The flip side of protectionism

February 5th, 2014 at 6:31 am by David Farrar

Tracy Watkins at Stuff reports:

Spurred on by an aggressive Buy Australia campaign, the big Australian supermarkets are systematically stripping their shelves of New Zealand-produced goods sold under their ‘‘house brand’’ labels, in a move that threatens hundreds of millions  of dollars worth of exports.

Now hands up all those who have been saying that we should have a Buy NZ campaign, and that the NZ Government should only deal with NZ companies?

Protectionism is bad for New Zealand. Consumers pay more, and exporters get shut out.

Key will raise the issue in his meeting with Abbott in Sydney this week and it is understood the Government has received advice the move could be in breach of the decades-old Closer Economic Relations agreement with Australia.

One option would be for the Government to lodge a formal objection but sources say the situation is complicated by the fact that CER is a government-to-government agreement, and it is not ‘‘straight forward’’ whether supermarkets are captured by that process.

With respect, I think it is straight forward. Private supermarkets are not captured. CER is an agreement between Governments.

Labour’s economic development spokesman Shane Jones said  it was ‘‘essential’’ Key raise the plight of New Zealand food producers who were being ‘‘monstered’’ by the Australian supermarkets, who controlled 80 per cent of the market.

‘‘They are victimising Kiwi businesses and have created a culture of fear and menace. I have been told New Zealand food producers were warned not to complain about their poor treatment publicly or they would be blacklisted.’’

Is this the same Labour Party that has spent five years insisting that the New Zealand Government should discriminate against Australian businesses, and only let NZ companies win tenders? Isn’t it hypocrisy to complain when Australian businesses do exactly what they advocate?

My consistent view is that quality and price, rather than country of origin, are what you should decide things on. Only if the quality and price are identical or at least similar, should you then take into account country of origin.

But Woolworths Australia is a private company. If they think their customers want to pay more for inferior Australian food, then they can decide to use Australian suppliers only. I think it is a bad business decision, but it is their decision to make.

Where there could be an issue under CER is if the Australian Government is encouraging such protectionism. But I’ve not seen any details in this story that states they are.

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Greypower hypocrisy

September 16th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

TOTD 14092013

 

Keeping Stock blogged this exchange.

I’d love someone to ask Grey Power how they managed to get a discount from an evil privately owned electricity company, yet failed to get a discount from those nice benevolent state owned power companies!

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Reminds me of the Alliance bus

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

News.com.au reports:

CLIVE Palmer has been busted breaking one of his policy promises, on his own campaign flyer.

His campaign flyers which promise to “process Australian resources in Australia” and to “create jobs and exports” are printed in China.

Read the fine print on the back of the campaign leaflet and you will find that they were printed in the DongCheng District in Beijing, by Palmer’s company, Queensland Nickel which operates his Nickel and Cobalt mines.

Busted.

This reminds me of the 1990s when the Alliance campaigned on banning second hand car imports from Japan, to protect NZ jobs.

We took delight in pointing out their campaign bus was a Japanese 2nd hand import. Anderton’s response was along the lines of that was the only one they could afford. Never dawned on them that maybe that is why they shouldn’t ban other people from buying them!

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Total hypocrisy

April 30th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Whale Oil has a lethal blog post on the massive hypocrisy of Jeremy Elwood.

Matthew Hooton tweeted:

Go @derekfox for byelection. U wld win for @maoriparty against @nzlabour – and become leader.

Now I think Matthew’s timing was insensitive. Of course there will be talk of the political consequences of Horomia’s death, but to tweet about it two hours after teh death was poor judgement.

Comedian Jeremy Elwood tweeted:

@MatthewHootonNZ You know someone just died, right? I want to think you don’t because the level of fucktardness if you do is inexcusable.

Now Matthew deserves the raps he got from several people for his tweet, but is Jeremy the one to take the moral high ground. Whale finds this tweet from Nov 2012:

Please tell me the rumours of Margaret Thatcher dying are true? Please do not let that be a prank. I’ve been waiting too long.

And then just two weeks ago:

Ding dong the witch is dead.

I’m sorry but what a “fucktard” hypocrite. Hooton was insensitive, but not gloating. To take the moral high ground after your gloating posts over Thatcher is fucking sick.

And he is totally unrepentant:

I will never apologise for dancing on Thatchers grave. She was my personal Hitler. P.H. was just a guy.

In other words, it is fine when I do it.

Personally I find his hypocrisy and obvious hatred of right wing politicians so sickening that if I was a National MP, I’d tell him to go fuck himself if he ever invited me onto a show he is part of. Why helps a guy who hates you get ratings?

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Greenpeace hypocrisy

March 6th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Greenpeace is a strident campaigner against big oil, and especially against BP.

bp1

A spy has sent in this photo of the Rainbow Warrior being filled up at the weekend – by BP!

Why isn’t the Rainbow Warrior running on biodiesel?

I guess it is the old maxim of a group saying “Do as we say, not as we do.”

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Hypcrisy alert

February 16th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Isaac Davidson at NZ Herald reports:

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples has defended his connection to the head of collapsed construction company Mainzeal after their relationship was criticised in Parliament. …

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has repeatedly questioned the relationship between the Government and Mainzeal since the company went into receivership last week, threatening 200 jobs.

