage the impact within the constraints of the reduced revenue, and if required, a range of alternative options.

At the end of the review, the report would be provided directly to Ms Adams, and a copy of the report released publicly.

I think this is a very sensible thing to do, and look forward to seeing who is selected to do the review, and their eventual report. That information will allow us to have a more informed debate on whether intervention with the Commerce Commission’s decision is necessary and/or desirable.

Changes to TICS Bill

October 15th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Amy Adams has announced:

Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams has today tabled a Supplementary Order Paper to make further improvements to the  Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Bill. …

Clause 39 of the proposed Bill currently allows the responsible Minister to direct that a network operator must not resell an overseas telecommunications service in New Zealand where the interception capability, or lack of interception capability, raises a significant risk to law enforcement or national security.

It is proposed to remove Clause 39 from the Bill altogether, and, instead, matters of non-compliance could be addressed through the compliance framework.

Part 3 of the Bill deals with the partnership approach between the GCSB and network operators to protect network security.

To ensure that this interaction occurs in a timely manner, it is proposed to introduce the ability for the Minister responsible for the GCSB to make regulations that require decisions to be made under specific timeframes, in the event that decisions are not being made in a sufficiently timely way.

It is also proposed to narrow the scope of the matters that must be notified to the GCSB, reducing compliance costs for network operators.

As a last resort, where network operators and the GCSB are unable to agree on how to respond to a network security risk, Clause 54 of the Bill currently provides that the responsible Minister may issue a direction.

Before the GCSB can ask the Minister to make a direction, a further check and balance will be introduced.  The Commissioner of Security Warrants will now be required to carry out an independent review of the material that informed the GCSB’s risk assessment, and report on whether, in their opinion, the risk amounts to a significant risk to national security.

These looks like very welcome changes. The requirement for the Commissioner of Security Warrants (currently former Court of Appeal Judge Sir Bruce Robertson) to do an independent review in the very very unlikely event of the Government believing that what a network operator is planning could threaten national security, is sound.

“Although public input has resulted in significant improvements to the Bill, some of the submissions received did not reflect an accurate understanding of what the Bill does and does not do,” Ms Adams says.

“In particular, I would like to reassure people that this Bill does not change the authority of agencies to intercept telecommunications, it does not change existing privacy protections, and it does not require data to be stored or require stored data to be disclosed. The Bill only relates to real time interception.

This is a key point that many have missed – it is about real-time interception. The major users of this ability are the Police for ongoing criminal investigations.

There’s also a comparison table between the current law (TIC Act) and this proposed law (TICS Bill). I think they show that in some areas the law change actually reduces compliance costs on ISPs. There is no expansion of powers in terms of surveillance. There is an expansion in terms of the GCSB’s role in syber-security where they can (ultimately) ask for a Government order if they believe a proposed action would be a threat to national security.

Ironically that proposed power has its genesis in the opposition scaremongering over Huawei winning some contracts in New Zealand. They kept demanding the Government do something on the basis the Australian Government had excluded them from the NBN build there. The Government doesn’t believe there are any national security issues around Huawei, but it was the scaremongering that highlighted that even if there were, they actually had no power to exclude a company that did have national security issues. So a bit rich for opposition MPs to complain about a clause that their scaremongering created.

There’s still some elements of the bill which I’m not enthusiastic on. I don’t think ISPs (or network operators) should have to register with the GCSB as it sets a bad precedent. As far as I know there’s never been an issue with locating an ISP, and its directors. I’d prefer that clause to be removed. As I said, a precedent of an ISP needing to register with the Government is not healthy – even if well intentioned.

But the SOP by Amy Adams is a significant improvement to the bill, especially having the Commissioner of Security Warrants do an independent assessment if there is ever a stand off between the Government and an ISP over a proposed network build decision.

Also a useful read are these two diagrams showing how the interception and network security processes will work.

The wrong decision

February 9th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The lowest price of broadband internet access is less important than ensuring consumers move as quickly as possible to high-speed fibre-based services, says Telecommunications Minister Amy Adams.

I disagree. I’m a huge fan of the fibre roll-out but you don’t force people onto fibre by artificially keeping the cost of copper high.

“I don’t think the over-arching criteria in this is ‘what is the cheapest option’,” Adams told BusinessDesk. “If that was the case, we’d be sticking with dial-up. I don’t think you’d find any consumer saying ‘if dial-up’s cheaper, let me have that’.”

