King confuses minimum and average

November 18th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Shots have been fired over surgical figures, with the Health Minister accusing Labour’s Annette King of misleading Parliament by claiming Auckland DHB had raised its pain threshold for patients needing surgery. 

Auckland DHB has hit back saying it has not, and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has accused King of deliberately “fudging the facts’. 

Misleading the house is a serious offence, which in some situations is dealt with by the privileges committee and the House has the ability to punish someone for contempt if that person is found to have deliberately misled it.

It is not clear that King deliberately misled Parliament. She may have been genuinely confused herself. But she should admit her mistake.

The allegations centred on figures tabled in the house last week, which King said showed Auckland DHB had lifted the points threshold for patients to qualify for hip and knee surgery from 50 points in 2013, to 70 points. 

But Auckland DHB has disputed their use, saying Labour’s research arm asked two different questions over the two information requests, with the 2015 request only asking for the average [Clinical Priority Assessment Criteria] score for those who had qualified. 

“This is a different question, and refers to the average acuity (severity of the condition) for patients who had received surgery for their hip or knee. We said 70.

“This is not the threshold for treatment,” a DHB spokesman said.

“The requests were for two different pieces of information which were provided. The two responses are not comparable as the request was for two different pieces of information.

One is a minimum, and one is an average. King is absolutely wrong in comparing the average in 2015 with the threshold or minimum in 2013.

Tags: ,

King to stay on as Deputy

October 22nd, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour leader Andrew Little has snubbed rising star Jacinda Ardern for the deputy leadership after confirming veteran MP Annette King will stay in the role.

Little had previously signalled King’s appointment as deputy was only an interim measure while he sized up potential candidates in his first 12 months in the job.

With Ardern’s star on the rise it was widely expected she would get the job because of her broad appeal in the Auckland electorate.

You need to poll well in Auckland to win Government. The top three MPs in Labour are all Wellington based MPs.  They also make up four of the top six.

The irony is that Little has announced this on 21 October 2015 – the official Back to the Future Day.

Because when Back o The Future screened in 1985, Annette was already an MP. The film makers chose a date so far in the future they thought the world would be massively changed (and it has with the Internet). But Labour’s going to go into the 2017 election with a deputy leader who represents the past, not the future.

I can understand why. It is beyond dispute that Annette is their most capable MP. But it is hardly a vote of confidence in the rest of caucus, that Little doesn’t have anyone else up to it.

Tags: ,

Quin on King vs Ardern

October 9th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Phil Quin writes in the Herald:

When he installed Annette King as his interim deputy, Andrew Little said he would revisit the decision around this point in his tenure. It’s a promise he would be wise to break. The advantages of a generational swap between King and Jacinda Ardern, the widely touted alternative, are fewer than they initially appear, and the risks are greater.

Annette King is not a leadership rival to Andrew Little, nor is she likely to become one. The same cannot be said of Ardern. That’s the first, and most crucial, box ticked. Unfulfilled ambition is the characteristic a leader least wants to see in a deputy.

That’s true. Having a deputy who wants your job rarely works out well.

Combined with an absence of unrealised ambition, King’s standing in caucus uniquely enables her to play hardball when called for, giving Little room to establish goodwill and build trust among colleagues.

It is hard to imagine an MP less temperamentally suited to inheriting “bad cop” duties than Jacinda Ardern. In fact, a change in deputy would demand a recalibration of responsibilities, forcing Little to take a greater role in managing (read: disciplining) caucus. He doesn’t need that: it’s not among his strengths, and it shouldn’t be his focus.

A good deputy will manage much of the caucus relations for the leader, and to a degree help manage the office also.

Ardern certainly appears to be well liked by the public, and has the backing of many inside the Labour Party, as well as a sizeable bloc of MPs, in particular those aligned with Grant Robertson with whom she ran on a joint ticket as deputy in last year’s leadership election. These are put forward as arguments in favour of promoting her, but they leave me cold.

For one thing, personal popularity is neither here nor there in a successful deputy. None of the most successful second-in-commanders of the recent era – Geoffrey Palmer, Don McKinnon or Michael Cullen – were beloved by the wider public. What they each offered were complementary skillsets, along with personal attributes, that made their leaders stronger.

This is true, but Ardern does have the ability to grow the vote for Labour if she is in a leadership role. The problem is she may over-shadow Little, but they need to lift their vote in Auckland and neither Little nor King can really do that.