He believed the Government knew of the firm’s difficulties but continued to give it lucrative contracts in rebuilding Christchurch. Yesterday, he highlighted Dr Sharples’ relationship with Richina Pacific chief Richard Yan, whose company owned Mainzeal.

Dr Sharples took a $10,000 donation from Mr Yan before the 2011 election, and has been a strong supporter of the Chinese-born businessman’s proposal to build New Zealand House in Shanghai.

Mr Peters said these actions raised serious questions about the integrity of government negotiations. “This is another example of big business influencing government decisions behind closed doors.”

Excuse me while I vomit. How can anyone seriously report anything Peters says about integrity and donations. Sharples reported the donation from Mainzeal, and as far as I know the Minister of Maori Affairs has no role in allocating construction contracts in Christchurch.

Compare that to Winston Peters who took hundreds of thousands of dollars from racing companies, never declared them despite being legally required to, and pushed policy highly favourable to them through Cabinet – again never having disclosed the donations both NZ First receive and he himself personally (they paid for his damages to Bob Clarkson).

And of course the Owen Glenn case where he arranged for a $100,000 donation to his lawyer to cover his legal fees, lied dozens of times over many months about the existence of the donation, and as Minister of Foreign Affairs tried constantly to gain a diplomatic appointment for Sir Owen.

The conduct of Winston Peters is the classic example of big business influencing government decisions behind closed doors. He and his party failed to disclose donations, he lied about them, and he actually advocated policies and decisions beneficial to his donors without ever disclosing the donations.

This is in stark contrast to Sharples who both disclosed the donation, and as far as I know has had no role at all in decisions affecting them.

The hypocrisy is monumental. This is like Richard Prosser calling for religious tolerance.

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A tweeting Minister

December 8th, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Fran O’Sullivan at NZ Herald writes:

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce has taken a leaf out of Obama’s book by taking to Twitter to chew out high-tech entrepreneur Selwyn Pellett for raising hell over the Endace takeover.

Joyce’s Twitter exchange was more prosaic than the US President’s, but no less focused.

What got up Joyce’s nose was the implication that Pellett – who is a cherished Labour Party favourite – was having a bob each way on the issue du jour: whether Endace should pay back $11 million of Government R&D loans it received before it passes into 100 per cent foreign ownership, substantially enriching its founders.

Let’s say upfront that Pellett has been a thorn in the Government’s side.

I expect he will be on the Labour Party list. He is their biggest cheerleader on Twitter.

He is a spokesman for the Productive Economy Council and has kicked the Government’s shins hard over its plans to sell down its holdings in state-owned assets. So it’s no surprise that Joyce – who has been remarkably unrestrained recently – took the opportunity to have a slash back. …

The Twitter battle between Joyce and Pellett was great sport:

“So you collect taxpayer support, decide to sell shares, make lots of money & then moan about it in @nzherald #unbelievable … BTW R & D co-funding is about doing R&D in NZ, not supporting individuals. But happy 4 u 2 repay so we can fund others,” Joyce tweeted at Pellett.

Pellett tweeted back: “Mr Joyce, you should check all yr facts. Interesting a Minister would target an individual for speaking out on policy.”

It’s called hypocrisy. It is fine to target people for that.

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The Hobbit hypocrites

November 27th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Claire Trevett reports:

Three Labour MPs, including its leadership team of David Shearer and Grant Robertson, will attend the red-carpet premiere of The Hobbit tomorrow despite strong criticism over the deal to appease the movie’s makers, Warner Bros.

The absolute hypocrites. You see it is not as if Labour just opposed the deal at the time – they have attacked it scores and scores of times over the last two years. Labour MPs rail against the deal constantly. Their policy is to reverse it. In fact their policy is to basically turn all contractors into employees, which would absolutely destroy global film production in New Zealand.

Mr Robertson denied it was hypocritical to attend the event after criticising the deal with Warner Bros which included a change to employment law to set out the legal status of film workers as contractors rather than employees. “I remain staunchly opposed to the legislation passed by the National Government in this matter. We thought it was wrong and unnecessary and still do.

Labour still seem unable to understand or accept that restrictive labour laws discourage films like this being made in New Zealand. They think you can have your cake and eat it also. Worse of all they backed the Australian union that instituted a global boycott against The Hobbit against the thousands of Kiwis who gained employment on it.

Normally I am an advocate of civility in politics, but this hypocrisy stinks to hell. If you see the Hobbit hypocrites on the red carpet tomorrow I encourage you to let them know what you think of their hypocrisy.

Mr Robertson said it was appropriate for him to attend – he was the MP for Wellington Central and The Hobbit had employed a large number of people in his electorate.

No thanks to you. Your union backers almost saw the film move overseas – and you backed them – and still do. Grant has a history of not backing his constituents – as when he filibustered his own local bill on behalf of the Royal Society of NZ based in his electorate.

The Green Party also criticised National at the time and a spokeswoman said none of its MPs were going.

Not hypocrites.

