The Regulations Review Committee

March 5th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Most select committees of Parliament have limited power. They have an important role but hey report back to the House or the Executive, which tends to make the final decisions.

But one committee is different – the Regulations Review Committee. This committee has been given some special powers. It tends to be non-partisan and chaired by an Opposition MP (Maryan Street currently).

The Regulations (Disallowance) Act 1989 has a s6(1):

If, at the expiration of the 21st sitting day after the giving in the House of Representatives of notice of a motion to disallow any regulations or any provisions of any regulations (being a notice of motion given by a member of Parliament who, at the time of the giving of the notice, is a member of the Committee of the House of Representatives responsible for the review of regulations),—

(a)the notice has not been withdrawn and the motion has not been moved; or

(b)the motion has been called on and moved and has not been withdrawn or otherwise disposed of,—

the regulations or provisions specified for disallowance in the motion shall thereupon be deemed to have been disallowed

What this means is that rather than requiring the House to debate and vote on disallowing a regulation, the disallowance is automatic if moved by a members of the Regulations Review Committee unless the Government agrees to debate and vote on the motion to disallow within 20 sitting days.

This happened for the first time on the 27th of February. The regulations partially disallowed were the Road User Charges (Transitional Matters) Regulations 2012 as they were found to “make some unusual or unexpected use of the powers conferred by the statute under which they are made and that they contain matter more appropriate for parliamentary enactment”.

Charles Chauvel was the MP who placed the motion on the order paper, and got them disallowed. This would have been with the support of the Regulations Review Committee. Presumably it also had the tacit support of the Government.

I suspect in the past the Government itself has merely amended regulations when the Regulations Review Committee has recommended they do so. It is a first to use the automatic disallowance process.

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The Chauvel valedictory

February 27th, 2013 at 9:36 pm by David Farrar

A rather extraordinary valedictory speech by Charles Chauvel which makes clear how fragmented and divided Labour is.

Before we get to that, also amused by this statement:

Journalists working in much of our undercapitalised, foreign-owned media are under constant professional pressure. This comes from many quarters, including the constant need to sell newspapers and air time, and also the need to compete with instantly available online sources. In the case of the two better-known right wing blogs, those online sources are proxies for the present Government, and much copy is supplied to them directly out of Ministers’ offices at the taxpayer’s expense.

I tweeted in response that having Charles accuse people of planting information with the media is akin to Jim Jones warning people against drinking the kool-aid!

Some on the left always have these conspiracy theories about supplied copy. If only it was true. I recall once I did a comprehensive rebuttal of a Labour press release 60 minutes after it came out with links to all sorts of official sources. A blogger said I must have had the info supplied to me, and I facebooked my browser log for the last hour which showed my Google searches and references.

I am the only person who writes copy for Kiwiblog, unless I indicate it is a guest post.

I blogged at the end of last year links to several dozen blog posts where I criticized or disagreed with the Government.

Anyway enough with Charles’ conspiracy theories and accusations under parliamentary privilege. Let’s look at what he said about Labour:

Secondly, it is unproductive to keep trying to locate and exclude the supposed enemy within.

The enemy within! What a phrase. I suspect that Charles is someone that his colleagues have used that phrase about!

Instead, in order to avoid history repeating, it is time for an honest, open, and overdue assessment of why the 2011 campaign produced Labour’s worst ever electoral result. Those responsible for it should make dignified exits

That is a stunningly provocative statement for a valedictory. The four MPs he must be alluding to are then Leader Phil Goff, then Deputy Annette King, campaign manager Trevor Mallard and campaign strategist/spokesperson Grant Robertson.

You expect a statement like that at The Standard, not in an MPs valedictory speech. No love lost there!

and all the undoubted talent and diversity of the caucus should be included in the shadow Cabinet.

A plea to stop excluding Cunliffe and the Cunliffe faction.

To put it another way, in Gough Whitlam’s immortal words, the party must have both its wings to fly.

Remember that when next a Labour MP tries to tell you the caucus is not divided, and there are no factions!

I can’t recall a previous valedictory speech which so obviously ripped open the factional feuding, and called for four senior MPs to leave Caucus.

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The art of self-promotion

February 25th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Gaynz.com has an article on the achievements of Charles Chauvel. A number of people have suggested to me that the list is so detailed that it must have been written by Charles himself. Some extracts:

February 2013: Parliament unanimously supported his resolution to condemn proposed homophobic legislation in Uganda in Nigeria, after National had earlier blocked his attempt due to, well, politics.

Oh what an achievement. He managed to get Parliament to spend 10 seconds allowing him to read out a motion. And it failed the first time not due to politics, but because he failed to let the whips know that he intended to seek leave. The way the article is written is why it looks like Charles compiled it himself.

August 2012: Ruffled conservative feathers when he asked anti-abortion group Right to Life to send him its rules, so he could see whether it actually has a mandate to comment on the issue of marriage equality.

Asked a group for a copy of its rules? That seriously counts as an achievement?

A similar passion for rivial detail can be seen in Chauvel’s Wikipedia article. Despite never being a Minister, his Wikipedia page is more detailed than 99% of MPs, including his own leader. It includes details which are not generally publicly known such as how his grandparents moved from Scotland and started a dance company!!! It has numerous direct quotes from him, includes details such as how he once wrote a guest post for No Right Turn, and even lists four SOPs he wrote on a climate change bill. It’s the sort of detail you expect on Obama’s Wikipedia page, not a fairly obscure List MP. Oh the page also has the in depth analysis of a bill he wrote, which was never even drawn in his name.

Now of course it is all possible that in both cases these incredibly detailed lists of achievements have nothing to do with Charles.

But I do recall how in 2011 he was found out writing letters to the editor praising his efforts as an MP, and asking friendly lawyers to send them in under his name.

Incidentally it was people in Labour who pointed out to me some time ago the obviously self-authored Wikipedia page. His self-promotion efforts are the stories of legend by various Labour people.

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Chauvel resigns from Parliament

February 19th, 2013 at 12:07 pm by David Farrar

Charles Chauvel has announced:

Labour MP Charles Chauvel has today announced his resignation from Parliament.

“I have written to the Speaker, resigning my seat effective Monday 11 March.”

Charles Chauvel said that he had accepted a position with the United Nations in New York, advising on Parliamentary Development and Democratic Governance. 

Good God, is there any limit to how many jobs Helen can arrange for Labour MPs?

While Chauvel was not in favour with Shearer, it is still not a promising sign for Labour that an MP who is in the shadow Cabinet bails out of Parliament for a job. It indicates a lack of confidence he will become a Minister after the election.

Chauvel entered Parliament in 2006 and was always thought likely to become a Minister. He would have been appointed one if Labour had won in 2008.