I don’t accept that comparison. The difference between dial-up and broadband is massive. My laptop effectively freezes on dialup. The difference between dial-up and DSL is like the difference between a wheelchair and a car. While the difference between DSL and fibre is more like the difference between a Lada and a Porsche. And for some people a Lada is fine.

Her comments followed her announcement the government would accelerate its timetable for reviewing the regulatory regime for telecommunications services. The decision effectively neuters the Commerce Commission, which issued a draft determination late last year that could favour a longer life for the existing copper wire network by pricing it highly competitively with new fibre services.

That draft determination, which Adams described as a “curve ball”, sparked protest from the key players in the ultra-fast broadband roll-out, including NZX-listed Chorus, whose share price recovered 12 per cent today, immediately following Adams’s announcement.

I think it is disappointing that the Government has intervened in this way. The Commerce Commission is doing the job set down by statute. If it has made an error, then that can be challenged in the submissions on the draft and if need be in court. I’ve not see any suggestion the Commission has got the law wrong.

“Carrying on the way it was would have changed the landscape in the way telecommunications services were priced and delivered and we saw some real risks around that in terms of market uncertainty and the market not looking to develop and promote high speed fibre products,” said Adams.

I think the market works better when the Government doesn’t artificially push the price of one product up.

“What became very clear is that this sort of uncertainty and decisions coming out that have really taken everyone by surprise are the last thing that anyone needs in this space.

Not at all. I am not surprised that the Commission found out copper services were over-priced.

New Minister announced

April 2nd, 2012 at 1:39 pm by David Farrar

Congrats to Simon Bridges who has been appointed Consumer Affairs Minister, plus Associate Transport and Climate Change. It was inevitable Simon would become a Minister at some stage – after three years and four months is pretty good time-wise.

Chris Tremain gets promoted to Cabinet, drops Consumer Affairs and gains Internal Affairs.

Amy Adams picks up Environment in exchange for Internal Affairs. A big vote of confidence in her abilities.

Tim Groser gets Climate Change (he already had the international negotiations side of it) and David Carter gets Local Government.

Adams new F&E Chair

June 13th, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

National’s  Selwyn MP, Amy Adams, is the new chairwoman of the  finance and expenditure select committee. She replaces Craig Foss, who is taking over the portfolios of outgoing minister outside Cabinet John Carter. Also on the committee is Stuart Nash. Despite their row over the amount of tax farmers pay, the Labour list MP says Ms Adams is a hard worker and will do a great job as chairwoman. He says the row was exaggerated. ”It was just a Labour member ribbing a National member who was ribbing a Labour member.”

Like Stuart, I also think Amy will do a great job as Chair – as she did with the Electoral Legislation Committee.

It’s dangerous for me to make predictions about MPs futures, but I am very confident in predicting that Amy will become a Minister if National gets re-elected.

Will it be the Hon Hekia Parata?

November 22nd, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Audrey Young writes at the Herald:

The strong performance of National candidate Hekia Parata in the Mana byelection has boosted her chances of being promoted this week.

It certainly has not harmed it. And the fact the PM did not announced last week the new Minister night suggest he was waiting to see how Mana went.

Ms Parata, a former public policy and Treaty of Waitangi consultant, not only slashed Labour’s majority, but performed well under pressure and ran a strong team.

Counting against her is that she is a first-term MP. Her promotion ahead of the class of 2005 could put some noses out of joint.

The leading contenders in that pack are Craig Foss, the MP for Tukituki and chairman of the finance and expenditure select committee, and Chris Tremain, MP for Napier and the chief Government whip.

I think both Craig and Chris know that their ascension is a matter of when, not if, which would help molify them if Hekia jumps ahead of then. But having said that, 2010 is far preferable to 2012 in terms of ascension.

What may count against them this time is that if they are promoted, then there has to be a minor reshuffle. While Hekia can slip in and take over Pansy’s portfolios directly.

Selwyn MP Amy Adams, in the same cohort as Ms Parata, is also tipped for future promotion in a commerce or economic role.

Or Agriculture. Or Justice. Amy is multi-talented 🙂

Mr Key could save a little money by appointing no one to the Cabinet and appointing another minister outside the Cabinet. He could make an even bigger saving by appointing no one at all and upsetting no one.