In 2010, the stoush was exacerbated by the Actors Unity proposing a “blacklist” on the Hobbit movies to push for a collective contract – a blacklist which was subsequently lifted. Actors Equity has said it was a scapegoat after official papers showed Mr Brownlee had advised that the real concern of Warners was the employment law change rather than a blacklist.

The very change that Labour fights against, and has vowed to repeal. They want contractors to be employees, even if the parties have agreed to be contractors, which is hideously complex and expensive for film productions.

And if you think there was no danger of The Hobbit moving, then read this:

“[Warner Bros] had sent a location scout around England and Scotland to take photos, and they literally had the script broken down to each scene, and in each scene there were pictures of the Scottish Highlands, and the forests in England… and that was to convince us we could easily just go over there and shoot the film,” he told Radio New Zealand.

All thanks to the Australian union and its supporters in NZ.

 

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Hypocrisy

August 15th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Greens co-leader Russel Norman says his member’s bill to restrict foreign land ownership is likely to be narrowly defeated
tonight by an ‘‘evil coalition’’.

If anything is evil, it is xenophobia.

The bill aims to retain New Zealand ownership and control of sensitive land and has the support of Labour, NZ First, the Maori Party and Mana.

However, Dr Norman said it was likely to be opposed by National, UnitedFuture and ACT.

‘‘The job of Parliament is to represent the will of the people and people don’t want land going into overseas ownership,’’ he said.

What hypocrisy. One week after around 80% of New Zealanders voted that parental correctional smacking should not be a criminal offence, the Greens voted down a members’ bill that sought to do just that.

If people do not want land to go into overseas ownership, then they should not sell their land to someone overseas. But it is quite a different matter to ban fellow citizens from selling their property to the highest bidder.

Under this bill, James Cameron would be banned from buying his Wairarapa farm, even though the benefits to NZ of having one of the world’s most influential movie makers owning land here is huge.

Norman’s bill would ban any foreign investment in land over 0.05 of a square kilometer! It would not matter how great the benefits to NZ are – a total ban. It is xenophobic hysterical nonsense.

Applications for purchases over 0.05 of a square kilometer are assessed against the national interest, under the criteria in the Overseas Investment Act. Deciding on the merits if each application is far more sensible than a xenophobic ban.

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Grey Power hypocrites

May 29th, 2012 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Grey Power have campaigned for years against means testing of superannuation. They steadfastly refuse to accept the logic that millionaires who do not need NZ Super, should not get it. They don’t have a problem with the fact someone could still be working at age 65 earning $500,000 a year and still get NZ superannuation.

Now it is a legitimate view to be against means testing of superannuation. I think it is the wrong view, but it is a legitimate one. Their official policy is:

That superannuation be accepted as an entitlement and non-means tested.

They also say:

Grey Power is fundamentally opposed to any type of targeting of those in receipt of New Zealand Superannuation.

But compare Grey Power’s policy on NZ superannuation which they get to their submission to Parliament on the annuity paid to former Prime Minister’s:

The sentence “[the] annuity is payable at the rate fixed by the Remuneration Authority and must be paid until the person dies” should read but cannot be claimed if the former Prime Minister is employed. It shall only be applicable when that person retires permanently.

So they are against means testing of their pensions, but for means testing of former PMs when it comes to their annuity.

Now one can have a legitimate view that the former PM’s annuity shouldn’t apply while they are still working. But it gross hypocrisy for Grey Power to argue that NZ Super should be paid to those still working, but not the former PM’s annuity.

I also love the rationale by Grey Power, which is that the Government should reduce their expenditure wherever possible. Yet they have a list of policy demands that would cost the country billions.

 

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Consistency

March 23rd, 2012 at 10:36 am by David Farrar

Labour voted that Winston Peters did nothing wrong when he consistently lobbied on behalf his then friend Owen Glenn to be made Honorary Consul to Monaco, without revealing that Glenn had paid $100,000 of Winston’s legal costs.

Yet Labour now say that Nick Smith writing a letter on behalf of a friend testifying to her health before an accident, is terrible, and there must be an inquiry.

Don’t get me wrong. My position all along is that Nick Smith was wrong to write that letter. And doing so on letterhead even worse.

But let’s just remember the huge hypocrisy of Labour and Winston here. Winston actively lobbied and pressured MFAT and Helen Clark of behalf of Owen Glenn, in his role as Foreign Affairs Minister. And never disclosing that Glenn’s ties to him. This all went to Privileges Committee, and despite a abundance of evidence, Labour voted against the Privileges Committee report. This act of tolerance of corruption was so sickening not even Labour poodle Jim Anderton could bring himself to vote against – he abstained.

And we won’t even mention their months of defence of Taito Philip Field, claiming all he was guilty of was working too hard for his constituents.

Again this is not a defence of Nick Smith. This is just pointing out the hypocrisy from Labour and Winston. Maybe someone could ask some of the Labour MPs who voted against the Privileges Committee report why it is bad for the ACC Minister to write a reference for a friend for ACC, yet fine for the Foreign Affairs Minister to lobby for a diplomatic position on behalf of a friend who paid $100,000 of his legal bills.

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Will anyone call him on his hypocrisy?

