Donation refunded

February 21st, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Electoral returns out next week will confirm that a National Party MP received $25,000 from a controversial businessman after Prime Minister John Key had a private dinner with him – at the man’s home.

The PM has always maintained that he met Donghua Liu at a National Party fundraiser but would never say where. Today, the Weekend Herald can reveal that the fundraiser was actually a private dinner at Mr Liu’s $4.75 million home in Remuera, where a smiling Mr Key and Jami-Lee Ross, the MP for Botany, were photographed alongside Mr Liu and his young family.

Afterwards, Mr Liu donated $25,000 that same month to Mr Ross’ election campaign. But the following year, Mr Liu became a political embarrassment for the Government after a Herald investigation revealed the impact of the property developer’s links to the National Party.

Shortly after the election, Mr Ross refunded the large donation from Mr Liu’s company – 15 months after it was given. Mr Ross has since disclosed the donation in candidate returns for the 2014 election due to be released by the Electoral Commission next week.

Mr Liu is upset that Mr Ross refunded the $25,000 cheque, which he regarded as a “slap in the face”.

The 53-year-old pleaded guilty to the domestic violence charges in April last year, but was in the Auckland District Court this week seeking to withdraw those admissions. He was successful and the case is likely to now head to trial.


Last night, Jami-Lee Ross said he did not intend to insult Mr Liu and any negative publicity associated to the businessman was not the reason the $25,000 was returned.

He said the Liu donation was given to be used in the local Botany campaign, but was not spent as a $24,000 donation from the National Party covered his expenses.

“So when the [donation and expense] returns were being put together after the election, it was decided the $25,000 should be returned to the donor because it was not used.

I think there is a useful lesson in this for National. I’m all for people donating to parties because they think a party’s policies will be good for NZ. But if a donation appears to be about influence, then parties should be wary.

Returning the $25,000 was the right thing to do, especially after the court case became known.It was of course not known at the time the donation was received.

The suggestion that it was returned because it was not used or needed is somewhat laughable. I’ve never known a party or candidate to return a donation on the basis they didn’t use it. Normally a party holds onto a donation as tightly as a crocodile holds onto its prey.

It is a good thing we have electoral laws that require transparency around donations. It allows the public to judge if they think a significant donation is appropriate or not. In this case, I think National’s concern was rightfully that it would not.

1950s calling for their grumpy old man back.

August 30th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Jami-Lee Ross writes on Facebook:

Wonders never cease – a letter to the editor in today’s local paper seems to take aim at every working mother.

The writer complains that a local board member seeking reelection has had a baby while in office. He wonders how this is “humanly possible” while also working, then asks to see time sheets for “domestic chores”. 

Yes, the target of the letter is my wife, but I can still hear the 1950s calling for their grumpy old man back.

Hilarious. Sad, yet hilarious.

Strikes and Lockouts

June 19th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

As reported last week, Jami-Lee Ross has a bill which will remove the prohibition on temporary labour during a strike or lockout.

Now I don’t have a problem with employers being able to use temporary labour to remain operating during a strike. Without that ability, a union can cripple an employer.

However I do have a concern over the possibility than an employer would lock out current staff, and use temps to force them onto a new contract.

Personally I dislike both strikes and lockouts. I think it is incredibly hard to have a harmonious workplace if either side resorts to the ultimate action of a strike or lockout. I am happy to say I may even dislike lockouts a little bit more, as I don’t like employers trying to force current staff onto a new contract. A shift from a current contract should be one that is mutually agreed to.

There’s even part of me that wonders if employers should have the ability to do a lockout? But as unions have the right to strike, I guess you need an equivalent power for an employer.

But how often do we have strikes and lockouts?

The average numbers of strikes every year since 1986 has been 66. The average number of lockouts is 2. So very very few employers ever resort to a lockout, as it should be.

The average hides the dramatic change over time as this graph shows.