It may be that Annette King wants to retire – and who could blame her after 28 years in Parliament? This would bolster the case for Jacinda Ardern without making it a slam dunk. Breakfast telly affability – undeniably useful in a senior politician – is not what Andrew Little wants in a deputy. He needs a compelling or charismatic figure far less than someone who provides the space necessary for him to become effective and popular in his own right.

I think he needs someone who can lift their party vote in Auckland.

Tags: , , , ,

Garner picks Ardern over King

September 27th, 2015 at 8:16 am by David Farrar

Duncan Garner writes at Stuff:

They need to now promote Jacinda Arden who last week appeared in the unprompted preferred PM rankings.

She should replace current deputy, Annette King.

King is strong, popular and performs, and my sources tell me there are some who want her to stay as number 2.

But Labour needs to excite the public and signal change and that’s where Ardern comes in.

As capable as King is, I don’t think they look like a party for the future with her as Deputy. If they retain her, it is almost a vote of no confidence in the rest of the caucus. However she is undeniably their best performing MP.

Tags: , ,

Will King stay on?

September 14th, 2015 at 6:20 am by David Farrar

Audrey Young writes:

With Labour MPs doing their jobs properly, and Annette King doing what good deputies do and helping to manage the caucus, Little has been left to get on with setting some strategic direction for the party.

King’s appointment was for a year only, allowing the party to settle after a bruising four-way leadership contest that Little won with union support. The sudden appearance of Jacinda Ardern as fourth in the preferred Prime Minister polls has led to speculation that she would be the logical choice to replace King in November and complement Little – young, female and from Auckland.

Being deputy, however, is not just a titular role and with King’s standing so high in the caucus and the party, she will undoubtedly be lobbied to stay on.

I understand that it is becoming more likely King will stay on as Deputy Leader, simply because there is no one else up to the job – or at least able to do it as well as her.

One Labour MP told me that the gap between Annette and all other female MPs in Labour is so huge you can hardly measure it.

The problem is that Annette entered Parliament in the 1980s. At the next election she will be a 33 year veteran of Parliament and be 70 years old. That is why she was meant to be the temporary deputy only. It will be a vote of no confidence in the rest of caucus if she carries on.

The other issue with Annette carrying on is that the top three Labour MPs are all from Wellington City, in a classic beltway capture. It’s hard to appeal to the country, if your senior leadership is all from the capital city.

Tags: ,

Is Labour trying to abolish all casual employment?

April 22nd, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Marlborough Express reports:

Nelson Marlborough District Health Board has denied employing workers under zero-hour contracts, despite listing close to 500 staff over four years in this category in parliamentary documents.

Labour health spokesperson Annette King says she has information that shows three New Zealand district health boards, including Nelson Marlborough, were employing workers under the controversial employment agreement.

The claims are made on the basis of documents provided to the health select committee, and viewed by theMarlborough Express. 

As part of its annual review for 2013-2014, NMDHB was asked how many staff the board employed under zero-hour contracts in the last financial year. 

The board response states that 86 workers were employed under this arrangement in 2014, with 89 staff employed under zero-hour contracts in 2013, 169 workers in 2012 and 155 workers on zero-hour contracts in 2011. 

First of all it is statistical nonsense to add up the numbers each year to get a total number. You can do that to things like funding, but not staff.

But when approached by the Marlborough Express, Nelson Marlborough District Health Board chief executive Chris Fleming backtracked from describing workers as “zero-hour” contract workers, saying the contracts were different to the zero-hour contracts that were in the media spotlight.

“The issue prevalent in the media recently has been zero-hour contracts where staff are required to be available to work at any time, and do not get annual leave, sick leave entitlements etc. 

“This in essence does not allow a person with this type of contract to plan anything or to accept any other work. 

“Nelson Marlborough District Health Board does not have any of these types of contracts, nor does it support this level of onerosity.”

The figures provided to the health select committee were the number of  “Permanent Part Time No Fixed Hour” contracts within the district health board, Fleming said.

This type of contract was different to a zero-hour contract because staff were entitled to annual leave, sick leave and any other benefits of their collective agreements, Fleming said. 

They were free to seek other employment and did not have to be available when requested to work

This is a key difference. I agree that contracts which give no guarantee of hours, yet require an employee to be available to work are onerous and somewhat oppressive.