February 9th, 2012 at 3:04 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says John Key should also be referred to police over his hosting of a radio show, not just RadioLive. …

I’m staggered that Stuff have not reported on the hypocrisy of that statement by Peters.

You see in 2008, the Electoral Commission referred NewstalkZB to the Police, for a prohibited election programme. And what was that election programme? It was an talkback programme hosted by Winston Peters (and another one by Shane Jones).

So Winston in 2008, did exactly what the PM did in 2011.

Unless Winston is being a total hypocrite (which of course he is), one can only conclude that he thinks he should have been referred to the Police in 2008, not just NewstalkZB.

Unlike Key, who did not talk about politics, Peters said during his talkback hosting:

We don’t mind who you vote for in your first vote, but buy yourself some insurance and give New Zealand First your party vote, your second vote

The Electoral Commission concluded in 2008:

the talkback programmes hosted by Winston Peters MP and Shane Jones MP, and broadcast on NewsTalk ZB, were broadcast in circumstances amounting to the commission of offences for the purposes of section 80 of the Broadcasting Act 1989

So let’s not hold our breath waiting for Winston to demand that he also be referred to the Police. Hopefully though the media will at least mention the gross hypocrisy.

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I overlooked the hypocrisy!

August 29th, 2011 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

On Thursday I blogged my amusement at Labour criticising National for the fact it uses a template for its candidate announcements. Trevor Mallard had said:

Labour’s campaign chair Trevor Mallard said any ”fill in the blanks” type press statements were ”subject to ridicule”.

”It’s a sign of both laziness and also disrespects the electorate on the part of the candidate,” Mallard said.

Now my memory failed me. The correct reaction shouldn’t have been amusement but outrage at Trevor’s hypocrisy. Why?

Well I forgot how Labour set up a Government Communications Unit, also known as the Burns Unit. It consisted of five taxpayer funded press secretaries, and do you know what its job was? To produce hundreds and thousands of press releases for local newspapers, candidates and MPs. They’d take one standard press release, and stick in local data and send it to the local media. It was exactly what Trevor Mallard is now labelling as disrespecting the electorate. The difference is National has one staff member at Party HQ doing candidate releases, and Labour had a taxpayer funded unit of five full-time press secretaries dedicated to these “fill in the blanks” type press statements.

Again the hypocrisy is amazing.

Maybe Trevor forgot that Labour had their own taxpayer funded fill in the blanks press release factory. I doubt it though as the former head of the unit is now a Labour MP.

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Earthquake Memorial Day

March 8th, 2011 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

NZPA report:

Tens of thousands are expected at a national memorial service next Friday to mark the “terrible loss of life” in the Christchurch earthquake, with Cantabrians to get the day off to attend.

Prime Minister John Key this afternoon announced the service would be held at North Hagley Park in Christchurch on March 18. …

The Government would introduce legislation to make the date a one-off provincial public holiday in Canterbury so local people could attend if they wished.

Mr Key said Cabinet had considered a nationwide public holiday, but decided a provincial holiday better reflected what was needed.

I think a nationwide public holiday would have been un-necessary, even though many NZers will want to watch the service, they’ll do so in their workplaces. I like having it as a holiday in Canterbury though.

Labour leader Phil Goff said he had spoken with Mr Key about the proposed memorial service.

“I believe it’s totally appropriate to have a commemoration of the very large number of people who have lost their lives. This is an awful event and it’s one that we must treat with respect and we must acknowledge,” Mr Goff said.

“I’m not persuaded, however, that a day’s holiday is the best way of doing that.

“I’ve talked to people in Christchurch and they’ve said ‘we’ve got a huge job ahead of us, we’ll be flat out, how’s it going to help us if the rest of the country’s having a day off?’ and I think that that is right.”

The hypocrisy is staggering. First of all Goff is wrong – the rest of the country isn’t having a day off. Only people in Canterbury.

But it is the Labour Party that has been demanding for some months that the Government urgently amend the Holidays Act so people get an extra two day’s holiday this year because Waitangi Day is on a weekend and we have the 1 in 90 year occurence (next happens in 2095) of Easter Monday falling on ANZAC Day.

So Labour after spending months demanding two extra days holiday for the entire country this year, now are against having a provincial holiday to mourn our biggest ever natural disaster.

Do they even think about the word consistency?

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Arguably the most hypocritical statement of the decade

November 23rd, 2010 at 4:27 pm by David Farrar

Just when I thought their collective amnesia and rewriting of history could not get worse, Phil Goff hits a new record.

Here is the NZPA story:

Prime Minister John Key should stop protecting former minister Pansy Wong and sack her after she misused MPs travel perks, Labour leader Phil Goff says. …

“She is aware of when she broke the rules and how often she broke the rules. It doesn’t need a speaker’s inquiry to confirm that.” …

“I just remember the constant attention that was given to Chris Carter. No excuses for Carter. I never made any. Excuses are being made for Wong,” he said.

“Other MPs have been prosecuted criminally for doing what she has done. She is still there as an MP, she ought not to be.”

When asked about leniency for former Labour Minister Taito Phillip Field, who is in jail for misusing his position, Mr Goff said that case needed to be determined in court.