You can see the impact of the Employment Contracts Act in 1991. It brought to an end the era of three strikes a week. The 4th Labour Government say 176 strikes a year. 4th National Government saw it drop to 52. 5th Labour Government was 35 average and the first term of 5th National was just 19 a year, or one every three weeks or so. It’s good we have fewer strikes that in the past, but just a few years ago there were 60 in one year under Labour.

Anyway the number of lockouts is extremely low. For the last decade an average of only one a year. So any claims of employers locking staff out should be read in that context.

However if the bill gets through a first reading, and makes it to select committee a possible option to be considered is to remove the prohibition on temporary labour for strikes, but not for lockouts? I’d be interested to hear debate on the pros and cons of that.

To my mind, that could be a good compromise as it would discourage both strikes and lockouts. If an employer can use temporary staff, then a union is less likely to resort to a strike, which is good. Strikes should be a last resort. Once you’ve had a strike it is very difficult to have a trusting employment relationship.

However if you allow employers to use temporary labour for lockouts, that could encourage some employers (not many I am sure) to do a lockout – and I view that as undesirable also.

So repealing the ban on temporary labour for strikes, but not lockouts, would seem to be a good compromise.

The Employment Relations (Continuity of Labour) Amendment Bill

June 13th, 2013 at 12:30 pm by David Farrar

Jami-Lee Ross has had pulled from the ballot his Employment Relations (Continuity of Labour) Amendment Bill. The purpose of the bill is:

to repeal section 97 of the Employment Relations Act 2000. Section 97 prevents the use of volunteers, contractors, or other casual employees by an employer during a strike or lockout

His rationale:

Any employment legislation needs to provide a balance between employers and employees to be fair. Section 97 creates an imbalance by providing unions with a significant legislative advantage during negotiations. The restrictions placed on employers preventing them from engaging temporary replacement labour to maintain business continuity duringa strike or lockout even extends to family members, volunteers, and willing workers from associated companies that may wish to work within an organisation to maintain business continuity. Restricting the ability of employers to engage temporary replacement labour can have a considerable impact on the productivity and financial viability of an organisation. These restrictions particularly affect the primary production processing industries where production cannot cease without considerable loss to a business.

As far as I’m aware, employees on strike can engage in other work, so it seems only fair employers can do much the same, and use temporary labour to keep revenue flowing. Otherwise a union action can cripple them.

Prior to the enactment of the Employment Relations Act 2000, no equivalent provision existed in any New Zealand employment legislation.

I’ll be interested to see what the situation is in other countries.

I think it is fair to say the the Labour Party will fight this bill with all their might.

UPDATE: It will be interesting to see how parties vote at first reading. We can assume National and ACT will vote in favour, and Labour, Greens and Mana against.

NZ First had this to say when the ERA was passed in 2000:

Part 8 – Clauses 97-111 – Strikes and Lockouts
Under these clauses employees are allowed to strike for a collective agreement, to obtain a multi-employer collective contract, and on the grounds of safety and health.

It prohibits an employer from using replacement labour during a strike but does not prohibit striking workers taking up other employment. This has the potential for a few employees to, in some circumstances, hold the employer, the industry, and sometimes the country, to ransom until their demands are met.

On the basis of their 2000 statement, one would expect they would at least vote for the bill at first reading so it can be considered by a select committee.

Don’t do it David

January 12th, 2012 at 10:29 am by David Farrar

Denis Welch blogs:

The Labour Party’s silence on the Ports of Auckland dispute is getting louder. Robert Winter has drawn attention to this in an excellent post: he says the dispute has become, potentially, the first defining moment for Labour under the new leadership of David Shearer, and they have to ‘step up and come out swinging on this issue.’

We wish. What is already remarkable about the dispute is how depoliticized it is, with not just Labour but all political parties keeping well clear of it. It’s a far cry from the days when ministers personally intervened in industrial action and Labour politicians sided with striking workers, even joining them on the picket line.

Oh I would love to see Labour MPs out on the wharfie picket line. That would be the best Xmas present ever.

But unless David Shearer is a moron, he will not be getting involved in this industrial dispute – especially as public support for the wharfies is confined to the UNITE union and the hard left.