This is the only error in Audrey’s article. If the PM makes no appointment at all, this will in fact upset every single Backbencher. Reducing the size of the Ministry means more people competing for fewer places. A smaller Ministry is regarded by backbenchers with the same loathing as teacher unions performance pay.

Personally an Executive of 28 is larger than we need. However the time for change would have been when first forming the Government, rather than doing it by attrition.

But that would suggest Mrs Wong’s role was surplus to requirements in the first place.

Well …..

Mr Key is not seen as a slave to “political correctness”; he is not oblivious to gender and identity issues in National’s line-up either.

It is a factor, but not the sole or even the dominant factor.

The importance of the Mana byelection is that a promotion would be seen on the basis of talent, not tokenism

Yes, a promotion would be seen as gained on the basis of performance.

Making one appointment outside of the Cabinet to take over Mrs Wong’s two portfolios makes most sense, and of the contenders, Ms Parata’s sphere of interest is best suited to the vacancies.

We may find out later today who it is.

Talking of Mana, kudos must go to Phil Quinn who predicted a Faafoi win by just 1,000 votes.

Amy Adams on the Earthquake

September 9th, 2010 at 3:45 pm by David Farrar

Trevor Mallard highlighted this speech from Amy Adams, which he rightly said captures the anguish of so many in Canterbury.

Because no one died, it is tempting to downplay the impact of the earthquake, or in fact earthquakes in Canterbury. I recommend people listen to Amy’s speech.

Amy also blogged a couple of days ago on the quake:

The early hours of Saturday morning were without doubt some of the scariest of my life. Wrenched from deep sleep by violent tremors and a deafening roar, the mind can’t even comprehend what is happening.

Once I realised it was an earthquake the next thought was quite simply that we were going to die. There just didn’t seem any way the house could withstand the forces throwing it around. In those moments your instinct is simply to reach out for your family.

Grabbing my husband we both started screaming out to my daughter (my son was thankfully away in a safe area) and as soon as we could stand we pushed through debris in total blackness to my daughter’s room. Later when the sun came up I would learn that the fish tank that flew across her room missed her head by mere inches before crashing on the bed post but at that moment the priority was getting everyone into the kitchen and under our very solid table.

In the darkness the house felt totally unfamiliar and progress was slow picking our way through the remains of our once treasured possessions. In bare feet broken glass was the biggest challenge and once we reached the table it felt like a refuge. We huddled together there for a while before venturing out for blankets, shoes and our civil defence kit which luckily enough we had.

Treasury are now talking $4 billion as the total cost.

In the Navy

May 15th, 2010 at 12:51 pm by David Farrar

Most MPs blogs are so boring they make me want to move to Palmerston North so in the words of the great John Cleese, I will finally have the inspiration to kill myself.

However I have enjoyed the blog posts by Amy Adams about her week “Amy in the Navy”.  An extract:

I do have do mention though that even in gently rocking open seas, showering was a bit of a skill. Washing shampoo from my hair without falling over involved deploying a three point bracing system of two feet and a shoulder in various parts of the stall, ungainly certainly but managed to complete the mission.


When I nervously asked what the gun was for I got the simple response “sharks”. Not sure if that was good or bad news for the poor man overboard.

Highlight of the drills for me though was when, unexpectedly, up went the shout “man overboard!” I was on the bridge at the time and of course I rushed outside to watch what would happen next. What I wasn’t expecting was to see one of the crew immediately grab and load a semi automatic rifle and point it towards where the dummy was floating. Hell, I thought, that’s a little harsh as a way to deal with the situation; clearly there are few second chances in this Navy.

Heh I love the culture clash.

The special Electoral Select Committee

April 6th, 2010 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Last week the House established a special Electoral Legislation Select Committee, to consider the electoral finance and the MMP referenda bills.

It is set up to specifically include all seven Parliamentary parties, to try and continue the consensual approach Simon Power has fostered in this area. The difference between this and Labour’s approach to the old Electoral Finance Act is massive.

According to Dave at Big News, the committee is:

  1. National (4) – Amy Adams (Chair), Hekia Parata, Paul Quinn, Chris Tremain
  2. Labour (3) – Lianne Dalziel, Pete Hodgson, Darren Hughes
  3. Green (1) – Metiria Turei
  4. Maori (1) – Rahui Katene
  5. ACT (1) – John Boscawen
  6. United (1) – Peter Dunne
  7. Progressive (1) – Jim Anderton

Not that I expect too many divisions on partisan lines, but note the CR parties have six members, CL five members and Maori Party one member. So neither CR nor CL have a majority.