This means that Carol Beaumont will be eligible to return to Parliament as a List MP. That is great for the union faction, but not so good for renewal.

Regardless of politics, I wish Charles well in his new job.

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No Wrong Turn

January 30th, 2013 at 4:31 pm by David Farrar

Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn blogged:

At the moment several African governments are progressing virulently homophobic legislation. There’s Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill, which would impose the death penalty for homosexuality and require reporting of homosexuals to the government. And in Nigeria there’s similar, though less brutal, legislation, which would (among other things) outlaw LGBT support groups.

Today Labour’s Charles Chauvel tried to move a motion expressing Parliament’s condemnation of this bigotry:

National vetoed it. 

I think this tells us exactly where National stands on gay rights. They’ll send John Key along to the Big Gay Out, but at their core they’re simply bigots, no different from Family First or the Sensible Sentencing Trust.

Idiot/Savant goes feral and sanctimonious so often, I’m not even surprised anymore. I doubt anyone takes his denunciations too seriously but in case they do, I thought I’d point out how Parliament operates.

A motion by a individual MP is basically never scheduled for debate or voting on. To have an MP’s motion considered, you need to seek permission of the House, and it takes just one individual MP to object to leave being granted. So if you want your motion voted on, then there is a process in place to ascertain in advance that the Government is happy for it to be put (so long as without debate). Basically you discuss it with your party’s whips, they discuss it with the Government whips, and they check with the Leader of the House. This process is widely known and is there precisely so opposition MPs can get non-controversial motions considered. The Government has actually been very accommodating of the rights of the minority through things such as negotiating extended sittings rather than forcing urgency on the House.

Now if we look at the draft Hansard for today, it says:

Su’a WILLIAM SIO (Labour—Māngere): I seek leave of the House to move a motion without notice and without debate about Cyclone Evan.

Mr SPEAKER: Is there any objection to that course of action being followed? There is none.

Su’a WILLIAM SIO: I move, That this House express its acknowledgment and support to the peoples and Governments of Samoa and Fiji after Cyclone Evan wreaked havoc on these islands just before Christmas last year, and in particular convey its condolences and sympathies to Samoa’s head of State, His Highness Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi, Prime Minister the Hon Tuila’epa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, members of Samoa’s legislative assembly, and the people of Samoa for the loss of five lives, and to the families of the 10 people still missing when floodwaters drove through settlements in the Apia township, dragging people, homes, vehicles, and personal property out to sea and destroying power, water, and other infrastructure, including food crops, and note that for many families it is the first-time experience of losing literally everything, and acknowledge the resilient response of families, people’s organisations, and Governments in both the islands and in New Zealand to aid families and friends in need.

Motion agreed to.

[Continuation line: Chauvel motion]

POINTS OF ORDER

Motion Without Notice—

CHARLES CHAUVEL (Labour): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I seek leave to move members’ motion No. 4 in my name, without debate.

POINTS OF ORDER

Motion Without Notice—

 Mr SPEAKER: Is there any objection to that course of action being followed? There is objection.

So Sio had no one object to his motion, but Chauvel did have an objection. Why? It’s simple. Sio followed the process and did his homework by letting the whips know in advance. Chauvel did not. If Chauvel had done the courtesy of letting the whips know in advance he was going to seek leave, then almost certainly he would have got it I suspect. So I/S should direct his rant towards MPs who grandstand rather than follow the process.

People may not be aware but if an MP seeks leave, the whips have only around two seconds to object. You don’t have time to read the motion and decide after a minute’s contemplation. This is why it is well known amongst MPs that you inform the whips in advance of your desire to put it to a vote, and the whips check with the Leader of the House.

I find it appalling that I/S uses the failure of an Opposition MP to follow the process, to label the Government as bigots. It’s pathetic.

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Labour supports league tables

December 7th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Isaac Davison at NZ Herald reports:

Taxpayer-funded prisons should be ranked in league tables so the performance of private and public prisons can be accurately compared, the Labour Party says.

I agree. If only Labour could be consistent on league tables.

Justice spokesman Charles Chauvel said it was difficult to understand how well private prison operator Serco was performing in its management of Mt Eden Correctional Facility because it was not known how it measured up against public prisons.

He felt the public needed a better measure of the company’s achievements, especially given the cost of the Government’s contract with Serco – $300 million over six years.

The Department of Corrections published the overall performance of its 19 prisons, but did not divide up the results by facility. Serco’s report cards were released every three months.

Mr Chauvel’s comments came after Corrections deputy chief executive Christine Stevenson revealed Serco had vastly improved its performance at the 966-bed Mt Eden prison in 2012.

She said the British-based Serco had a “tough” first year in charge of the facility, failing nearly half of its targets. But it had turned itself around in its second year and was meeting 95 per cent of its targets.

Excellent. It is good to see a prison operator have clear targets to meet, be reported against, and be held accountable for.

Mr Chauvel said this claim was hard to evaluate without knowing the percentage of targets that taxpayer-funded prisons were passing.

Ms Stevenson confirmed the department was collecting performance measures for individual prisons and would publish report cards next year.

Good – the comparison will be interesting.

But she warned the information could present a misleading picture.

“It’s quite a tricky thing to do. Our prisons … are all a bit different. You have Rolleston Prison, which is low-security, doesn’t have a fence, through to Auckland [Prison], which is maximum security.”

Which is not a reason to not have the individual data, but to possibly have categories within the table

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Law Society slaughters Lobbying Bill and Chauvel SOP

October 12th, 2012 at 1:25 pm by David Farrar

The Law Society has published its submission on Holly Walker’s Lobbying Disclosure Bill and the SOP by Charles Chauvel. They almost brutally dissect both of them. Their summary is:

  • There is likely to be a drop in participation in the political process
  • The Supplementary Order Paper (SOP)1 tries to separate “organisations” in a way that is unprincipled and illogical
  • The SOP exemptions for “constituents” do not recognise MMP, and contain other illogicalities
  • There is no demonstrated justification for the erosion of the internationally recognised doctrine of legal privilege
  • International reports and codes indicate this is a highly complex area not amenable to legislation by slogan

Legislation by slogan is a term that may catch on for it.

They give an example of how wide the bill is:

It also has to be recognised that lobbying can be entirely altruistic, for example, fireworks safety or youth suicide advocates. Some may be paid directly to lobby, others may do so as part of wider paid employment, and some may do so without payment. In some cases it may be difficult to tell. Clause 6(2) of the Bill is probably so broad that it would catch a Professor of Mental Health who lobbied on a matter such as the application of funding for youth suicide prevention.