But that is very different to merely having a casual employment contract where neither employer nor employee have any commitment to set hours.

King said zero-hour contracts were “unconscionable”.

“No-one should turn up to work never knowing how many hours they’re going to work next week and how they’re going to support their family.”

If Annette King is speaking on behalf of Labour, she is saying that Labour wishes to abolish casual work contracts for New Zealand. This would of course be beyond stupid. Many students have casual work contracts, and prefer it that way.

There is a genuine issue around employment contracts that require staff to be available to work, and gives no guarantee of work in return. But when you conflate them with genuinely casual employment agreements, you do a dis-service.

Labour should stop this, and clarify that they are not seeking to abolish casual work contracts for NZ.

Tags: ,

Caption Contest

May 9th, 2014 at 4:16 pm by David Farrar


From last night’s press freedom debate. Photo (c) Laura McQuillan

Captions below. As always funny, not nasty.

Tags: , ,

Food stupidity from Labour

April 12th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Patients could be fed week-old food under Government plans for hospitals, leaked documents have revealed.

A report obtained by TV3 News yesterday showed food would be made in two hubs, in Christchurch and Auckland, and then transported to hospitals across the country, saving $10 million.

Some of the food could be chilled for up to a week before being served. …

Labour Health spokeswoman Annette King said the move was ‘‘a shocker’’.

‘‘I’m trying to imagine what a silver beet looks like after six and half days in the chiller,’’ she said.

‘‘It can’t be good for patients to be fed food cooked and chilled for up to seven days.’’

A Health spokesperson should be more responsible that suggesting chilled food is unsafe.

Millions of NZers eat food that has been chilled and then reheated.

It really is pathetic, this type of mindless opposition.

Tags: ,

Complaining over competent political management

April 8th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports Annette King:

The Ministry of Health process for handling Official Information Act requests has been called “laundering” after different ways of treating requests from the public, media and politicians were revealed. …

The Herald sought the ministry process showing warnings for officials about releasing “politically sensitive or controversial” details to the public. It has six possible checks for releasing information before it was sent to Mr Ryall’s office, where the minister and staff were given five days to review it.

When people from Parliament sought information, the number of steps increased to eight, and to nine when the OIA request came from media. …

Opposition health spokeswoman Annette King has labelled the scheme an “OIA laundering process” designed to keep information from the public.

Oh this is silly, Keeping the Minister’s office in the loop when Opposition MPs or media file OIA requests is a no brainer. There is a world of difference between an OIA request from Mrs Smith-Jones wanting to know how much something about her local hospital and from say the Opposition Spokesperson asking for a copy of a briefing paper to the Minister.

What matters is not the process,, but the outcomes. Does keeping the Minister in the loop mean the Ministry of Health is not meeting the 20 day deadline for responding?

No Right Turn compiled OIA stats in 2012, and 85% of Ryall’s OIA responses are done within 20 days, with an average of 16.5 days. Now this is for OIAs to him, not the Department, but it suggests a good compliance regime.

If Annette wants to score some points against Ryall, she needs to do far better than complaining about internal processes which are simply competent political management.

What I’d be interested in is what the compliance rate is for the Ministry of Health in terms of the 20 day deadline, and how often do they decline information and get over-ruled by the Ombudsman? That *might* help her to make a case, but this silly story just highlights how competent Tony Ryall is.


Tags: , ,

A Standard strategy

February 5th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

I was fascinated to see Annette King commenting on The Standard several times, in different threads. In one comment she said:

I hope more colleagues engage on the Standard, a must read for me. Constructive comment and exchange of ideas would be of two way benefit.

This is quite remarkable considering David Shearer has said how he never reads the blogs, and his caucus and office have tried to poo-poo any influence they have.

I joked on Twitter:

The really impt vote in caucus was to select who would be sacrificial MP to post on The Standard. Annette got short straw :-)

But I think there is substance behind the joke. Smart people in Labour know they can not afford to have the most read blog on the left remain a cesspit of anti-Shearer hatred. So they obviously decided on a strategy of waiting until Shearer wins the leadership vote and then do two things.