The appointment of Amy Adams as Chair is notable, as she has only been an MP for just over a year. Amy is hugely competent, and a very strong performer. I expect she will be the first of the Class of 2008 to become a Minister.

Two Nat bills

November 20th, 2009 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Good to see National MPs starting to get their private members bills in the ballot, with the result being two of them got drawn this week.

The first is the Fair Trading (Soliciting on Behalf of Charities) Amendment Bill by Selwyn MP Amy Adams. The notes explain what it will do:

The Bill requires professional third party collectors to disclose to potential donators that a portion of the donation will be retained by the collector.

This only applies if the proportion retained is more than 20 percent.

If the proportion retained is between 20 and 50 percent of the total donation then the collector must simply disclose that a portion is being withheld by them, but does not have to disclose the amount.

If the proportion retained is more than 50 percent then the collector must disclose the percentage being retained, to the nearest percentage point.

Transparency is a good thing. There have been a lot of horror stories about people donating money to what they think is a charity but finding out less than half gets to the charity. I can’t imagine anyone will vote against this bill going to select committee. WIll be interesting to hear what the charities say about it.

Rotorua MP Todd McClay had his Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 Repeal (Easter Sunday Local Choice) Amendment Bill also drawn. I can’t find a copy of it online, so this is based on reports.

This is a minor liberalisation, which will allow each local Council to decide whether or not shops are allowed to open on Easter Sunday.

This will be lots of fun because you get the unholy coalition of the union left and religious right joining forces to stop even the remotest sanity occurring over Easter Trading. Hopefully Todd’s bill will make it to select committee – the challenge will be getting it back out.

I find it hilarious that the actual public holiday is Easter Monday while the day retail shops can’t open is Easter Sunday. And that Easter Saturday has no significance at all, so people can’t even get a guaranteed long weekend off. The current law really is a dogs breakfast.

The Selwyn Electoral Petition

May 8th, 2009 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Legal friends have forwarded to me the judgement of the Electoral Court – civ3089_08-payne-v-adams. To save people reading the full 42 pages (except Geddis and Knight), here are some key extracts:


This is the primary reason why National did not want a bar of Payne. Breaking a written undertaking is no small thing. In fact it normally leads to expulsion from the party, let alone precluding future candidacy.


Oh dear. Here the Justices fund Mr Payne misled the court.


No you did not misread this. Mr Payne has had 70 court hearings on other issues, and personally sued three Judges. I almost feel sorry for the three High Court Justices who made up the Electoral Court – he will probably now go after them.


The Court finds that Payne does not even have standing to bring an electoral petition. It is all over at this point, but for the sake of completeness the Justices helpfully make findings on several other issues.


This confirms that electoral petitions are about elections – not about internal party issues around candidate selections.


And here they concur with a previous court case that the National Party rules comply with the Electoral Act.



A private group such as the National Party is not required to have “natural justice”, as per public bodies. But here the Court rules that even if there was a natural justice test, the verto of Payne’s nomination did not breach the Act.


And here the Court finds that Payne lied on his nomination form, or as they put it “made untruthful and inaccurate statements”.


Usefully the Court also finds no evidence of wrongdoing by President Judy Kirk, Regional Chair Roger Bridge, and Electorate Chair John Skinner. The former two men especially have had their names dragged through the mud by Mr Payne.


And here we have the dismissal of the petition, the confirmation of Amy Adams as MP for Selwyn and a reservation over costs.

This has cost the National Party an immense amount of money – over an issue that was always doomed to failure. Sadly I suspect that no matter what damages the Court orders paid, the party will never actually see the money.

Arguably there was some minor good from the case – the rulings on electoral petitions and candidate selections under the Electoral Act are useful confirmations of the law.

Selwyn Electoral Petition outcome at 2 pm

May 7th, 2009 at 1:02 pm by David Farrar

I understand that the Speaker has been delivered the judgement in the Selwyn Electoral Petition by Roger Payne, and he will announce the outcome and table it at 2 pm.

It will be a relief to Amy Adams to have it all out of the way.

UPDATE: And the Speaker has announced that the determination of the High Court is that Amy Adams is confirmed as the MP for Selwyn. Goodbye and good riddance Mr Payne. What a waste of time and money.