They state:

Unfortunately, the Bill is little more than ‘legislation by slogan’. It is unsupported by any cost-benefit analysis or effective linking of the solution to the alleged problem, and lacks rigour in its drafting. The Supplementary Order Paper that is before the Committee makes the Bill worse on all three counts

And this is the SOP from the Shadow Attorney-General. They specifically say:

The Supplementary Order Paper put forward by Mr Charles Chauvel does not improve the Bill. The SOP proposes three main changes to the Bill. …  Two of the amendments are palpably wrong, and the third may be an improvement but needs analysis and context.

And on the exemption for MPs talking to their constituents:

The term “constituent” is not used in the Electoral Act 1993.

It can be taken to mean something other than “individual”. It may mean “any elector”, but that
could be too broad. It also seems odd to exclude persons who are too young to vote, or those who are otherwise not (yet) qualified (for example, refugees). Presumably “constituent” cannot include firms or organisations, but what about their office holders? 

If it means “elector in relation to the electorate of the Member” then very capricious outcomes are possible. To take Mr Chauvel’s own position, he is a list MP. So, an elector in Ohariu could lobby the Honourable Peter Dunne as the electorate MP but could not lobby Mr Chauvel, even if they would prefer to deal with Mr Chauvel.

Now that is an own goal.

Their recommendation:

The Law Society strongly recommends that the Law Commission be given the opportunity to provide a comprehensive analysis of the appropriateness of lobbying disclosure regulation and the serious issues it poses, before any legislation is progressed in New Zealand.

Their clause by clause analysis is also worth a read:

Clause 6 requires individuals to register before engaging in lobbying activity. This is a strict liability offence (cl 19(2)), so those who lobby without realising that their activity is lobbying will be criminalised.

And the Greens claim to be a party that supports free speech! They were the only party to vote against repealing the odious Electoral Finance Act also.

 

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Chauvel on the union exemption from lobbying transparency

July 31st, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Claire Trevett at NZ Herald reports:

His amendment would exempt unions and labour organisations, as well as groups such as charities, non-governmental organisations, community groups, churches and sports bodies.

Five trade unions are affiliated to the Labour Party and donate to it, but Mr Chauvel said he had put in the amendment off his own bat. He said the unions were relaxed about the bill, but he believed they were in a similar position to philanthropic, voluntary organisations which were not-for-profit.

“When trade unions came up, it seemed to me that they fell on the not- quite-so-sinister-and-behind-the-scenes side of things.”

He said corporate lobbying had the power to change policy, and was often done on the quiet.

What an incredible argument. Is he saying unions do not have the power to change policy? The CTU has actually written policy adopted by Labour. The unions have huge influence on parliamentary policy.

Ministers are obliged under the OIA to disclose any meetings, if asked. Opposition MPs are not, so any lobbying done on the quiet is of opposition MPs, but of Ministers.

“There is a big public interest in knowing what corporates are doing because they can afford heft lobbying and hospitality, and research and all the rest,” Mr Chauvel said.

I blogged on this some years ago, but be assured that the unions have far greater funds and assets than the business groups such as Business NZ and the Chambers of Commerce.

And is Charles arguing that it is a bad thing for research to be provided to MPs?

Ms Walker said changes were needed to ensure the bill did not cover everyone who spoke to an MP. However, she believed trade unions should be covered by the bill despite Labour’s stance.

Good. The current definition is problematic, and the solutions are not obvious. But one thing I can tell you is that an argument for unions to be exempt is a self-serving one that flies in the face of any claims to actually want transparency.

UPDATE: The Waikato Times editorial is excellent:

Labour’s Charles Chauvel says the bill can be made more workable by exempting the community and voluntary sector from a major burden. He has the gall to include trade unions in that group. This attempt to confine the bill’s scope to commercial organisations, as one commentator observed, would introduce “loopholes you could drive a busload of lobbyists through” while undermining the bill’s objectives.

Wanting to flush National’s business mates into the open but allow Labour’s union mates to continue lobbying covertly is shamefully unprincipled. More perplexing, it would expose a well-intentioned bill to a partisan buffeting that would threaten to sink it.

It is shamefully unprincipled indeed.

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An e-mail from Charles

May 3rd, 2012 at 3:32 pm by David Farrar

Charles Chauvel e-mailed his Labour colleagues today:

Dear Colleagues

If you are home in time this evening to watch it, you might like to tune in to Court Report on TVNZ7 (Freeview and Sky77) at 9.30pm. 

I’ll be on the panel to discuss, in the words of the show’s publicity blurb, ‘the storm brewing between the judiciary and the Government’.  This is an issue that is likely to become more significant as time passes.

The show also features commentary from electoral law specialist Hayden Wilson on the Banks scandal.

Linda Clark is the host.

If you miss it on TV tonight, it will also available online at www.tvnz.co.nz/the-court-report

 Regards

Charles

Nice of Charles to try and increase the viewer ratings for TVNZ7.

One of the Labour MPs offices forwarded it onto lawyer Deborah Manning, but also accidentally forwarded it to all DIA Ministerial addresses, including the Attorney-General.

It is a Labour special tonight, as Hayden is also a fairly well known Labour activist. Not that this means his views are not worth listening to – they are.

The issue that Charles is discussing is a rumour that the number of Judges will be reduced by 20 or so as a cost cutting measure. Now you can not make Judges of the High Court (higher court judges are also High Court judges) redundant under S23 of the Constitution Act 1986:

A Judge of the High Court shall not be removed from office except by the Sovereign or the Governor-General, acting upon an address of the House of Representatives, which address may be moved only on the grounds of that Judge’s misbehaviour or of that Judge’s incapacity to discharge the functions of that Judge’s office.

No wriggle room there.

District Court Judges come under the District Court Act 1947, where s7 says:

The Governor-General may, if he thinks fit, remove a Judge for inability or misbehaviour.

Every Judge shall retire from office on attaining the age of 70 years.

Not quite the same level of protection as High Court Judges. The principle is an important one – Judges should not have to worry about job security in case they offend a Government of the day.

Now I have no idea if the Government is looking to reduce the number of Judges (but the number of cases going to court is falling), but if they are I’d be very very surprised if it was done by anything other than natural attrition.

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Labour MP paying 11 year olds $10/hr to wave his signs

November 25th, 2011 at 1:45 pm by David Farrar

Just been relayed this story from a grandfather whose grand-daughter is visiting him.

The grand-daughter goes to St Brigid’s School in Johnsonville and she told her grand dad about how some of the other 11 year olds at the school were earning money, specifically $10 an hour, to wave signs List for MP and candidate Charles Chauvel.

Isn’t Labour saying the minimum wage should be $15 and hour and there should be no youth wages?

Not a lot of local support it seems if you have to hire sign wavers.

I do hope Charles is including the wages of his hired help in his campaign budget disclosure. I also hope he is deducting and paying tax. As a lawyer I am sure he very aware of the law.