“He was prosecuted. He was booted out of the Labour Party and I say there is enough evidence that the same should happen to Pansy Wong.”

So Phil Goff is demanding Pansy be booted out of Parliament without even any sort of report or inquiry. Further down we will look at Labour’s record on this, but let us put things in perspective. Pansy claimed a perk she should not have. For doing so she was immediately sacked from Cabinet.

Numerous Ministers in the last Government had the taxpayer pay for things, which they were not entitled to. We paid for Shane Jones’ porn, amongst other things. None of those former Ministers have quit Parliament over it. Even Chris Carter was merely demoted from the front bench to the second bench. That was in fact a pathetic punishment.

But let us look at our friend Taito Philip Field. Did Labour sack him without even waiting for an inquiry? No, they did not. Here is what they did.

  1. Refuse to sack him when allegations arose before election
  2. Refuse to have an inquiry before the election
  3. Defend Field as being only guilty of helping his constituents
  4. After election announce an inquiry with no powers
  5. When inquiry finally reports (six months later – and Goff is complaining about a two week wait) it details dozens of abuses, lies and the like from Field.
  6. Amazingly Labour still defends Field, with Cullen saying he is only guilty of working harder for his constituents than National MPs
  7. Also Clark holds out the possibility that Field could return to the Ministry, despite the abuses listed in the report.
  8. And Labour at no stage move to evict Field from caucus for his criminal behaviour and multiple abuses. They only kicked him out when he publicly mused that he could stand for another party, if not re-selected.

So Goff’s hypocrisy is simply staggering. In Government they defended a corrupt MP, even after a damning report highlighted his abuses. In Opposition, they are demanding Pansy be sacked from Parliament without even waiting for any sort of report.

Let me be clear – if the report by the Parliamentary Service concludes criminal behaviour has been involved, then the Police should prosecute. Even if no criminal behaviour is involved, what emerges from the report may be serious enough that Pansy is not re-selected as a candidate, or even is expelled from Caucus. But those decisions can not be made without knowing the facts.

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Labour now against any land sales at all?

October 2nd, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Fuck they are getting more desperate. The latest in the Dom Post:

Labour is set to ratchet up the debate over sales of land to foreign investors, with figures showing the equivalent of 122 rugby fields of Kiwi farmland are approved for sale to foreign investors each day.

I assume that a rugby field is around equal to a hectare. So NZ has around 27  million rugby fields to sell. Over a year (assuming working days) that is 30 hectares sold, or around 0.1% of total land.

Over a decade, that would be a massive 1% sold. Oh fuck, how the hell would we cope with only the remaining 99%?

Even worse, by the year 3000 all the land may be gone. Well, only if you ignore that those overseas purchasers also sell their land eventually – sometimes back to NZ owners.

And in the past five years, 219 of the 222 applications lodged for a foreign purchase have been approved.

“Let’s send a clear message: We welcome your investment, but there are some things we don’t want your investment in and land is one of those,” Labour leader Phil Goff said.

Past five years? Hmmn. Who was in Government for most of that time? In fact who was the Minister in charge of promoting foreign investment into New Zealand? One Phil Goff?

Is there anything he will not turn his back on, in a desperate bid for relevance? Does he actually have a single core belief?

Labour sold NZ land at the rate of almost 300 rugby fields a working day – at three times the rate of sales under National.

So when exactly did Phil Goff decide this was wrong? When he was out there as Trade Minister encouraging foreign purchases of land?

Can he point to some memos he wrote as a Minister, pleading with his colleagues to clamp down on land sales?

Some 158,588 hectares was approved for sale – equivalent to about 591ha a week or 122 rugby fields every day since July 2005.

Of that 160,000 hectares Phil sold 130,000 of it, and National has sold just 30,000. Actually the land owners sold it, so talking about the Governments that approved it.

Also under Labour, Canadian pop star Shania Twain was allowed to buy 24,731 hectares of high country near Wanaka. Mr Goff admitted he was uncomfortable with the 2005 sale to Twain, although it had included many conditions and some sweeteners for the country

Really – prove it? Where are your memos and file notes, expressing your discomfort and arguing against it?

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Goff’s hypocrisy on foreign land sales

September 28th, 2010 at 12:25 pm by David Farrar

What did Phil Goff say yesterday about National’s changes to policy on foreign ownership of land:

Labour leader Phil Goff said it was a half-hearted effort that did practically nothing.

“It will do nothing to discourage the increasing foreign ownership of New Zealand land.”

Now I wonder how much actual land has been sold under National. According to Maurice Williamson it is 31,000 hectares or 310 square kms. That is an average of around 20,000 hectares a year.

And how much land was sold under Labour to foreign owners?

Over nine years, you would expect it be 180,000 hectares, if at the same rate.  In fact it was a massive 650,000 hectares!!!

Now personally I think it is a good thing Labour allowed NZ land owners to sell their land to the highest bidder, rather than be forced to accept lower bids.

But the hypocrisy is just staggering.

In a profile on new UK Labour Leader Ed Milliband, The Independent said:

He is soft, cuddly and panders to every oppositional instinct in the party. There has been no position taken by the Labour Government of which he was a member that he was not prepared to trash if he thought Labour members would like it.