When Denis Welch and Robert Winter urge David Shearer to get involved as a test of his leadership, they are not advocating in the best interests of the Labour Party – they are advocating for their views (nothing wrong with that) which are far to the left of Labour.

I don’t know if anyone has approached Shearer for comment or asked, um, wait a minute, who is Labour’s spokesperson on labour issues? I just looked it up: it’s Darien Fenton. Who knew? She may well be intensely credible on industrial relations but I don’t believe we’ve heard from her yet on the ports dispute.

I presume they have sedated Darien to stop her joining the picket line 🙂

The only Labourish public figure to even put a fingertip over the trenches so far is Auckland mayor Len Brown, and he has come down on the woolly side of woofterish by declaring resoundingly that he supports both sides.

There is an unhappy echo there of Walter Nash’s infamous response to the 1951 waterfront dispute when he was Labour’s leader: asked whether he supported the watersiders he said he was neither for nor against them. I have a horrible feeling that Shearer, if he ever does comment, will say much the same thing.

Shearer should choose his words more carefully than Brown, but he absolutely should not come out swinging for the Maritime Union. It would just pigeon hole him as captive to the unions which fund the Labour Party (MUNZ is one of them). Only 25% of NZers voted for Labour. I suspect not even a majority of those 25% have sympathy for militant industrial action from a union representing what must be the most highly paid unskilled jobs in New Zealand.

At the most you might get Shearer saying that he is against contracting out (as this is existing Labour policy), and wants both sides to reach a settlement. But he should resist all efforts to get him involved. He is the leader of the parliamentary labour party and of the opposition – he is not a union spokesman. Clark would have never got involved, and Shearer shouldn’t either.

Talking of MPs with a view though, a good column from Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross. He notes:

Every Aucklander has a stake in the Ports of Auckland. It is not a privately owned company. Nor is it listed on any stock exchange. Each and every share in the company is owned by the Auckland Council on behalf of 1.4 million Auckland residents and ratepayers. The destruction in value in one of our city’s largest public assets is alarming and has to be of concern to us all. …

But numbers aside, it is obvious that losing the trade of New Zealand’s largest company, only a month after losing the business of one of the worlds largest shipping lines, has to be a wakeup call. Yet sadly for the Maritime Union, it isn’t. Sadly for port workers and Aucklanders alike, the Maritime Union continues to be unphased.

This isn’t a story of a greedy corporate hammering the little guy. This isn’t a story of a David versus Goliath battle where workers are being ripped off or paid a pittance. Few could call poverty on an average annual wage for a wharfie understood to be north of $90,000, with a proposed 10 percent hourly rate increase and performance bonuses of up to 20 percent, sitting on the table. To the average person on the street, the latest Ports of Auckland offer to the Union would almost seem generous.

It would be most interesting if the Herald (or someone) did a poll to ascertain the public’s views on the stand off.

The trade union movement evolved through a desire for workers to band together to protect their common interests. This is not a dishonourable goal. But when a union loses sight of its members long term interests and cavalier negotiating tactics start to backfire, the union itself begins putting its own member’s livelihoods at risk.

Unions still occupy a privileged position in New Zealand’s employment law; a relic of the last Labour administration which has not seen significant overhaul for some years. Few non-government organisations can boast clauses in legislation specifically designed for their benefit. Despite only 18 percent of the nation’s workforce being unionised, trade unions can look to whole sections of the Employment Relations Act written exclusively to aid union survival through legislative advantage.

Unions do get many major legislative advantages. These should be reviewed. Take just one – why should employers act as unpaid fee collection agents for unions?

I say unions should be like any other incorporated society – let them invoice their members directly for their membership fees.

UPDATE: It seems Labour Whip Darien Fenton has been spotted on the picket line. No surprise, but will we see other Labour MPs join her?