 

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McLeod on Chauvel

October 21st, 2011 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Rosemary McLeod in the Dominion Post writes on Charles Chauvel:

MINE is a thankless trade. Surely all writing is. You beaver away with scarcely a word of encouragement – and then screens take the place of paper, and you become endangered as well as thankless.

You don’t anticipate this. You couldn’t have imagined a time when yesterday’s work wouldn’t be wrapping tomorrow’s takeaways. But that day is fast upon you, and it’s time to get a grip. What would Labour MP Charles Chauvel do in a situation like ours? That’s the question.

Which Rosemary goes on to answer.

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So who is lying?

October 14th, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Jordan Carter has blogged on the now well publicised accusations over what was said and denied at the Rainbow Wellington election forum. A number of Labour Party candidates and supporters have all accused ACT candidate Stephen Whittington of getting it wrong.

Well to para-phrase Mandy Rice-Davies, they would say that, wouldn’t they. But Green MP Kevin Hague has backed Whittington’s version of events. Now unless one subscribes to Labour’s mad theory of a vast right wing and non-labour left wing conspiracy, I think we can trust Kevin Hague as an honest witness.

With that in mind, Jordan may regret the title of his blog post – a clarification for some liars out there.

Does this mean he is calling Kevin Hague a liar?

I get a mention also, which I need to respond to.

This has been amplified today by that well known defender of the rights of queer people, David Farrar, on his blog KiwiBlog, and by Whittington himself in a media release.  The result is this Stuff story “Labour accused of homophobia cover-up” by Andrea Vance.

Now the reference to me as a “well known defender of the rights of queer people” is obviously meant to be sarcastic and imply I am insincere when it comes to this issue, and just using it to score political points.

I think my record stands for itself. I have blogged in supports of gay issues such as civil unions, gay marriage and gay adoption on scores and scores of occasions. I actively lobbied in favour of the Civil Union Bill, assisting Tim Barnett with it.  I blogged in 2004 how great the Civil Unions Bill party was to celebrate, and how great it was to be a very small part of helping something positive happen.

Unlike many in Labour I have been willing to criticise MPs from my own party on these issues. At the time of the Civil Unions Bill I blogged somewhat critically of some of the speeches from MPs against, including National MPs. The following week my public criticisms were raised in Caucus (so I am told, I don’t attend of course) by some of the MPs I had criticised, asking for something to be done to shut me up.

Also just last year I blogged quite harsh criticisms of a Cabinet Minister for comments which I thought were taunting a gay MP. It actually turned out (once I saw the video and wasn’t just going off the NZPA report) that I had misinterpreted the comments, and it was a fairly good natured exchange, so I actually was unfairly critical of the National Minister. But again, note I was publicly critical.

So even though Jordan was using the term sarcastically, I think I have been consistent in my advocacy on gay rights. Perhaps my crime is actually being heterosexual and a National supporter – after all how can a straight right winger be anything but insincere on gay issues?

Farrar’s allegations are nonsense.  He (and Whittington) are lying when they say that Grant and Charles denied Trevor’s ‘tinkerbell’ stuff.  They did no such thing.

Well let me quote Kevin Hague:

Green MP Kevin Hague, who was also at the meeting, backed Mr Whittington’s version of events. “My sense was that Charles and Grant were denying that Mallard and Cosgrove had abused Chris Finlayson in a homophobic way.

Also Jordan and Grant’s version of events are not even backed by Chauvel himself. In the Herald he said:

Mr Chauvel said he had never heard anybody refer to Mr Finlayson by that name “and if I did hear it, I would tell them that was unacceptable”.

So Charles was denying anyone had ever said it. So now the list of liars is Stephen Whittington, myself, Kevin Hague and Charles himself.

They would have been stupid to. The remarks were well covered at the time.  We told Trevor what we thought. Making slurs like that in Parliament is totally unacceptable.

They were well covered at the time. Do you know why? Because I blogged about them. Off memory there was no publicity around this until I highlighted this. No one in Labour did anything about Trevor and Clayton until there was adverse publicity.

And don’t think it was only the three times it has been recorded in Hansard. Hansard only records comments if made in a speech or if an interjection is responded to. I understand Trevor and Clayton has yelled out Tinkerbell to Finlayson on numerous occasions – but as Finlayson ignored them they do not get recorded.

So good on Jordan and others for telling Trevor (and hopefully Clayton) to stop. But did you say anything publicly like I have with National MPs?

What they denied is that Mallard is homophobic. They are right.  Trevor has been a staunch defender of social liberal causes and was a key player in the fight to decriminalise homosexuality in the 1980s. His voting record on queer rights issues is perfect.

I tend to agree that Trevor is not homophobic. He is just someone willing to use homophobic comments to attack other MPs. It’s much the same with Winston. I don’t think Winston really hate Asians. I think he just knows it is effective to bash Asian immigration, so does it to be popular.  I note Jordan has not said whether or not he thinks Clayton is homophobic.

In terms of the argument that someone can not be homophobic because they have a perfect voting record on queer right issues. By that logic, Senator Larry Craig can’t be homosexual because he has a perfect voting record against queer rights. I think behaviour counts as much as one’s voting record.

So my message to Whittington and to David Farrar is: stop lying on this point.

I trust Stephen’s integrity, just as I trust Kevin Hague – a gay Green MP who politically has nothing to gain by backing up the ACT candidate’s version of events. And then add onto that the fact that Chauvel has said he has never heard anyone refer to Finlayson by that name, and I am very comfortable with what I have blogged.

Jordan would do well to stop shooting the messengers. If only he spent as much time condemning the remarks publicly when they were made, than denying they were denied.

For someone who is a social liberal, David sure does spend a lot of time stirring up nasty stuff.

I love this Orewellain view of the world. If I was a Labour activist who criticised a National MP for denying homophobic comments from other National MPs, I would be trumpeted as the good guy, and the National MP would be the nasty guy.

But no God forbid that I criticise a Labour MP/s because in the heat of a debate they made the wrong call and embarrassed by the mention of these homophobic comments by colleagues they tried to bluff it and deny said comments had been made.

I can only conclude that criticising a Labour MP for anything at all, is automatically nasty stuff.

On that note I’ll talk about why I did the series of posts on Charles Chauvel. It is not because he is gay as Charles has suggested, or because some mythical polls show him leading in Ohariu and Peter Dunne has put me up to it.  It is because I received information (from a number of sources, including people in his own party) that revealed he was doing shameless self-promotion to a degree that was deceptive.

In the past I have been complimentary of Charles, such as when he was moved to the extended front bench, noting:

Chauvel was a no brainer.  … Chauvel to environment is logical and what I predicted. He is one of the few MPs who understand the complexities of the ETS etc.