  1. Have Labour-friendly authors post how it is time for people to accept the leadership is settled, and that it is time to focus on defeating National
  2. Send caucus members into The Standard to make them feel less alienated and constructively engaged

It’s a pretty smart strategy. I could guess who came up with it. It won’t be a silver bullet as the depth of ill-well runs very deep. It isn’t just against Shearer, but also Mallard, Curran and more generally the old guard (which makes the choice of Annette to engage with them a very smart one). But I do think it will work in reducing the level of hostility and bile.

Tags: ,

Next Welington Mayor

October 17th, 2012 at 7:53 am by David Farrar

Katie Chapman at Stuff reports:

A year out  from the next local body election, it’s already a hot political talking point: who will face off in the race to be Wellington’s mayor?

Incumbent Celia Wade-Brown is definitely standing again, and the names doing the rounds of those likely to oppose her include Fran Wilde, Annette King, and councillors Paul Eagle, Jo Coughlan and Justin Lester.

Annette and Fran are the two heavyweight contenders, both with significant profile, and both being former Labour MPs. I suspect one of them will stand, but probably not both.

Paul Eagle is more likely to seek Annette’s Rongotai seat in a by-election, if she stands – despite what he says. He will not stand against Annette if she stands.

Jo Coughlan has been an excellent Councillor, with her main focus being on economic growth and jobs. Lester is too new to rate, but seems sound so far.

Tags: , ,

Labour on housing

July 16th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

John Hartevelt at Stuff reports:

Labour is urging a “hard look” at the accommodation supplement, amid claims landlords are pocketing a $1.2b “subsidy” despite providing substandard housing.

Housing spokeswoman Annette King said the Salvation Army had warned in the 1990s that the supplement to support low-income people would turn in to a subsidy for landlords – and that had happened.

Where is the proof for this claim that it has turned into a subsidy for landlords? Is Annette King saying that landlords are charging more to someone who is eligible for the accommodation supplement?

“It is a major subsidy for landlords but it hasn’t produced better housing or more access to housing or an ability for people to buy housing,” Ms King said.

It is not a subsidy for landlords. It is a subsidy for low income tenants who are renting.

“If we just let it keep growing year after year as more and more people struggle to pay rent, then we are doing nothing in terms of changing the ability to house people and it’s time that we had a highly focused look at how do you turn that into something that is a whole lot better.”

The supplement is paid in addition to other welfare payments at varying rates, depending on circumstances. It is meant to help cover rent, board or home ownership costs.

In 2007, the Government paid $877m through the supplement, but it is expected to top $1.2b this year.

If Labour is proposing abolishing the accommodation supplement, then they should say so. You could divert the $1.2b a year into new state homes through Housing NZ, which are then provided at 25% of people’s incomes. I suspect this is what they want to do.

The problem with this though is those low income families who get into a Housing NZ home get massive state support, while those low income families who do not get into a Housing NZ home would get zero, nil, nothing.

Ms King said the supplement supported people in rental accommodation but a lot of the houses were “incredibly poor quality”.

“Some of it is absolutely appalling housing and landlords take whatever the accommodation supplement is and add it to their rent,” she said.

Again, proof? Labour are smearing tens of thousands of landlords with this allegation.

“I think we need to take a hard look at how we could turn some of that accommodation supplement into providing affordable, decent, warm housing and how we could turn some of it into people being able to own their own housing.”

She did not know exactly how that might work but said it should be discussed.

So Labour actually has no alternative. They just wanted to smear evil landlords.

Tags: ,

The four members’ bills

June 29th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

My column in the Herald (now published Thursdays) was on the members’ bill ballot. This was timed with four bills being drawn from the ballot. They are:

50 Overseas Investment (Restriction on Foreign Ownership of Land) Amendment Bill Dr Russel Norman
24 Habeas Corpus Amendment Bill Chris Auchinvole
35 Local Government (Salary Moderation) Amendment Bill Hon Annette King
52 Prohibition of Gang Insignia in Government Premises Bill Todd McClay

Dr Norman’s bill would ban foreign ownership of “sensitive land”. This is any non-urban land greater than 0.05 square kilometers!

Chris Auchinvole’s bill implements some recommendations from the Law Commission on  habeas corpus applications. Mainly seems to be giving Judges slightly more discretion in dealing with them.

Annette King’s would require the State Services Commissioner to approve local authority CEO remuneration packages, as they do for government departments. Technically a bit of a breach of the independence of local bodies, but worth supporting at least for first reading as may be a useful tool for keeping relativity between central and local government.