Jami-Lee’s maiden speech

April 7th, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

New Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross gave an excellent and principled maiden speech to the House yesterday. Some parts I especially liked:

I didn’t have an easy start to life. It is a common misconception that National MPs were all born with a silver spoon in their mouth. That certainly did not occur in my case. My mother was young when she had me, and my father was nothing more than a faceless name that never stepped up to life’s responsibilities. Having just finished raising three girls on her own, my grandmother decided that it was her job to give her young grandson the best up bringing she could possibly provide. She raised me in our small flat in South Auckland, where we lived from week to week as she looked after her own frail mother at the same time. But my grandmother is the reason I didn’t become a statistic. In the most public way I could possibly say this, thank you Nana for the love you showed me, and for giving me the best start to life that I could possibly have asked for. May every child born into difficult circumstances in this country, be as lucky as I have been.

A lovely tribute.

Mr Speaker, I am a staunch believer in limited government. I believe government’s intervention in the lives of New Zealanders must be minimal and only when necessary. I believe the state should provide help to those in need, but on the basis of need, not desire. I believe that government must protect the private and personal security of citizens from foreign or domestic attack. I believe the state should provide access to essential services, like health and education, when the private sector is unable to provide these services profitably. And above all else, we should instil in the nation a culture of personal responsibility and self-sufficiency.

Hear hear.

It has been my observation during my time as a city councillor that as politicians we have a natural tendency to want to legislate, a natural tendency to want to throw funding at an issue, or to regulate, often in a way that limits the freedoms of everyday New Zealanders. I submit to the House that in making decisions, the principles of freedom and liberty must be overriding considerations in everything we do. In my view, one of the greatest observations of the 20th century came from Ronald Reagan during his first inaugural address. Speaking about the problems of decades of bloated bureaucracy, the problems of an over-reaching state, and the economic ills of a government that thought it could spend its way out of many of the troubles it encountered, he commented that government is not the solution to the problem, government is the problem.

Freedom, liberty and a Reagan quote. It could only get better with a Thatcher quote.

Governments shouldn’t be judged solely on how many laws they pass that, rightly or wrongly, increase the size of the state or further restrict our freedoms. Governments should also be judged on how many unnecessary statues and regulations they remove, further reducing restrictions and compliance regimes, and ridding the country of the shackles of socialism that have been built up over many decades gone past.

Socialism is a failed experiment. The socialist doctrine seeks to close the gap between rich and poor, a reasonable goal. But rather than doing so by incentivising wealth creation, socialism seeks to redistribute the limited resources of wealth creators by using the coercive power of the state. If tax and spend was all we had to do to achieve what we wanted, then every nation on earth would be a glowing utopia of human desire. Clearly, that is not the case.

Jami-Lee is so right, that t is a failed experiment.

If I may paraphrase Baroness Thatcher, the problem with this approach and the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money to spend. The problem with trying to spend your way towards closing the gap between rich and poor is that eventually we all collectively become poorer.

Yes, a Thatcher quote also. Superb.

Mr Speaker, as a new Member of Parliament, I join the ranks of members, past and present, proud to call themselves Maori. But whilst I am an individual of Maori descent, I do consider myself a New Zealander first and foremost. I have Ngati Porou blood running through my veins, but I can assure the House that I am a New Zealander who believes strongly in one standard of citizenship. …

It also means that I do not subscribe to the view that I, or any New Zealander of Maori descent, requires special seats to be elected to Parliament, to Councils, or any other body in this country. It is my hope that the people of New Zealand will be the given the opportunity, in the near future, to examine the role of Maori seats in Parliament by way of referendum.

As I blogged yesterday, Parliament has 21 (arguably 23) MPs of Maori descent now. This is proof that you don’t need the Maori seats to have Maori representation in Parliament.

Mr Speaker, I enter this House with a strong set of beliefs and ideals. I am a centre-right fiscal conservative – someone who believes in individual freedom, equality and the maintenance of law and order. Undoubtedly some of those ideals will be moulded and tempered over time to align with what is achievable. But whilst politics may be the art of the possible, politics without principle is nothing more than a naked power grab.