And before the reshuffle I said:

But a couple of others would also be contenders on merit for the front bench, or at least the front row of the cross-benches. Charles Chauvel and Grant Robertson would be the two strongest contenders. …

I also blogged in favour of his private members bill on credit reform going to select committee.

Charles is not the only MP who is a self-promoter. All MPs are (by necessity) to some degree. But I think where most MPs are under-graduates, Charles seemed to be well on his way to a PhD in it, so I called him out on some of his practices. No conspiracy, no homophobia, nothing to do with Ohariu. At the end of the day if you don’t write letters praising yourself and send them out to people, then there is no way I can be sent a copy of them to blog about it.

UPDATE: Whale Oil has blogged that the video of the House shows Chauvel was present when Mallard used the term, and sitting just three seats along and one back from him.

UPDATE2: The Secretary of Rainbow Wellington has released his summary of the meeting based on his detailed notes. Tony Reed’s summary states:

The Banks issue was taken up further and the Labour MPs reminded us of his homophobic actions in the House when Chris Carter came out as the first openly gay MP. Stephen agreed this was wrong, but in turn accused Labour MPs of making homophobic remarks about Chris Finlayson, a charge which was hotly denied.”

I won’t hold my breath waiting for an apology for being called a liar.

 

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Labour’s Rainbow Policy

October 13th, 2011 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Labour’s just released Rainbow policy states:

Many GLBTI New Zealanders continue to be subject to insult, verbal and physical abuse, and to be made to feel inferior, most damagingly in schools.

This comes from the party whose MPs (Mallard and Cosgrove) yell out “Tinkerbell” when a gay National Minister is speaking in the House.

ACT Wellington Central candidate Stephen Whittington referred to this in the Rainbow Candidates meeting last night. And do you know what Grant Robertson and Charles Chauvel said? Did they apologise for their colleagues? Did they say they had asked them to stop? No, they lied and denied that any Labour MP had ever said that. They actually accused Whittington of making a personal attack on them.

In case anyone actually thinks Robertson and Chauvel told the truth, look at this video here of Trevor Mallard (start at 2.30). Also note this interview with Green MP Kevin Hague who said:

Hague said he had never been the target of taunting over his sexual orientation since entering the halls of parliament in 2008.

The same, he said, couldn’t be said for other gay MPs, citing “prejudice” directed at Attorney-General and Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Chris Finlayson.

“Trevor Mallard, and also Clayton Cosgrove, refer to Chris Finlayson as `tinkerbell’. And I f—ing hate it,” Hague said. “That sort of overt taunting as a `fairy’, it is nothing other than prejudice. I don’t like that culture of abuse.”

Now in case you think the video is doctored and that Kevin Hague is the liar, instead of Robertson and Chauvel, you can also look at Hansard here and here.

Discrimination against GLBTI people worldwide continues. The worst manifestation of this is the criminalisation of consensual adult same-sex activity, and its punishment as a capital offence.

This comes from the party which has a List MP who said (from Wikipedia):

In July 2005 Choudhary came to the public’s attention again when he refused to condemn outright the practice of stoning people for homosexual and extramarital sexual behaviour. In TV3’s 60 Minutes show on July 4, 2005, Dr. Choudhary was asked: “Are you saying the Qur’an is wrong to recommend that gays in certain circumstances be stoned to death?” He replied: ” No, no. Certainly what the Qur’an says is correct.” He then qualified his statement, “In those societies, not here in New Zealand”.

When Whittington raised this at the Rainbow debate last night, again Labour again accused him of lying.

So how does Labour reconcile its rainbow policy with having an MP who said it is fine to stone homosexuals and adulters to death, so long as it is not here in New Zealand?

National is far from progressive on gay issues, but I can’t recall a National MP ever saying that it is fine to kill homosexuals, if it is done in other countries.

Then we look at their detailed policy.

Modernise the law relating to the care of children to ensure that the widest pool of suitable adults is lawfully available to provide care to children in need

My God, why can’t they just say they will allow gay couples to adopt? Are they so scared of having the words gay and adoption in the same sentence? There are thousands of children being raised by gay parents and gay couples already. The law should focus on what is best for the child, and if that is a gay couple, then they should be allowed to adopt. What is so hard about saying that explicitly?

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Charles in Charge Part III

October 11th, 2011 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

This is the third and final part of a three part series of a case study in self promotion.

Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here.

In Part 3 we look again at the video surveillance bill, and specifically Chauvel’s SOP. As I had previously blogged, his much vaunted SOP was a cut and paste from the wrong version of the Search & Surveillance Bill.

Now in Parliament Chauvel refers to the SOP “I have drafted” (at around 12 mins), and in fact told his colleagues that he had stayed up until 3 am working on it.

But when it turned out the SOP was based on the wrong version of the bill, Chauvel blogged correspondence with the Office of the Clerk, blaming them for the errors in the bill. So it is Chauvel’s SOP when it is about the credit, and the Office of the Clerk’s bill when it is about the blame. And the only sign of working at 3 am is an e-mail at 10 pm asking for the bill to be redrafted.

What surprised me is that a former partner in a major law firm didn’t even pick up the drafting errors. It is not unusual to use the OOTC to draft amendments, but you expect MPs (especially those who are lawyers) to check any SOP in their name.

Now this incident is by itself no big issue. But when you combine it with the other two issues of authoring letters to the editor praising yourself, and laying down bottom lines *after* you have been told what the Govt has agreed to, it does all fit together into a pattern of an MP who is absolutely obsessed with getting the recognition he thinks he is due.

I’ve been happy to help with getting him the recognition he is due.

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Chauvel uses the Chris Carter defence

October 11th, 2011 at 8:45 am by David Farrar

Kate Chapman writes in the Dom Post:

LABOUR MP Charles Chauvel has accused National affiliates of hacking his email and trying to paint him as a gay “rich prick” after a Right-wing blog claimed that he asked fellow lawyers to put their names to a self-congratulatory letter he penned.

Don’t you love it how Chauvel tries to turn this into an issue where he is the poor oppressed person. I have never ever made an issue of his sexuality. In fact as most people know I have always championed civil unions, gay marriage, gay adoption and in fact have often handed out demerits to commenters who bring an MPs sexuality into the debate.

But nevertheless Chauvel tries what is known as the Chris Carter defence – they are only criticising me because I am gay.

Yesterday, Mr Chauvel refused to say whether he wrote the letter, saying he did not comment on the content of “stolen correspondence”.

It’s not stolen. I made inquiries when it was forwarded onto me, and am satisfied that it was voluntarily passed on.

He said he had no idea how Farrar got hold of the email but said it was either taken electronically or obtained through a Wellington consultancy firm that was working with the lawyers.

This is Chauvel finding excuses to avoid admitting that he sits at his taxpayer funded desk authoring letters promoting himself, and attacking journalists who do not duly recognise his brilliance.