Selwyn Electoral Petition hearing starts today

April 6th, 2009 at 1:48 pm by David Farrar

Most people will be unaware there is an electoral petition being heard today. It is next door to the Bain trial at the Christchurch High Court and being heard by Justices Randerson, Allan and French.

Normally an electoral petition has a huge amount of media coverage. This has had none to date (but will be some today), because to be blunt there is no chance of sucess. It has been brought by serial litigant Roger Payne.

He was vetoed by the National Party Board as a candidate. There were excellent reasons for this. He broke his solemn sworn word in 2002 when he went for the Rakaia nomination, and having failed to win, stood for Christian Heritage – despite signing a pledge he would not stand for any other party in that election.

Readers can read previous material about Mr Payne here.

If the petition is sucessful, then Amy Adams would lose her seat and there would be a by-election. As I said at the beginning, I do not believe there is any chance of this occuring. Payne is a serial litigant and a very costly nuisance.

The lesson for National is they should never ever have let him rejoin the party after he was automatically expelled in 2002 when he stood for Christian Heritage. I helped get him refused from joining Wellington Central (knowing his history) but he eventually conned some sucker in the South Island into taking his $5. That $5 has probably cost the Party 1000 times that.

Today’s MPs

January 22nd, 2009 at 1:59 pm by David Farrar

From the Herald series:

Tim Macindoe

Tim Macindoe set out to shatter any illusions that the road to Parliament was as smooth as his leader John Key had made it look.

Last year’s election was fifth time lucky for Mr Macindoe, who has been a National Party candidate in every election since MMP was introduced in 1996.

Fifth time lucky!

The former chief executive of Arts Waikato, deputy principal of St Peter’s School in Cambridge and prison tutor at Christchurch Women’s Prison said education and dealing with children at risk were among his priorities.

“I have been concerned for more than a decade that our country is in danger of losing its soul. Every tragic incident of child abuse or illegal drug sale to the young and the vulnerable or senseless violent crime that occurs in our country is an attack on our society as a whole and the values that most of us hold dear.”

Tim will no doubt be concentrating on holding the marginal Hamilton West seat. Hamilton West has been held by the Government of the Day for over 40 years, except from 1993 to 1996.

Kelvin Davis

Ngapuhi iwi, married with three children, lives in Kaitaia. A teacher in Northland since 1988, his most recent job was as principal of Kaitaia Intermediate from 2001 to 2007. Likes rugby, fishing, shooting and boating.

In his own words:
“It’s time we stopped wallowing in self-pity and instead looked for solutions … blaming the system implies we are too weak as a people to help ourselves, that we are victims.”

I was hugely impressed with his maiden speech.

Amy Adams

As a lawyer and farmer, she said she was recently called a “typical Nat”. She said before people stereotype her they should know she was brought up by a solo mother who struggled to put herself through a psychology degree before working with disadvantaged families.

In her own words:
“[Agriculture] was our past and it remains our future. It is the primary sector that will help us as a country find our way through these troubled financial times.”

Amy has a safe seat for life, but it won’t take that long for her to start moving up the ranks. She could be our first female Minister of Agriculture!

Amy Adams Maiden Speech

December 11th, 2008 at 2:05 pm by David Farrar

Amy is the MP for Selwyn – a seat that has produced many good MPs, including Sir John Hall:

We seem to raise strong politicians on the Canterbury plains. I come from the same part of the country as the great Sir John Hall, a farmer, and former premier of New Zealand who, in the 1870’s, formed and maintained a government in a period of change and great instability. Sir John is particularly to be remembered for one of his final acts of public life which was to successfully sheppard the women’s suffrage bill through the House in the 1890’s.

Living in a world where women in NZ have risen to the top in almost every profession, and now dominate the universities, it is hard to believe that only just over 100 years ago they didn’t even have the right to vote. And it was not until WWII, that women seriously started to enter the workforce.

In the passage of time we seem to have lost sight of the enormous contribution Sir John made and as a woman now representing his home area, I want to take a moment to acknowledge his legacy.

As a farmer, he and his brothers formed one of the first large-scale sheep runs in the South Island, which later became Terrace station. And as a politician for the original Selwyn seat, he was respected for his integrity, and huge contribution to the developing nation’s landscape.

Sir John was a staunch conservative, who felt women would bring more decorum and civilized behavior to politics, plus would be least likely to countenance official extravagance.