Todd McClay’s would ban gang insignia being displayed within government (central and local) premises.

Tags: , , , ,

Dalziel rules out Mayoralty

May 12th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Press reports:

“I want to be the minister, not the mayor.”

With that sentence, Christchurch East Labour MP Lianne Dalziel wants to lay to rest one of the city’s most persistent rumours since the February 2011 earthquake.

Dalziel, Labour’s earthquake recovery spokeswoman, said there were several reasons why she was not interested in standing for the mayoralty late next year.

One was that she had Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee’s job in her sights if Labour was able to govern after the 2014 general election.

This seems to be confirmation that Dalziel will stand for a 9th term as an MP. This doesn’t help Labour with their rejuvenation, but if they do get to win Government it would be appropriate for Dalziel to become the CERA Minister as it would be karma. I think she would discover how incredibly difficult it is to do the job and please everyone. It is very easy to scratch every itch, and far more difficult to actually make the hard decisions.

Of course by 2014, most of the hard decisions will have been made.

In Wellington however, it is looking more likely Annette King will stand for Mayor, as she has now said she is actively considering it.

This opens up a Rongotai by-election in 2013, if so. If Labour loses the seat to the Greens it will be a big blow to them.

Tags: ,

Paul Buchanan on King’s claims

March 26th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Paul Buchanan blogs at Kiwipolitico:

Former Police Minister Annette King says that she and her cabinet colleagues were not informed about Operation 8 until the night before the dawn raids. …

Annette King expects us to believe that she, as Police Minister, had no clue about a police operation that was going to invoke the TSA for the first time, not against foreign terrorists but against a collection of well-known domestic dissidents with long histories with the Police. She expects us to believe that Helen Clark, the micromanaging, all-knowing Prime Minister and Minister for Intelligence and Security, had no clue about Operation 8 even though the TSA was used to justify the electronic surveillance of the suspects a year before the raids, that SIS assets were used to that end, and that the raids would be carried out on Tuhoe land as well as in cities (a delicate political issue, to say the least). 

Paul raises some interesting points. Maybe they were only told that the exact operation was occurring the next day, but I suspect some Ministers would have known of the overall investigation for much longer than that.

She wants us to believe that then-Police Commissioner Howard Broad, well known for his ties to the the Prime Minister, did not utter a word about who was targeted and why until less than 12 hours before the cops rolled.

She would like us to believe that with the possible exception of the PM, no one in the 5th Labour government was aware of Operation 8 until October 14, 2007. This, even though multiple agencies were involved and the lead-up  to the raids was over a year in the making.

Yeah Right.

King’s interview has raised more questions than it has answered.

Tags: , ,

King for Wellington?

December 14th, 2011 at 9:30 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Her parliamentary ambitions are over, but Annette King may now turn her thoughts to the Wellington mayoralty.

Mrs King scotched suggestions last year that she would run for mayor, when Celia Wade-Brown narrowly defeated Kerry Prendergast, but is not ruling out standing in 2013.

If Annette runs, I can’t imagine she would lose. Would be fascinating to have a Labour MP challenge an incumbent Green Mayor.

Tags: ,

A Ministry for children?

June 20th, 2011 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Annette King proposed on 21 May that NZ should set up a Ministry of or for Children. However she is not the first MP to propose this.  She got beaten to it by 23 years by Ross Meurant. In a high profile column in Truth, Ross Meurant said he did not want to be Prime Minister or Police Minister, but wanted to be Minister of Children’s Affairs.

Now just because Meurant first proposed it, doesn’t mean it is a bad idea. Mind you statistically there could well be a correlation!

But what happened to his idea back in 1988. Did anyone oppose a Ministry for Children? Yes a Government Minister did.

Which Minister – well Annette King by coincidence.

Hansard records Meurant responding to Annette King:

“A while ago, when I floated the concept of a children’s ministry, I recall that the member … castigated me,”

In his book Beat to the Beehive, Meurant also noted that Annette King had ridiculed him for his proposal.

So Labour’s big new policy idea, is one taken from Ross Meurant 23 years, which was ridiculed by their spokesperson at the time. Can’t wait for their next policy – I guess it will be something else they have ridiculed in the past like bringing in certain food exemptions for GST – oh wait ….