Mr Chauvel believed Farrar had a copy of polls showing him ahead in the Ohariu electorate and the blog post was part of a smear campaign and dirty politics.

“This is what they have to resort to, try to paint me as a rich prick, or gay, or somehow devious, or all three and try to blacken my character and make me less attractive for election.”

Now this is a wonderful attempt here by Chauvel to muddy the waters by listing two things it is wrong to attack him over, and one where it is legitimate.

In my series of three posts I have not painted Chauvel as gay or a rich prick. But yes absolutely I have tried to paint him as devious – because he is!!! What else can you call his self-authored congratulatory letter to the editor?

The sad thing about Chauvel’s use of the Chris Carter defence, is it actually increases hostility against gay politicians. Rather than just admit he got caught being a self-promoter he tries to turn himself into the victim of some homophobic campaign.

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Charles in Charge Part II

October 10th, 2011 at 12:24 pm by David Farrar

On Friday I blogged on how Charles Chauvel sent one or more e-mails out to lawyers asking them to send in letters to the Dominion Post praising him, and insulting a press gallery reporter who didn’t praise him enough in an article.

That was Part I of a three part series on the lengths Charles will go to, to bolster his image. Part III will be tomorrow.

For today, I want to focus on the Police video surveillance bill. Now I’m one of those on the record as having said I thought Labour and Chauvel did well to insist on a select committee process and get some changes to the bill. But there are some very interesting timings with the bill.

The Video Camera Surveillance (Temporary Measures Bill) had its first reading on Tuesday 27 September, and was referred to select committee the same day. Submissions were due by end of Wednesday 28 September and it reported back on Monday 3 October 2011.

Now first a bit of a lesson on how select committees work. They generally first hear initial advice from officials in private, and then hear submissions from the public in public. After public hearings they meet and discuss the bill in private, go through any report from officials and signal potential amendments.

Inevitably the ranking Government members on the committee will brief one or more Ministers on the deliberations. They will outline the nature and tenor of the public submissions, the views of the Government members on the select committee and the views of the opposition members. They will discuss what changes the opposition wants, what changes they think are desirable and where a deal can be struck. The Government generally has the choice of either trying to pass it without co-operation from the Opposition, or compromising aspects to get wider agreement.

Now this sort of negotiation is always done in private. You need to give MPs room to explore compromises freely and frankly. This is fundamental to the success of our select committee system. The Standing Orders actually make leaking deliberations a contempt, SO401(p):

divulging the proceedings or the report of a select committee or a subcommittee contrary to Standing Orders

And the Speaker in Speakers Ruling 187/4 has noted:

The deliberations of the members of a committee and any draft report are not available for release and any unauthorised disclosure of them is a breach of privilege. This is not a mere technical rule. It is essential, if members are to work well together on a committee, that the integrity of the process be maintained by respecting each other’s confidences. Furthermore, the House is entitled to the first advice of the conclusions of one of its committees in a report rather than individual members of the committee taking it upon themselves to communicate committee decisions to individual journalists.

That was Speaker Kidd in 1997 talking about the importance of integrity in the process. Speaker Grey in 1993 in SR 187/3 noted:

Parliamentary privilege exists to protect the integrity of the parliamentary process. In that process members of select committees deliberate amongst themselves on the evidence that they have heard, and draw up a report to the House that embodies their conclusions. This process is seriously undermined if drafts that are to be submitted to the committee for inclusion in its report can, with impunity, be released to all and sundry …

It is one thing for members to say in advance of a select committee meeting that they intend to argue for inclusion of a particular point of view in the committee’s report. That is quite acceptable. But it is another thing altogether for members to draw up a document that purports to embody the views of a minority on a select committee—views that are clearly put forward as those members’ contribution to the drafting of the committee’s report—and that are in fact subsequently laid before the committee.

Such a document is clearly one that should be conveyed to the committee first, so that it can consider it in its deliberations. To release it prior to its consideration could pre-empt deliberation and prejudice the proper functioning of the select committee process. Anything that has a tendency to prejudice the select committee process can be regarded as a contempt of the House.

Essentially this says a member of a select committee can express a public view before deliberations begin, but not during deliberations.

Now I want people to focus on two press releases by Charles Chauvel. The first was issued at 4 pm on Thu 29 September, and set out four bottom lines for tthe bill to proceed:

Having heard the evidence, Labour now sets out its position on the Bill and the amendments that National will be required to agree if it is to have Labour support to pass the House next week:

And five days later Chauvel puts out a further release:

Charles Chauvel said the Bill made the four major changes that Labour required in setting out its bottom lines last Thursday following the hearing of evidence in the select committee.

So the narrative from Charles is the brave Labour Party setting down their four bottom lines, holding fast to them, and forcing the Government to agree to them.

There are two issues here. The first is that the first press release from Chauvel was done after deliberations had started on the bill. It is a clear breach of privilege. The House has risen so it is not possible to have a complaint considered by this Parliament and anyway amazingly Chauvel is actually Chair of the Privileges Committee.

But undermining the integrity of the select committee process is only part of Chauvel’s efforts to promote himself. The actual truth is even more incredible.

I understand the press release from Chauvel setting out Labour’s four bottom lines was done around 60 minutes after Chauvel had been briefed on what changes the Government had agreed to. He already knew the Government’s position when he wrote that press release.

So you may ask yourself what sort of MP would breach standing orders just so they can put out a press release laying down bottom lines on a confidential negotiation, when they already knew what had been agreed to? One obsessed with making himself look good is the answer. There is a pattern here.

Note this blog post where Chauvel complains:

We saved the right to silence, and stopped the Government from being able to try people in absentia.  We got the usual level of credit – none –  from the media, and from left-wing commentators. …

If we get legislation that complies with the four points I just summarised, the Nats will have lost big time in a major attempt to interfere with our human rights.  And it won’t be because MPs from a couple of minor parties stood clear of the debate and held their noses.  It will be because Labour pushed the envelope as far as possible given the numbers in the House.  In most democracies, that would be regarded as a pretty significant achievement given the right:left imbalance in Parliament right now.  Here, expect us to get the usual level of credit.  Ah well.

Now recall that when he writes about how National will have lost big time, and how it is unfair he doesn’t get enough credit for stopping them, he already knew what the Government had agreed to, and his four bottom lines were released after he had been told what had been agreed to.

It’s the sort of thing you would expect from someone who, well, writes letters to the editor praising himself and asks others to send it in, in their name.

Part III tomorrow.