Women, he noted “instinctively possess a far keener insight into character than men, and the result of giving them a vote would be that a candidate’s chance at election would depend more on his character, for trustworthiness, for ability and for straightforwardness than upon mere professions made on the hustings.”

I find it interesting that even enlightened MPs such as Sir John argued women should get the vote not on the basis of it being a fundamental right for all adults, but on the basis it would produce better outcomes!

I come to this House as a commercial lawyer and a Canterbury sheep farmer and based on that just last week in Wellington someone called a “typical Nat”. I make no apology for that side of my background, I am proud of what I have worked hard to achieve, but for those looking to stereotype me it is worth pointing out that I also grew up in a sole parent household, always short of money, with my mother putting herself through a degree with two pre-schoolers underfoot, eventually becoming a psychologist bonded to the education department.

All these new MPs are making it very hard for those fighting class wars from the 50s to portray National as the party of inherited privilege.

At this time, we need the rural sector more than ever. We need to treasure our rural communities, not trash them.

Something that worries me is how many New Zealanders have lost touch with the land. Most kiwi kids don’t visit farms anymore, they don’t see lambs in spring, and they don’t grow up knowing that farmers care about their land, its health and its future. It’s not in their interests to pillage nature. Farmers farm for future generations, and they farm for the prosperity of all New Zealand.

Actually it worries me too how few kids gets exposed to the outdoors and rural NZ. I was very lucky that growing up we had a few acres in Reikorangi, and over the summer would help the local farmer out mustering stock, dagging etc etc.

We must also remember that the plight of the agriculture is not just about the success of our economy. The world has a massively expanding population and UN predictions are that feeding those people will be one of our biggest challenges in years to come. We cannot afford to let our agricultural industry shrink in NZ where we have the proven capability to produce some of the best, and most environmentally sound, foodstuffs in the world.

And if we follow a fundamentalist approach to climate change, the only way to reduce emissions enough will be to slaughter livestock, rather than have them produce food for the world.

Making laws that effect people’s lives is a very grave responsibility. And when the law does put restrictions on people, we owe it to them to make the rules clear and concise, and not open to subjective interpretation leading to wide inconsistencies of result.


Mr Speaker, business in this country has often been demonized in recent years as large, heartless corporations making money off Kiwis for their international owners.

But in reality the face of New Zealand business is a couple of guys working in a workshop out the back of town fixing cars. Or a mum selling kids products via a website from home. Or builders, sparkies and cleaners. Lawnmowing contractors, painters.

The productivity of this country is in their hands. They form the bulk of New Zealand businesses, and they will be very exposed in the coming economic storm. They are the infantry of our economy, and they are fighting on the frontline right now.

So are we sending in reinforcements? Or are we going to abandon them?

Well Labour and Greens are fighting to make it harder for small businesses.

The state is here to help, but its role is not to run your life, tell you what to do or how to do it.

The role of Government is not to wrap us in cotton-wool to ‘save us from ourselves’.

I can assure you that I will stick up for the right for kiwi kids to play on swings, see-saws, skateboards and cycles, and to climb trees and build treehouses without having to apply for a building consent!


The full speech is over the break.


The Central South Island seats

November 14th, 2008 at 12:05 pm by David Farrar

Another nice blue area, but with only three seats.

Selwyn replaces the old Rakaia seat, but on very different boundaries. On the revised boundaries National won the party vote by 15% in 2005, and in 2008 it went to a 29% gap. The Connell majority of 6,700 blossoms into a 10,200 majority for Amy Adams.

Rangitata is an oddly shaped seat that includes Timaru and Ashburton. National were 7% ahead on party vote in 2005 and 14% in 2008. Goodhew’s also gets a majority of 7,600.

Waitaki is the old Otago less Queenstown and moving North. In 2005 the party vote gap was 8% and in 2008 it is 21%. Jacqui Dean holds off David Parker again with a massive 10,000+ majority, up from 4,300 in 2005.

Mallard’s blond confusion

June 7th, 2008 at 9:36 am by David Farrar

Some of the blogs on the left go feral whenever there is any comment on a female MP’s appearance or if they are called a female warlock. So I look forward to their comments on Trevor Mallard and Shane Jones.

We have Shane Jones on radio calling Katherine Rich Katherine Witch, but then clarifying that she isn’t a witch any more as she is leaving National’s Caucus.

And the Herald reports on Trevor Mallard:

In the House last week Mr Mallard couldn’t resist firing a barb in the direction of National’s female MPs, saying they looked very similar and it was hard to work out who was who.