Tags: ,

King v Farrar

June 14th, 2011 at 3:30 pm by David Farrar

Am very amused by this story on Stuff:

In the spotlight over whether the taxpayer has funded Labour’s party activities, deputy leader Annette King has taken a pot shot at right-wing Stuff blogger David Farrar. …

King said Labour was very careful about what its staff did during paid time at Parliament.

”We have looked at it and we have made sure they are doing what is appropriate for them to do.”

Other parties should also check their staff, she said.

”Because I have no doubt that in the past someone like David Farrar setting up his blog, a lot of it was done within Parliament.

”I’m not accusing him of using Parliamentary time but every party has to be careful of what they do in their own time, in their own equipment and in Parliamentary equipment.”

Farrar admits he was working at Parliament when he set up the blog in 2003, and over the nine months he spent working in the National Party’s leader’s office he occasionally blogged from Parliament.

”But the blog was hosted on the NZ Pundit server in Dunedin. No Parliamentary resources were used.

”I worked an 80 hour week, they were getting free time from me, so the taxpayer didn’t pay for my time.”

I literally laughed out loud when I heard Annette was talking about eight years ago in 2003. And as I told Danya, my blog was never hosted on servers paid for by Parliament. Gordon King from NZ Pundit hosted it back then.

I definitely did blog from Parliament during the nine months cross-over with working there, but did this openly and under my own name. I actually think parliamentary staff should be encouraged to blog – so long as they do it openly like with Frog Blog.

But with me, it was very much as an individual. I did not seek permision from, or even inform in advance, any MP or staffer that I was starting a blog. For me it was just continuing on the debates I had been having in Usenet since 1996.

Tags: , ,

A Ministry for Children

May 22nd, 2011 at 9:14 am by David Farrar

Annette King said:

After the 2011 Election, a Labour-led Government will have a Minister for children.

It still astounds me that in New Zealand we have a Minister for Race horses; a Minister for the Rugby World Cup; a Minister for Senior Citizens but no Minister for the most vulnerable in our community, our Kids.

Labour will establish a Ministry for Children. Its job will be to make sure children are a priority, not just in theory, but in practice.

If the lack of a Minister for Children amazes Annette, why didn’t she call for one sometime in the last 30 years she has been an MP? How about when she was Minister of Youth Affairs in 1989?

And I agree it is silly we have a Minister for race horses. But I was not a member of the Cabinet which massively increased funding for race horses, against official advice, to placate Winston – whose major secret funders happen to all own race horses.

Heather Roy notes:

“New Zealand already has a small army of Ministers and departments to deal with child welfare; the Ministry of Social Development, the Children’s Commissioner, the Families Commission and the Ministry of Youth Development, and yet too many of our vulnerable children are still subject to terrible abuse and poverty.

I have no doubt that Annette is absolutely sincere in wanting to reduce child abuse and the like. But I am very cynical about the notion that another Ministry is the answer.

Tags: ,

Goff to strengthen leadership further

April 1st, 2011 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Phil Goff announced on Tuesday that his handling of the Hughes affair had in fact strengthened his leadership. In a bid to close the 20+ point gap with National, in the polls, the front bench signed off a series of further initiatives to strengthen his leadership and public appeal.

  • Trevor Mallard to be arrested for the Crewe murders and Phil Goff to reveal he planted the bullet that framed Arthur Allan Thomas
  • Clare Curran to be exposed as also having had a paper run in Andersons Bay, and that on the day of the Bain murders she delivered David’s papers for him. Goff to reveal he supressed this information from the public, to protect the innocent Bain
  • Annette King to confess she ran an illegal brothel in her office,while Minister of Health. Evidence to be produced that four of her staff married MPs, for which King got a commission on each marriage. Goff was in on the scam as the marriage celebrant
Tags: , , , , , ,

Small on Labour

March 29th, 2011 at 2:02 pm by David Farrar

Vernon Small also provides advice for Labour:

Phil Goff’s leadership may not be on the line today at the shadow cabinet meeting in Dunedin, but no change is no longer an option.

That’s also a big call.

Looking again at the wider leadership team including Annette King and David Cunliffe and making a change there may be the answer.

Helen Clark did it in 1996 to shore up her leadership.

At the time her rivals did not have the numbers to roll her, but she recognised the concern in the party at its poor poll rating and knew she needed to act.

The result was her deputy and finance spokesman David Caygill hit the cutting room floor in favour of Michael Cullen, creating the leadership team that was so effective for Labour during nine years in office.