Is that not a perfect description of Phil Goff?

  • One of the architects of GST campaigning against it
  • One of the architects of our inflation focused monetary policy campaigning against it
  • One of the Ministers who reaped $3b in profits from state power companies at a time of massive surpluses, now campaigning for them to be lower despite the record deficits
  • One of the Ministers who refused time after time to reduce the blood alcohol limit, not campaigning for it to lower
  • One of the Ministers who sold 650,000 hectares of land to foreigners, campaigning against 30,000 hectares of sales.

Someone should compile a fuller list of these. Feel free to add others to the comments.

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Do as we say, not as we did

June 30th, 2010 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

I seriously laugh out loud everytime I see Labour calling for the Government to reduce dividends from energy SOEs. They’re at it again:

Labour leader Phil Goff said there had been price gouging and state dividends were too high. He said Labour’s version of the ETS – which would have involved price rises double National’s – would have come with compensation for the worst affected. But Mr Key and State-Owned Enterprises Minister Simon Power said the Government would not change its dividend policy.

Useful reminder that Labour’s policy was to double the cost of the ETS on power and fuel users. This adds to their record of power prices going up 64% in their last seven years of office.

But back to dividends from power SOEs. Labour took a staggering $3.1 billion in dividends during a period of record surpluses.

Now when the Crown’s books face massive deficits, and we are borrowing $230 million a week, Labour thinks these dividends should be reduced.

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Goff on Tax

May 25th, 2010 at 3:46 pm by David Farrar

Some wonderful quotes from Hansard. First we have the General Debate of 24 Feb 1988:

From 1 April 1988 the rate of company tax will decrease from 48 percent to 28 percent, and that will create an environment in which enterprises can succeed—both New Zealand enterprises and those that are attracted from overseas. That, too, is the path to future sustainable growth.

So cutting the company tax rate to 28% in 1988 was the path to future sustainable growth, yet something he condemns today.

Then we have the Appropriation Bill (No 3) second reading on 10 November 1988:

Let us consider the Government’s track record. It has introduced a new taxation system that is closing off the loopholes that in the past made paying tax a voluntary exercise for many companies and some individuals. The top marginal tax rate was 66c in the dollar when the Government took office, but it is now half that level—33c in the dollar.

And reducing the top tax rate to 33% and closing off loopholes was also laudable according to Phil.

And finally the second reading of the Appropriation Bill (No 2) on 18 August 1988:

Taxation has gone from 48c and 30c in the dollar to 33c and 24c in the dollar. That reduction allows New Zealanders to keep more of their own money.

And an endorsement of dropping the top tax rate to 33% so NZers get to keep more of their own money.

Now to some degree all politicians will have made statements earlier in their careers, which they later change their mind on. However they tend to be fairly minor issues, not something as core as whether reducing the top tax rates is laudable or deplorable.  And these are not statements from when Phil was a Young Labour member, but as a Minister of the Crown.

Now in the budget debate the PM had a great time pointing out the massive hypocrisy in having the Opposition Leader condemn almost everything he had previously praised. And this is quite legitimate – it is not some sort of personal attack – it is highlighting changed policy positions. He then went on to talk about the budget itself.

Now Phil himself, and Annette, took Key’s speech in pretty good humour and were smiling at parts of it. They know that is what it is about. However the same can’t be said of some of the delicate wee flowers in his caucus who within seconds were whining on Twitter.

First Clare Curran complains:

Key starts his speech with a cheap shot. So Prime Ministerial!

That was in response to Key’s opening line that Shane Jones was really happy with Phil’s speech. Good God.

Then Clare complains further:

He’s a comedian. Does he take this country seriously! It’s embarrassing

So the PM is monstering you in the House pointing out (with considerable humour) that everything Phil Goff said is contradicted by what Phil previously said and your response is to complain he is being too funny.

But not just Clare. Iain Lees-Galloway joined in:

John Key thinks he’s on stage. What an embarrasment of a Prime Minister!

Personally I would be embarrassed to be tweeting such whines.

The trifecta was completed by Jacinda Ardern complaining:

hard to tell if this is a budget speech the PM is giving or a pep rally/stand up routine. yet to mention the actual budget.

I’m sorry guys, but it is such a bad look to be whining that your opponent’s leader is doing too good a job of winding his own troops up. Especially when your own leader’s speech was somewhere between awful and really awful (Goff generally has been much better in the house this year but his budget speech was just all over the place).

Finally Clare Curran declares:

Worst budget speech ever

People can watch the video and decide for themselves.

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Superb hypocrisy

May 5th, 2010 at 11:57 pm by David Farrar

This is George Rekers. He a leading US anti-gay activist who is one of the founders of the Family Research Council and a director of NARTH – the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality, which teaches men how not to be attracted to men. He has testified in court that the Bible is the infallible word of God and that homosexuality is a sin.

This is Lucien. He is a male prostitute, or a rent boy, and as you can see is available on rentboy.com. Lucien is 20 and claims to ave an eight inch uncut cock. I am no expert on these things, but understand most rent boys claim this size. Anyway back to the main story.

The Miami New Times reports that Mr Rekers and Lucien have just returned from a 10 day vacation in Europe. They were photographed arriving back in Miami together.