I want my constituents to have the right to exercise their free will to make the most of the time they have on this earth. I want our nation to be proud. I want our nation to be prosperous. I want every child born in New Zealand to be able to access quality schools and universities. I want every adult to seek to be a productive member of society where they do not have to rely on the state to prop them up. I want our nation to be a centre of brilliance, where achievement is rewarded and innovation and excellence can thrive, where we value and protect our personal freedoms, and where we celebrate every day all that is great about our New Zealand.

Mr Speaker, I am honoured to have been elected to the 49th Parliament. I come here to be what James Dilworth called “a good and useful citizen”. I am honoured to have been elected to serve the people of Botany, as their Member of Parliament. And serve I shall.

National is strengthened with the addition of Jami-Lee to its caucus. He’s off to a very good start.

Two more Maori MPs

April 6th, 2011 at 4:30 pm by David Farrar

Jami-Lee Ross does his maiden speech today, and I expxect Louisa Wall will be sworn in as an MP next week. What hasn’t been on is that this increases the number of Maori MPs by two (and sadly reduces the Ginga MPs by one). The House now has 21 23 MPs of Maori descent (have updated post to include two more MPs of Maori descent):

  1. National
    Paula Bennett
  2. Simon Bridges
  3. Aaron Gilmore
  4. Tau Henare
  5. Hekia Parata
  6. Paul Quinn
  7. Jami-Lee Ross
  8. Georgina te Heuheu
  9. Kelvin Davis
  10. Darien Fenton
  11. Parekura Horomia
  12. Shane Jones
  13. Moana Mackey
  14. Nanaia Mahuta
  15. Mita Ririnui
  16. Louisa Wall
  17. David Clendon
  18. Metiria Turei
    Maori Party
  19. Te Ururoa Flavell
  20. Rahui Katene
  21. Pita Sharples
  22. Tariana Turia
  23. Hone Harawira

So that is 23/122 MPs are of Maori descent, representing 18.9% of Parliament. Now this means that Maori are over-represented in Parliament, relative to their population proportion. Now I don’t think this is at all a bad thing. My belief is that Parliament should be diverse and broadly representative of NZ, but we shouldn’t have quotas trying to match the makeup of Parliament to the exact population.

But what it does show is how well MMP has worked for Maori representation. We now have seven Maori MPs in Maori seats, three Maori MPs in general seats (all National) and 11 13 Maori List MPs.

It also reflects my view that one could do as the Royal Commission recommended, and abolish the Maori seats (in exchange for no 5% threshold on the list for Maori parties). Even without the Maori seats, there would be at least 16 MPs of Maori descent in Parliament (and probably more).

Currently as I said Maori make up 18.9% of the House. This contrasts with being 15.2% of the total population and 12.0% of the adult (18+) population (which I deem as the appropriate comparison).

If there were no Maori seats, then there would be at least 16/120 Maori MPs which is 13.3% of the House – almost exactly proportional to the adult population.

I’m not an advocate of removing the Maori seats, without significant consent of Maori. It would cause significant disharmony to do so. But it would be good to have a sensible debate about whether the time has come to implement the Royal Commission’s recommendations.

What I like about the RC’s recommendations is you wouldn’t have the tensions of the Maori Party trying to represent all Maori – something that is impossible. With no threshold (effectively meaning 0.6 0.4%) for Maori based parties instead, it means you may get say three different Maori parties in Parliament – a radical Hone type party might get three MPs, a more right ring urban Maori party might get one MP, and an Iwi based party might get say two MPs. It would allow for better diversity of Maori opinion (in my opinion). Plus you’d have the Maori MPs in National, Labour and Greens.

Little change in Botany

March 5th, 2011 at 8:46 pm by David Farrar

Pansy Wong got 56% of the vote in 2008, and Jami-Lee Ross got 55% of the vote in 2011. The turnout was (I estimate) around 38%, which is very low – even for by-elections. The majority is 3,996 and will end up being above 4,000 after specials. The turnout is half that of 2008, so it’s equal to around a 9,000 majority in a general election.

Michael Wood got 28% of the vote, which is up from the invisible Koro Tawa. Of course there was no Green candidate this time as they didn’t nominate in time.