“Some of us have a little bit of a problem in that a number of the women on the National Party benches look very similar,” Mr Mallard said.

“Certainly in looking at their hair colour, I can say it looks like they share their shampoos or hair dyes, and they do look somewhat similar.”

Yeah, and all those grey haired women in Labour look the same too. Well that is the equivalent of what Trevor is saying.

The blonde brigade includes Otago MP Jacqui Dean, Aoraki MP Jo Goodhew and list MP Nicky Wagner.

Indeed, they all are. At least Pansy Wong and Georgina te Heuheu are not blond or Trevor would be getting them confused also. Here are the three MPs:

Jacqui Dean

Jo Goodhew

Nicky Wagner

You really only have to meet them all once to tell them apart. There are those cunning subtle differences such as different faces.

And it seems that National’s production line of blonde women is far from finished, with three new candidates in this year’s election _ Nikki Kaye (Auckland Central), Louise Upston (Taupo) and Amy Adams (Selwyn) _ also fitting the bill.

Ms Upston and Ms Adams both brushed off Mr Mallard’s comments.

Both said they would prefer people judged them on their abilities and what they stood for, rather than their hair colour or appearance.

How novel. Some Labour MPs might agree with them.

But how will Trevor cope with three new MPs to tell apart. Well again it should not be difficult:

Amy Adams (Rakaia)

Nikki Kaye (Auckland Central)

Louise Upston (Taupo)

Now again, those subtle differences such as different faces, different heights, different hair styles may help Trevor cope.

Selwyn Selection

May 11th, 2008 at 6:18 pm by David Farrar

The National selection fro Selwyn has been under since around 3.30 p.m. with five candidates competing. The seat is about as safe National as one can get, so who-ever is selected will be an MP for a reasonably long time.

So far there have been three ballots, and it is down to the final ballot between Amy Adams and Alex McKinnon. This is pretty much a win-win as both of them are exceptional candidates, and someone at the meeting described one of their speeches as “Prime Ministerial” and the other as “Outstanding”.

I’ll update with the final result when known. There are several hundred voting delegates so it can take a while to count the votes.

UPDATE: Amy Adams won on the fourth and final ballot. Huge congratulations to Amy and commiserations to all the others – great to have such a good contest with so many good candidates. The big winner is actually the residents of Selwyn who are going to get a superb MP.

Amy is a bit of a super-woman. She is in her 30s and manages to be a mum to two kids, a lawyer, a lobbyist for the NZ Health Trust, helps with the farm, chairs the local school board of trustees, is a director of various companies and oh yeah is training for triathlons.

It has been great to see so many good people being selected as candidates.

More candidates

March 26th, 2008 at 8:40 am by David Farrar

The list of major 2008 candidates has been updated, and it now includes hyperlinks to a website or blog for the candidate. Thanks to Carl H for his help in converting my excel file to some neat HTML.

If you have the names of any missing candidates, please let me know. And if a candidate has a website I am not linked to, send that through.

National has two more candidates. Hekia Parata was selected a couple of days ago as National’s candidate for Mana. And I was at the selection meeting last night for Rimutaka where Richard Whiteside won a three way battle. Richard is one of those rare creatures in politics – a small business owner. Amongst his various endeavours, he owned for around a decade what is now called the Speights Ale House on Tinakori Road in Thorndon.  Richard has firsthand experience of what it means to invest your own money into a business, and the environment needed for small businesses to succeed. He’s also been involved with local environmental issues – specifically the toxic sludge from the Hutt based Exide factory.

National has also announced the names of the five candidates seeking the nomination for what should be the very safe Selwyn seat.  They are:

  • Amy Adams
  • Alex McKinnon
  • Dugald McLean
  • Todd Nicholls
  •  John Stringer

I know, or have met, four of the five candidates over the years.  It will be a hard fought contest, and I suspect it will go to all four ballots on the night.

I blogged previously on how gruelling the National Party selection process can be with 60 delegates to meet and impress. Well Rakaia is even worse for the candidates. Not only does it stretch out over a couple of hundred kms, but they have sought and been given permission to have universal suffrage for the selection meeting. That means that instead of 60+ delegates voting, over 700 local members (who have been members for at least six months) can and generally will vote.  So I predict a lot of travel over the next couple of weeks as the candidates get around Canterbury.