Now I know you are all assuming the worst, but there is an innocent explanation for all this. No Mr Rekers is not a hypocrite of the highest order. He did not spend ten days sinning with Lucien. He had a perfectly good explanation for their holiday together.

Rekers recently had back surgery and needed someone to help him with lifting his luggage!!!

I think there is a Tui billboard looking for a home.

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Mining under Labour

March 25th, 2010 at 4:02 pm by David Farrar

Quoting a release from Gerry Brownlee:

Labour’s hypocrisy over mining has been laid bare, says Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee, after new figures released by Crown Minerals today showed Labour approved more than 200 permits for mining on the Conservation Estate.

“This from the party that launched a campaign yesterday saying it was explicitly opposed to mining conservation areas – not just Schedule Four land, but conservation land full stop,” Mr Brownlee said.

Labour’s pledge of opposition to mining on conservation land is similar to their ax the tax campaign.

200 permits in just nine years!

“But if that wasn’t enough, we also have the release today of information that Labour approved a mining consent on land considered special enough to warrant Schedule Four status, the very behaviour Phil Goff has been decrying as unthinkable.

“It turns out Labour approved a permit in 2006 for mining gold, garnets and other gemstones on 168.5 hectares of land at Hart Creek, inside Paparoa National Park.

And they mined national parks.

“The information shows Labour were happy for mining to take place on 21,961 hectares of land, meanwhile the government is seeking approval to release a mere 7,058 hectares of Schedule Four land, of which as little as 500 hectares might be mined,” Mr Brownlee said.

My view is that mining applications should be decided on a case by case basis – as both Labour and National have done in the past. Economic benefits need to be weighed up against conservation value for each site.

Figures released by Crown Minerals [attached] show 218 permits were approved under a Labour government for mining inside Department of Conservation land between December 1999 and October 2008.

That is an average of one permit every fortnight was issued under Labour for mining on conservation land. I repeat one permit every fortnight.

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The travel subsidy for journalists

December 17th, 2009 at 3:49 pm by David Farrar

The media had a field day reporting and condemning the travel subsidy for MPs. For weeks on end we had story after story. But there was one story the media forgot to cover. It was the one about their massive travel subsidy to attend CHOGM in Trinidad and Tobago.

You see seven journalists flew to this lovely resort location on the PMs RNZAF aircraft. APN had one person attend, Fairfax one person, TVNZ and TV3 had two each and Getty Images also had one person. And they only had to pay $100 each.

Now if these media companies had to pay themselves to send their journalists, it would costs at least $4,000 economy to get there (including stop over). So this is a 97.5% subsidy for their travel costs. Or a savings of around $27,000 for the owners of those media companies.

If it is reprehensible that MPs get a 10% to 90% travel subsidy, then where has been the media outrage at this 97.5% travel subsidy?

What if a blogger decided he would like to attend a CHOGM in Trinidad and Tobago and got a lift over there with the PM for $100? Would that suddenly become a media story? You bet it would.

Now I am not saying that the media should not be allowed to travel on board the RNZAF plane if there is capacity. I’m not even saying that there shouldn’t be some cost saving for them (mind you 97.5% seems extreme). I am saying that it would be nice if they were as transparent about their own travel subsidies, as they were over those of the MPs.

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Urgency

October 27th, 2009 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Some Left-wing bloggers such as No Right Turn and Labour MP Grant Robertson are crying foul over the government’s use of urgency and getting stuck into Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee.

Now Labour are being rather hypocritical here, and I will explain the different sorts of urgency. In essence there are four version of urgency. They are

  1. Extraordinary urgency. This is incredibly rare and can only happen if the Speaker consents to it. It tends to be used for tax bills only, and means the House sits without pause (except meal breaks) until the bills covered by the extraordinary urgency are passed.
  2. Urgency to pass a bill through multiple stages. This is when the House goes into urgency (which means longer sitting houses) to pass a bill through all stages, without referring it to a select committee. This is generally quite undesirable as bypassing select committee both robs the public of a chance to submit, but also means drafting flaws are less likely to be corrected.
  3. Normal urgency. This extends the sitting hours of the House, and effectively cancels question time, but bills do not generally go through more than one stage at a time.
  4. Urgency with question time.This is when the Government goes into urgency to extend the sitting hours, but modifies it so the House can still have question time every day. This reflects the importance of the Opposition being able to hold the Government to account through question time.

Now a lot of people don’t realise that the House normally sits for relatively few hours each week. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays it sits from 2 until 6pm, then 7.30pm until 10pm. On Thursday it sits from 2pm until 6pm.

That’s 17.5 hours. That sounds like quite a bit of time for the government to pass bills. But remember that Question Time happens each day between 2pm and 3.15-3.30. On Wednesdays there is a general debate between 3.30 and 4.30. And every second Wednesday is a members’ day, when the government can’t advance government business.

All this means that in a normal week, the government gets only around 12-13 hours (depending on how long Question Time lasts) to pass Bills. Every second week it gets only 7.5 hours! I won’t even get started on urgent debates (granted by the speaker), motions of condolence, etc, all of which take more time. Overall it tends to mean less than 10 hours a week on average to actually pass laws.