In third place with 10.5% of the vote was Paul Young of the New Citizen Party. Looks like he piced up some of the vote which went to Kenneth Wang last time.

Congratulations to Jami-Lee Ross, the new MP for Botany. He has a long career ahead of him. Kudos to Michael Wood also for a sold effort he’ll be pleased with.


February 4th, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Sarah Harvey at Stuff has done a profile and interview with Jami-Lee Ross, National’s Botany candidate.

In the past National has been perceived as having MPs who come from privliged backgrounds, ie Torys. This is less and less the case with each new intake of MPs, including John Key of course.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Papatoetoe. I was raised by my grandmother. I have never met my father and my mother was quite young when she had me so my grandmother decided when I was baby that she would take me on.

Grandma did a pretty good job I’d say.

What about in your personal life?

I have a pilot’s licence. I don’t get much time to fly these days. I guess when I was starting out as a teenager that was the direction I wanted to go in and started off pilots training. But once I got on the council I found that it’s fairly intensive and a full time job so I haven’t had time to pursue that – it’s more of a hobby now.

I know Wayne Mapp has a pilot’s licence also. I wonder how many MPs do?

If I had a pilot’s licence and a small plane, then paradise would be also having a home on Great Barrier Island and commuting to work by flying yourself!

Ross v Wood

January 28th, 2011 at 10:54 am by David Farrar

Both major parties selected their Botany candidates last night, and they have a certain amount in common. Both are married men in their 20s (actually Michael may have just turned 30) and both are currently elected local body representatives.

There are differences also of course. Jami-Lee Ross is local, and Michael Wood is not. Also Jami-Lee is on the Auckland Council, and Michael on the Puketepapa Local Board. Michael is a professional trade unionist and Jami-Lee has been an elected Councillor since he was 18.

Jami-Lee ran an error-free campaign for the nomination, and expectations are he will do the same in the by-election. He is an experienced campaigner and his wife, Lucy, works tirelessly on his campaigns also. People at the selection meeting say he gave a good victory speech, and importantly thanked Pansy Wong who still has considerable good will.

It is hard to see a scenario where Jami-Lee does not become the MP for Botany, and has a long parliamentary career ahead of him.

Incidentially the person most delighted with Jami-Lee’s win is probably Len Brown. Jami-Lee was very effectuive at holding the Mayor to account.

Labour’s candidate Michael Wood, is also expected to run an excellent campaign. Michael is an experienced campaigner and will be effective at prosecuting Labour’s case against the Government. Equally Jami-Lee will respond robustly.

Pansy won 56% of the vote in 2008 with a 10,872 majority. There is no doubt this will be greatly reduced. The Labour candidate in 2008 was pretty invisible and fewer than 70% of even Labour party voters voted for him. By-elections traditionally go against the Government (Mana was the exception). The majorities in the last few by-elections where the Government was defending a seat were:

  1. 1998 TKC – majority of 988 (down from 10,000+)
  2. 1994 Selwyn – majority of 428
  3. 1992 Tamaki – majority was under 1,000 off memory, vote share went from 59% to 45%

Add in that ACT are strong in Botany, and could campaign strongly and I’d say the likely vote share for National is betwene 45% and 50%. If you also add on that turnout will be much lower, I’d be pretty surprised if the majority was over 5,000 and could even be around the 3,000 mark. I would not read too much into that if it occurs, as at the general election it normally bounces back.

The Botany Five

January 20th, 2011 at 7:29 pm by David Farrar

National has annoucned the five short-listed candidates for Botany. In alphabetical order they are:

  • Maggie Barry
  • Aaron Bhatnagar
  • Darron Gedge
  • Jami-lee Ross
  • Edward Saafi

I picked four of the five correctly. I thought Denise Krum would make it also. Edward Saafi I had not profiled previously – his local body election profile is here. Dr Saafi has a PhD and MBA, working as a biomedical health research scientist. Seems a very solid candidate. However he appears to have stood for the Destiny Party in 2005 in Mangere, so I think fair to say not my first choice.

