A confused Herald editorial

May 1st, 2012 at 8:49 am by David Farrar

Today’s Herald editorial is rather confused. They mix up the Local Electoral Act and Electoral Act, and also do not know how MMP works with by-elections.

Anonymous donations should not be permitted at all but they have been allowed under strict conditions because political parties say few wealthy or corporate donors would contribute if their names had to be made public.

Anonymous donations are basically not permitted under the Electoral Act, unless they are of relatively small amounts (under $1,500), or are done through the Electoral Commission with strict declarations. However the Local Electoral Act is very very different and does have any strict conditions at all. They have in fact no conditions, except a badly worded definition of an anonymous donation.

This case warrants a reconsideration of campaign finance law to require the naming of all contributors of more than $1000 to a candidate or party. 

Again the Herald seems confused – are they talking the Electoral Act or the Local Electoral Act or both? The reference to parties suggest the Electoral Act.

Again the Electoral Act already bans anonymous donations of greater than $1,500. And candidates must disclose the names of all donors of over $1,500, while parties must disclose donors of over $15,000 (which is a sum which represents around 0.5% of a major party’s revenue).

The Local Electoral Act has no ban at all on anonymous donations, but requires disclosure of donations of over $1,000 already.

His departure would create a byelection in Epsom that National would need Act to win if the Government was to retain its majority.

Totally incorrect. If National won the by-election they would go from 59 to 60 seats in the House and with United Future would have a majority.


January 11th, 2012 at 8:56 am by David Farrar

The Herald has an editorial on the Rena. It is generally fair and balanced. The conclusion:

But quibbles after the fact do not alter the impression that after a slow start, the response has been effective. If the Rena has been our worst maritime environmental disaster, it could have been much worse.

But I quibble over one aspect:

That plan, as far as it goes, was strikingly successful this time. Though countless seabirds perished from the slick, the beaches were cleaned so quickly and efficiently that they were safe for swimming, fishing and other activities before Christmas.

Countless? They have in fact been counted and it is around 2,000.

Incidentally possums and other predators kill around 500,000 birds a week in New Zealand. They just do it without cameras around generally!

Waikato Times endorses a delay

December 1st, 2011 at 12:42 pm by David Farrar

Today’s Waikato Times editorial:

Over the next few days the caucus and wider party must articulate a new vision for the party.

But that gives no time to establish why Labour’s share of the vote dropped 7 percentage points from 2008, an 85-year low point for the party. Fairfax blogger David Farrar contends the question Labour should be asking and answering before naming new leaders is why it lost that much support. He notes that in 2002 National dropped 9 percentage points from its 1999 result. It did not replace its leader immediately, but commissioned a review to ascertain where it had gone wrong. The results of the review triggered significant change for the party.

Labour is bound to baulk at taking advice from a Right-wing commentator. But it looks like good advice for any well-beaten party, no matter the colour of its stripes.

It is good advice. I never deliberately give bad advice when I blog, in some sort of psychological trick. Labour would do better to delay their decision. The new leader will get a brief mention before Christmas and then disappear over the summer. Far better to keep the contest going over January and elect the new leader just before Parliament resumes in February, to heaps of publicity.

I can understand Phil Goff not wanting to stay on as Leader for longer than necessary, but there is a sensible solution. Appoint an Acting Leader for two months or so, as they do in Canada. The Acting Leader could be Annette King or even Trevor Mallard.

Dom Post Editorial on Hutt Valley High School

September 8th, 2011 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Dom Post Editorial:

The word “bullying” does not even get close to describing the reign of terror a gang of Hutt Valley High School thugs imposed on their fellow pupils.

Serious sexual assault, extreme violence and brutal humiliation are more accurate terms for the pack attacks on nine tormented Year 9 boys over two weeks in late 2007.

The sickening details are laid out in a damning report by Ombudsman David McGee. One by one, the victims were hunted down and violated with objects including a drill bit, scissors, a craft knife, a plank of wood, a shoe, a cellphone and a screwdriver. According to police reports, victims screamed in pain during the attacks. One endured up to 10 such assaults. Another was kicked in the face when he refused to kiss his attackers’ shoes after they had sexually violated him.

The response of the school’s authorities to such systemic violence defies belief. Having failed to establish proper systems to prevent and detect such attacks in the first place, the school then failed to safeguard the well-being of the victims and ensure the complaints were dealt with properly. They did not inform the victims’ parents or alert police or Child, Youth and Family to what were plainly allegations of serious sexual offending.

Even worse, the acting principal at the time, Steve Chapman, and the then-chairwoman of the board of trustees, Susan Pilbrow, played down the seriousness of the assaults. Mr Chapman’s decision, backed by Ms Pilbrow, to stand down the six attackers for three to five days obviously failed to reflect the gravity of their offending or send a message that violence would not be tolerated. The school’s refusal to back down from a statement that it had acted “reasonably and responsibly” confirmed concerns that it had not acknowledged the seriousness of the attacks.

It was a failure of the most basic kind – to keep kids safe.

I wonder whether those in charge at the time are still involved at the school. Their website states Steve Chapman is the Associate Principal still. Ms Pilbrow does not appear to be on the Board of Trustees anymore.

UPDATE: NZ Herald reports Mr Chapman may be sacked by the Board. It is hard to see how he could continue in the job and believe the school is serious about ensuring this never happens again.

Southland Times on Labour’s stop campaign

April 23rd, 2011 at 3:04 pm by David Farrar

The Southland Times editorial:

It was inevitable, of course. The only real surprise is that it has taken almost three weeks for Labour’s latest attention-grabbing bid to crash and burn.The “Stop asset sales vote Labour” campaign, launched in Auckland on April 4, effectively died of scornful, mocking laughter on Thursday. It should not be lamented, even by the most ardent of Labour supporters.

Except Grant and Trevor who like General Custer keep claiming victory.

So the concept was good. The only parts missing were the skill, finesse and luck.

Whoever came up with the concept of plastering the message on imitation road stop signs should be led away to a disused shed out the back somewhere, put under 24-hour guard and released only after the next general election is over.

Now this is a good way to find out if Labour really think their campaign is a great success. Let’s have the MP or staffer whose idea it was to use imitation road signs put their hand up and identify themselves. If they are not willing to do so, that speaks volume.

Whoever then came up with the idea of selling these signs to the party faithful at $10 a pop should be made to share the shed.

But a desert island, a really remote desert island, should be reserved for the genius who came up with the idea of putting the signs, signs with the same shape and colouring of real road stop signs, along the median strip of a road in the Hutt Valley this week.

That surely would be Trevor.

You’d think that even if someone was a sheep short in the top paddock he or she would realise that slapping big stop signs along a busy road might have caused a few problems for motorists, but no.

Obviously more than one sheep has escaped the paddock.