Urgency means that the House extend its sitting times. From the day after the motion is moved (so Wednesday if moved on a Tuesday) the House sits from 9 am to midnight, which is 13 hours a day excluding meal breaks.

In theory the House could sit until midnight Saturday, which would be 58.5 hours. In reality normally the House still rises on a Thursday, so the extra time gained is Wednesday and Thursday mornings plus Thursday evening.

This is what the government has been doing lately – just extending the hours on Wednesday and Thursday.

The problem of lack of time to pass Bills is not one that has just affected this government. That is why Labour is being totally hypocritical over the use of urgency. Grant Robertson and Chris Hipkins in particular know better given they were advisors to the last government. Dr Cullen regularly put the House into urgency between 1999 and 2008 and a helpful reader has done the numbers for me.

In the 1999-2002 Parliament, Labour took urgency 22 times and extraordinary urgency twice. 23 bills passed their 3rd reading under urgency. Indeed in Labour’s first year in office, they took urgency ten times.

In the 2002-2005 Parliament, Labour took urgency nineteen times and a massive 78 Bills passed their 3rd reading under urgency!

In the 2005-2008 Parliament, Labour took urgency ten times and 48 bills passed their 3rd reading under urgency.

Urgency was often moved in October, November, and December of each year under Labour, as the end of the year approached. That’s what this government appears to be doing as well. It’s nothing to do with poor House management – it’s simply extending sitting hours in the traditional pre-Xmas period.

The other thing that I want to stress is that urgency normally  means question time is not held, how ever National has consistently arranged urgency so that question time is still taken, ensuring Ministers remain accountable to the House. This was very rare under Labour.

I expect as the Parliamentary term goes on the use of urgency will decline a bit. Further down the track the government might like to take a look at the sitting hours and practices of the House. Should the House sit regularly on Thursday night for example? Is there potential to have the House sitting regularlyin the morning even while select committees are considering Bills?

Personally I would change Standing Orders also, to reflect the different types of urgency. I personally would not call merely extending the sitting hours “urgency” if question time (and members day) is retained. I would also look at whether the Speaker’s permission might be needed for urgency which is used to bypass select committee, to make it harder for Governments to do so.

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Charles Chauvel on power profits

October 5th, 2009 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Press reported:

Labour yesterday called on the Government to stop taking big profits from the electricity state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

“The Government could do this today, with the instant result of lower electricity prices for hard-working Kiwi families and better security of supply from renewable energy,” Labour energy spokesman Charles Chauvel said.

The Government should tell electricity SOEs to cut dividend payments and invest the money in renewable generation that could flatten power price rises, he said.

I have previously blogged on the hypocrisy of Labour preaching lower profits, after it banked $3.1 billion in dividends from energy companies during their term of Government.

A Ministry of Economic Development energy outlook released this week says wholesale power prices are likely to rise by 40 per cent over the next 20 years.

That is much less than the near-50 per cent rise in some residential tariffs over the past five years.

40% over 20 years sounds a lot better than 50% over five years!

But is this standard hypocrisy, or even worse hypocrisy than normal? Because before Charles become an MP, he was a Director of Meridian Energy.

In fact Charles was Deputy Chairman of Meridian Energy in 2005. And what was the company’s net profit after tax in 2005/06? It was $857 million.

Yes in 2005/06 Meridian had an EBIT of $1.03b on gross revenue of $2.22b. Now some of this was from a one off sale, but that money could have been used to lower power prices, as Charles now claims should be done.

Now maybe in 2005/06 the Government was short of money, and didn’t think it could manage with a lower dividend and profit. So what as the deficit in 2005/06? Oh no – it wasn’t a deficit. It was a whopping $11.5b surplus.

So where was Charles in 2005 demanding Meridian pay a smaller dividend, when the Government had an $11.5 billion surplus? Oh he was writing the cheques out.

And now in 2009, when the Government is running a deficit of $7.2b (over 11 months), Charles and Labour cry out to make Meridian less profitable as he says a dividend of $294 millions is far too high.

I am going to enjoy repeating posts like this, everytime Labour call for reduced profits from Energy SOEs.

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And even better hypocrisy

September 1st, 2009 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Chris Carter is competing with his Leader for hypocrisy. Earlier today, I quoted Phil Goff arguing against mining on the conservation estate, and pointed out the Pike River Mine on DOC land was approved in 2004 by the former Labour Government.

Now today, we have Chris Carter blogging, and he says:

The DOC estate – some 30% of New Zealand’s land area – not only brings millions of tourists to this country, but also ensures that all Kiwis have access to quality outdoor pursuits, and that we are world leaders in protecting our unique biodiversity. …

So much for Mr Key and the National Party being ambitious for New Zealand!  I guess they’re being ambitious for the fishing industry, the mining industry, …

Now for those who don’t know, Chris Carter was the Conservation Minister who approved the Pike River Mine in 2004. He approved it over the objections of his own department who told him not to.

Now I think Carter made the right decision in 2004. But as he tries to portray himself as the protector of conservation lands against the mining industry, it is worth reminding people of those inconvenient facts that they hope we will forget.

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