Politically that might work, even though it would be quite unfair. Goff is the one who has ballsed up so badly, and I don’t think King has done anything much wrong – we don’t know what she advised Goff. And the fact the incident happened at her house is not a reflection on her. There’s nothing wrong with having a colleague stay with you – in fact probably saves the taxpayer money.

But Annette is very loyal to Labour, and it is possible she could walk, to save Goff.

There is clearly a split between Goff and the party or at least president Andrew Little over the handling of the issue and the lack of communication. It goes deeper than the papering over of the cracks that occurred late on Sunday when the two finally talked about the issue.

Labour is in full fund-raising mode, made difficult by the current controversy. Its activists on websites and blogs are openly questioning the party’s direction and Mr Goff’s judgment. Its union backers and foot soldiers need to be motivated but are in danger of being demoralised.

Business as usual is simply not an option.

Meanwhile in a seperate galaxy, located well beyond the Andromeda Galaxy, Stuff reports that “Phil Goff has said the Darren Hughes affair has ‘strengthened’ his leadership”

You can’t make shit this good up.

Image courtesy of Iidiot/Savant.

Tags: , , , ,

Press Freedom Debate

May 3rd, 2010 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

To mark Press Freedom Day, there is a debate tonight (7 pm) at the Backbencher on the moot “That politicians pay the price of a free press”.

The cost is $25, which includes finger food. Proceeds go to the Asia-Pacific Solidarity and Safety Fund which basically provides welfare to the families of journalists killed doing their job.

The debaters are:


  1. Annette King
  2. Darren Hughes
  3. Simon Bridges


  1. Tom Scott
  2. Jane Clifton
  3. Barry Soper

They are all very amusing speakers, so should be a fun evening.

You can pay at the door, but if you do plan to go, it is useful to e-mail Brent Edwards so they can cater for the right numbers.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Little for New Plymouth?

March 15th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Taranaki Daily News reports:

Labour Party top-dog Andrew Little could step forward for a tilt at the New Plymouth electorate seat in next year’s national elections.

Mr Little, the party’s president and touted by many as a future Labour leader and prime minister, has refused to rule out the possibility.

“It’s certainly no secret I want to get into Parliament next year,” he told the Taranaki Daily News yesterday.

“As to how I do that, or where, I’ve made no decisions.”

He said he hopes to have made a decision within the next two or three months and wouldn’t rule out running in New Plymouth.

This is no surprise. The fact that Labour did not open nominations for New Plymouth at the same time as the other seats they lost, was obviously to keep options open for their President.

Andrew can of course just place himself at No 3 on the list, and be assured of entering Parliament that way. However a seat is almost a pre-requisite to becoming leader.

The city electorate is often viewed as a swing seat come election time and in 2008 National candidate Jonathan Young squeaked in past Labour’s 15-year encumbent MP Harry Duynhoven, with the tightest margin in the country – just 105 votes.

Mr Little has strong personal and family links to New Plymouth, having grown up here.

It was a very tight contest between Young and Duynhoven, but that is not the same thing as being a marginal seat between National and Labour.

While the electorate vote margin was only 0.2%, the party vote margin was a whopping 19.1%. Now nationwide the party vote margin was 11%, so 19% is a huge amount.

Harry Duynhoven had 13% of National voters, voting for him as the candidate. Will Andrew Little attract 13% of National voters?

It is a difficult decision for Andrew. His four main options are:

  1. Stand for Rongotai, with Annette King going list only, allowing Annette to retire easily if Labour lose in 2011.
  2. Stand for Hutt South if Trevor decides to retire in 2011 to become a full time blogger
  3. Stand for New Plymouth.
  4. Stand list only

No 1 is what I would go for if I was Andrew. There are rumours that Darren Hughes may seek that nomination though, and Annette is very good mates with Darren and would probably support him. It is also possible Annette will want to keep her seat, as many would see her going lost only as an indication she is not confident they will win the election.

No 2 depends on whether and when Trevor makes a judgement call that Labour are unlikely to win in 2011. He has said he doesn’t want another term of opposition. But I think Trevor still thinks the Government is on the verge of collapsing and is looking pretty comfortable where he is.

No 3 is Andrew’s for the taking. But the big negative is that he may lose, and lose big – which would not help him with his leadership aspirations.