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Charles in Charge

October 7th, 2011 at 12:37 pm by David Farrar

One of my legion of spies has passed on a very interesting e-mail. It was sent to a lawyer asking them to send a letter to the editor of the Dominion Post. The headers are:

Date: Sun, Sep 25, 2011 at 1:44 AM
Subject: Hoping you would be comfortable with something like this to the Dompost – if not, let’s discuss
To: xxxx@yyyy.com

And the text of the letter that the sender wanted sent to the Dom Post was:

Sir

We are lawyers/I am a lawyer practising in Auckland who are/is not aligned to any political party.  We were/I was extremely concerned about Simon Power’s assault on the right to silence – and other fundamental liberties – and so we involved ourselves/I involved myself in the debate and the lobbying effort to reverse those changes.

We were/ I was, frankly, amazed to read Andrea Vance’s opinion piece in your newspaper on Saturday.  Her account of what really happened here is completely off-beam.

Labour’s Justice Spokesperson, Charles Chauvel, authored a stout defence of the right to silence in a minority report when the Criminal Procedure (Reform and Modernisation) Bill came back to Parliament.

His work picked up on significant concerns raised during the submission process.  Rodney Hide and John Boscawen took a long, hard look at the Bill in light of these concerns, and were instrumental in ensuring that ACT re-examined its position on the legislation.

Chauvel, along with his caucus, and Hide and Boscawen, are the MPs who merit credit in this process.  We/I have found them willing to examine the arguments for and against reform, and to work patiently, often behind the scenes, to reject the extremes in the argument and bring National around to a position that works going forward.

In contrast, Simon Power, Christopher Finlayson, Hilary Calvert, Peter Dunne and other government-aligned MPs have pretty much toed the party line, failing to do what we/I expect of our parliamentarians – examine legislation dispassionately and in light of the evidence.

Parliament is likely to pass criminal procedure reform in the next fortnight.  It won’t be perfect law by any means.  But thanks to Chauvel, and to Hide and Boscawen, it will be much better than it otherwise would have been.

Maybe your newspaper should get a reporter who understands the law to report on it from now on.

Yours sincerely
etc

So who sent the e-mail requesting this letter be sent in by a friendly lawyer. Well the headers also reveal that:

From: Charles Chauvel <charles.chauvel@gmail.com>

Charles must have been stewing all day about the story, as he sent the e-mail at 1.44 am. I’m not sure what is more amusing – the shameless self-promotion, or the attack on the reporter. I wonder if he had the guts to say it to their face, rather than get someone else to write in on his behalf, using his supplied words.

Residents of Ohariu should think carefully about the values they want in their MP.

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A cut and paste gone wrong

September 28th, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Andrew Geddis proposed that instead of passing a law to suspend the Supreme Court ruling on Police video surveillance, that Parliament could just instead pass into law the provisions of the Search and Surveillance Bill as reported back by Select Committee.

Labour adopted this idea as their policy and Charles Chauvel drafted a bill which he said did this. He whined that the Government refused to grant leave for it to be introduced. But there was a very good reasons for this. Poor Charles cut and paste from the wrong version of the Search and Surveillance Bill. He used the bill as introduced, not as reported back by select committee. This is an incredibly stupid and basic error to make.

Chris Finlayson pointed out:

“Charles Chauvel’s draft SOP for the Video Camera Surveillance (Temporary Measures) Bill demonstrates the danger of taking parts of draft legislation out of the context in which they were drafted,” Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson says.

“Mr Chauvel has, apparently inadvertently, drafted his SOP using large sections of the Search and Surveillance Bill as introduced to Parliament, rather than as reported back from Select Committee last year,” Mr Finlayson said. “This has created some serious problems in what he proposes.”

A number of problems are evident in the SOP posted by Mr Chauvel on the Labour Party blogsite:

• Mr Chauvel’s clause 7(1) refers to a period not exceeding 72 hours. But this was in the Search and Surveillance Bill as introduced, not as reported back. The Select Committee altered it to 48 hours, to reduce the period of time a surveillance device is first used without obtaining a surveillance device warrant. This increases surveillance powers, something Mr Chauvel previous expressed concern about.

• Mr Chauvel’s clause 8(3)(a) uses the wording of the Search and Surveillance Bill as introduced, not as reported back. He would require a residual warrant be disclosed, even though the Select Committee ruled this out.

• Mr Chauvel’s clause 11 is completely deficient. He uses clause 50 of the Bill as originally drafted, leaving out important additions made by the Select Committee, particularly section 42AA dealing with restrictions on some trespass surveillance and use of interception devices.

What a fail. But I love his response in the Herald:

Mr Chauvel returned fire, saying the Government could have improved his SOP, rather than spend time scrutinising it and putting out a press release.

“It’s a shame we have a minister who would prefer to take the approach of chipping at the opposition, rather than looking at how we can improve the law.”

Oh yes how dare the Government point out the Opposition cut and pasted the wrong version of a bill, and that Labour were proposing a law change that would be worse than what the select committee had recommended.

Talking of the Bill, it is online here. If you wish to make a submission, you only have until midnight.

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A third Labour breach

August 17th, 2011 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Electoral Commission has announced:

On 15 August 2011, the Electoral Commission referred the following matters to Police:

  • Charles Chauvel MP, Ohariu Census,
  • ACT Party newspaper advertisements in Sunday Star Times and NZ Herald
  • Labour Party ‘Prices are Rising Faster than Wages’ flyer.
It is the Electoral Commission’s view that the publication of each of these items constitutes a breach of sections 204F and 204H of the Electoral Act 1993 because the items are election advertisements that do not contain a valid promoter statement and were not authorised in writing by the party secretary.
The referral of Chauvel to the Police is new. Whale blogged on his survey back in July.
ACT should also know better, and should have authorised their newspaper ads. They are not even borderline calls.
No Right Turn comments:
This isn’t rocket science. The requirement for a promoter statement has been a core part of our electoral law since 1977, and something every party should be complying with out of habit. Failing to do so is a basic failure of political competence. After all, if you can’t publish a fucking ad properly, how do you expect us to believe you can run the country? Sadly, I don’t think Labour will acknowledge that failure and commit to fixing it. Based on their past performance, we’ll be treated to more arrogant whining instead.
The Police should be able to decide on these breaches quickly. I have heard a whisper that the Police will delay any decisions on electoral law breaches until after the election, so they are not seem to be interfering with the election.
I hope this is not true, as it would be quite wrong to let political considerations interfere with the law.  If the Police have adopted this attitude, it will actually encourage more and more people to break the electoral laws, if they know there is no chance of charges being laid before the election.
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Caption Contest

March 7th, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

As always, funny not nasty. Enjoy.

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Scare-mongering

December 1st, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Charles Chauvel at Red Alert blogged:

I’m in Cancun, Mexico, at the 16th UN Climate Change Conference. Like last year at the 15th Conference in Copenhagen, I am representing Labour as its climate spokesperson; I paid my own way to get here; I am part of the delegation from the International Trade Union Confederation (thanks to Helen Kelly and Sharan Burrow).