No 4 is the default fall back option. As President, he would receive a massively high rating. But no one has yet become Prime Minister without not just a seat, but in fact a safe seat,

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Bill having fun

July 24th, 2009 at 10:16 am by David Farrar

I suspect Bill English enjoyed yesterday. It is always a bad sign for an Opposition when Governments are looking forward to question time and complaining it is only three days a week. From Hansard:

Hon BILL ENGLISH: The Prime Minister has a great deal more confidence in the Minister than a certain Charles Chauvel had in a former Minister when, as president of the Labour Youth Council in 1988, he told the then employment Minister, Phil Goff, to “take action or resign”. Charles Chauvel is probably feeling the same way today.

Some Researcher or staffer earned his pay yesterday.

Chris Tremain: Has the Prime Minister seen any reports of an employment Minister dealing with rising unemployment during a recession?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: Yes, he has seen a report that states: “It takes more than hot air, more than rhetoric, and more than using the backs of unemployed people to make political points. … I despair at the gamesmanship of politicians trying to get votes from the problem of unemployment”. That was said by Annette King in this House.

This is the problem you have when both the Leader and Deputy Leader were Ministers in not just the last Government, but also the one a decade before that.

Moana Mackey: How can the Prime Minister have confidence in a Minister responsible for cutting the training incentive allowance, and does he agree with Christine of Gisborne, a solo mother of four who now cannot do the nursing qualification that would enable her to move off the domestic purposes benefit and into paid work, when she says: “The Government has been sitting there telling us to upskill, get into jobs, not run up debt, to ride out the recession, and then they go and take away the assistance that some people need to enable this to happen.”?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: What we have learnt from the activities of the Labour Party over the last month is that we have to be pretty careful about believing whether Christine of Gisborne even exists, and also whether she is on the domestic purposes benefit, whether she owns three investment houses, and whether all the information she has given to the Labour Party about her situation has been truthfully represented here.

Once bitten, twice shy. Everyone is going to be very wary of any “example” put forward by Labour.

Tags: , , , , ,

The Folic Acid controversy

July 13th, 2009 at 9:29 am by David Farrar

Kate Wilkinson got a pretty tough grilling on Q&A yesterday as she was in the unenvious position of saying she thinks the compulsory medicating of bread with folic acid was wrong, yet she would not or could not stop it occurring due to our treaty with Australia – the best being offered is a review in October.

It is true that it is much easier to decide not to do something, than it is to pull out of a decision after it had been made by a previous Government – especially when it deos involve a treaty with a friendly Government. But the transcript shows the difficulty of trying to say we think this is a bad decision, but can’t stop it:

KATE The science is actually light on it.  I agree with what the Irish are doing, I’d have to say I agree with what they’re doing.

PAUL Well then do it.

KATE That’s why I’m doing it – the first opportunity I’m taking it and asking for a review.

PAUL I’m sorry you’re gonna put folic acid which may give me prostate cancer again, into my staple food, the bread, and then you’re gonna&

SUE And then review it.

PAUL And then review it, so you could be threatening the health of this nation.


KATE If you drill down into those studies though you’ll find that they’re not that qualitative or quantitative and it is a bit light.  Now if we can get a review through the Ministerial Council it’ll be done in three months.

PAUL Oh so we have three months of possible poisoning.

Holmes was very worked up on this issue.

PAUL Forgive me Minister, I read yesterday in researching this that is some link between excessive folic acid and prostate cancer.

SUE That is right.

PAUL And you are gonna put that in my bread?

SUE But Paul it’s the stupidity of this, that the Minister accepts there are these health risks.

KATE Yes she does.

SUE But she’s saying we have to do it so we’re eating up for Australia, we’re going to be forced because of some trade relationship with Australia, surely we should put – public health issues should be paramount, not some diplomatic relationship.

Never good when you let Sue Kedgley answer on your behalf

Worth remembering this, from NZPA:

Former Food Safety Minister Annette King said when the decision was made that it was “a triumph for humanity and common sense”.

I think this may become a bigger and bigger issue as September gets closer. If I was in Government I would be looking very hard at how to get a decision on this before the scheduled meeting in Australia. Surely one can get the agreement of the Australian Ministers by e-mail or something to allow New Zealand to suspend implementing the folic bread addition due to health concerns.

Tags: , , , ,