I wonder what would be the reaction if a National MP turned up at an international forum as part of a business lobby group?

I’m here to support efforts to get an ambitious, binding, global deal to limit the problems that we are all likely to face as a result of human-induced climate change, and to support a just transition to the different world we are all to shortly going to find ourselves living in.

There will be no binding deal at Cancun. Cancun will make progress in a number of areas but no one expects a binding deal.

So why am I here? Well, just because the media isn’t talking about it so much doesn’t mean that the issue isn’t just as serious as it was last year. My aunts’ home in Tahiti, 6m from the high tide line, is no less likely to be washed away by rising sea levels than it was last year.

This is th part which I think is ridicolous scare-mongering – I expect it from ill informed people, but not from the official Labour Spokesperson on climate change.

The IPCC 4th report had a number of scenarios. In the most optimistic the mean sea level rise by 2100 would be 18 cm and the most pessimistic would be 59 cm.

So the IPCC have said the worst case scenario is that by 2100 the sea level may have risen 10% of the 6 metres above high tide.

If that rate kept up, Charles’ auntie’s place will get swept away in the year 3000. Now regardless of sea level change, Tahiti is also sinking or subsiding at around 25 cm every 100 years. So in fact around 2700 or so it might get hairy.

Of course by then it will be 18 generations or so on from Charles and his aunt.

I’ve often said politicians who scare-monger like Charles are in fact very damaging to their own cause. Such ridicolous statements (which strongly implied that a six metre rise could happen in his aunt’s lifetime) just provide ammunition to sceptics.

[UPDATE: Several commenters have pointed out that a more likely meaning is that the house is 6 metres along the beach from the high tide mark. If that is the case, then it all depends on the angle of the beach. If the angle is more than 9 degrees, then it still isn’t until 2100 that you get problems.

The projected rate of sea level rise is not dramatic (it is undesirable though). The increase per decade last century has been 1.8 cm/decade. From 1993 it has been 3 cm/decade and the IPCC projects the worst case scenario is 6 cm/decade up until 2100.]

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Nice to see Labour not automatically opposed

November 16th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports on the sweeping changes to trials in the Criminal Procedure (Reform and Modernisation) Bill.

The one that will probably attract the most debate is moving the threshold for jury trials from a maximum three months to a maximum three years.

While the list of offences that would be affected is long, officials have advised Mr Power that the most common cases would be theft of between $5oppos00 and $1000; receiving between $500 and $1000; possession of a class A drug; common assault; and assault on a female or child.

I’d be interested in what the stats are for these offences, in terms of how many people convicted of them even receive a jail sentence at all. A maximum is just that – and generally never given out.

The opposition Labour Party’s associate justice spokesman, Charles Chauvel, said that while some change in the threshold for jury trials made sense, Labour would reserve its position until it had heard select committee submissions.

That is a very sensible position to take, and good on Labour for not being opposed just for the sake of it. I’m not 100% convinced myself moving the threshold to three years is the right point – maybe it should be two years – again would be good to see hard data on this.

Some of the charges no longer tried before a jury (with current maximum term):

SIX MONTHS
* Ill treatment or wilful neglect of child
* Possession or use of class A drug

ONE YEAR
* Possession of unauthorised seed or fruit

TWO YEARS
* Driving with excess breath alcohol (3rd offence onwards)
* Driving while disqualified (3rd offence onwards)
* Bigamy
* Infanticide

THREE YEARS
* Assault with intent
* Making intimate visual recording
* Aggravated careless use of vehicle causing injury or death
* Indecency with animal

Oh that is unfortunate. If these changes come through, I’ll never get to be a juror on a donkey sex case. I always thought if one has to be a juror, that would be more interesting that an assault or burglary case etc.

On the other hand these donkey sex cases tend to always be in Nelson or Christchurch, so I guess I would not have got one anyway. And add to that, that in 25 years of availability I have never once been summoned for jury service.

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Electoral Law discussion

September 2nd, 2010 at 4:15 pm by David Farrar

The four speakers are Simon Power, Charles Chauvel, Caroline Morris and Philip Joseph. I missed some of the written constitution session as I had to go out and buy a new power cord for my laptop.

Power is speaking first. Basically just going over work to date – MMP referendum, new Electoral Commission, EFA repeal. Highlighting that the crucial thing with its replacement has been a transparent inclusive process.

Power has effectively said that any further changes to the finance law will require identification of some clear harm to be fixed, that is agreed across the political spectrum. This means that not everyone will be happy, but that there will be nothing that any group finds offensive.

Next up was Chauvel. Mainly focusing on why MMP is good.

Joseph argued that the Maori seats should not be entrenched and in favour of a longer and fixed parliamentary term. I agree with him on all points. He only favors a fixed term if it is longer.

However Joseph is pessimistic on the chances of reform.

Finally Morris is up. Focusing on conduct of MPs. Says discipline of MPs should not be left to party leaders.

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Jones and Carter to be demoted

June 12th, 2010 at 9:27 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Shamed Labour MPs Shane Jones and Chris Carter are expected to be demoted ahead of Tuesday’s caucus for their credit card spending while they were in government.

I think that is an astute decision by Phil Goff.

That will mean freeing up their two major portfolios as well as their rankings – possibly to the new crop of MPs.

Mr Carter is foreign affairs spokesman and is ranked No 7, and Mr Jones is environment spokesman and ranked No 11.

Leader Phil Goff returns tomorrow from China. He is thought to want some issues sorted before the caucus on Tuesday. A fuller reshuffle is likely later.

Who to promote has two aspects to it. Who do you move to the front bench, and who do you give their portfolios to.

The two Labour MPs most deserving of front bench status in my view are Charles Chauvel and Grant Robertson. They will both clearly be senior Ministers in a future Labour Government.

As it happens, they both also have the experience to take up the portfolios up for grabs. Grant is a former MFAT staffer and would be an easy fit to Foreign Affairs. Charles has been very involved in climate change issues, so Environment also an easy fit.

However neither of them are particularly close to Goff, being more from the left of the party and very close to Clark.

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Charles not in charge

May 27th, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has attacked the integrity of a solo mother who is asking for $15,000 to settle a privacy complaint against the minister, after previously denying she wanted any money. …

“I ruled it out right at the beginning, there wouldn’t be any cash settlement and I was incredibly surprised, particularly after her advocate [Labour MP] Charles Chauvel saying that she wasn’t looking for a cash settlement, to then get a letter from the Privacy Commissioner a matter of days later saying categorically that she was.”…

Mr Chauvel said he helped Ms Fuller draft the complaint and the letter sent a few weeks ago, but had since recommended another lawyer.

Charles seems to be backing away from Ms Fuller at fairly high speed.

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