Selection is on Thursday 27 January.

Councillor calls for CMPT donation to be returned

December 13th, 2010 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Auckland Councillor Jami-Lee Ross has stated:

The Mayor of Auckland has been called on by one of his councillors to return a $3,375 campaign donation back to Auckland ratepayers.

The call comes after recent media reports of a donation to Mayor Len Brown from the Counties Manukau Pacific Trust. The charitable trust has been largely funded in the past by Manukau City ratepayers and continues to receive a $385,000 operating grant each year.

Auckland Councillor Jami-Lee Ross has written to Mr Brown saying he has a “moral obligation” to return $3,375 back to ratepayers. “This donation is highly questionable and, in my view, should never have been made. …

Mr Ross says the Trust’s connection to the city’s ratepayers is too close for it to have engaged in actively supporting election campaigns.

“There are very strong arguments that the donation is in effect public money, if not by definition, then by perception. The Trust’s own financial statements note that the Trust is considered a Council Controlled Entity.

“I have no doubt that the ratepayers of Manukau City would not have expected an organisation that has benefited so generously from Manukau City Council to be contributing to the election campaigns of political candidates. …

“Len Brown has a moral obligation to return the $3,375 back to the people that fund the Counties Manukau Pacific Trust. Doing so would be seen as testament to his honesty and integrity,” says Mr Ross.

The multiple links between the trust and the campaign, with an exchange of personnel, a probably illegal donation, and subsequent board appointments need investigating.

Also there is need of a culture change at the new Auckland Council for refusing to make available the donation and expenses return, unless you physically visit them. They won’t even allow journalists to take a photocopy.

This reinforces my view that the Electoral Commission should be placed in charge of all local body elections also. They have a good commitment to transparency.

Leaker sought in Auckland

November 30th, 2010 at 5:19 pm by David Farrar

No we are not talking about Andrew Williams. Len Brown doesn’t want the public to know who is recommended for CCO Board appointments according to the NZ Herald:

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has ordered an investigation into a councillor suspected of leaking the names of council-controlled organisation (CCO) board appointments.

A source close to Mr Brown said the mayor had “lost faith in a member of the committee and is asking the chief executive to conduct a full investigation into the leak of information”.

This followed online reports at the weekend that two people with close links to Mr Brown – former Manukau City Council chief executive Leigh Auton and former Manukau deputy mayor Gary Troup – would be appointed to CCO boards on Thursday.

That is the same Leigh Auton who refused the Ombudsman’s request for information before the election.

The mayoral source refused to name the member of the CCO strategy and appointments subcommittee suspected of leaking the information.

Asked if it was Jami-Lee Ross, the Citizens & Ratepayers co-leader who issued a press release at the weekend criticising CCO appointments based on “long-standing friendships and political campaign connections”, the source said “no comment”.

Yesterday, Mr Ross categorically denied leaking information to the Sunday Star-Times reporter who named Mr Auton and Mr Troup.

Mr Ross said he had been clear that he could not comment on who was being proposed for the CCO appointments but felt the item should not be conducted behind closed doors.

Jami-Lee’s sin was to propose that the appointments be done in public session.

C&R Candidates for Auckland Council

April 15th, 2010 at 11:52 am by David Farrar

This morning Citizens & Ratepayers announced an initial 11 candidates for the Auckland Council. They are:

Albany Ward

Linda Cooper is a current Waitakere City Councillor and was second highest polling in her ward. A former nurse.

Josephine Kim was the first Korean women to gain a NZ law degree


Chris Fletcher is the former Auckland Mayor, and quite a coup for C&R that she is standing on their ticket.

Paul Goldsmith is a current Auckland City Councillor.


Des Morrison, of Nga Puhi affiliation, worked for NZ Steel for 32 years and is currently on the Frankin District Council, where he was second highest polling in his ward.


Alfred Ngaro is a New Zealander of Cook Island descent and people tell me he is a real star in the mould of Sam Loti-Iiga. He has been active in the community sector for 20 years and has a huge network of people behind him. In 2009 Alfred Ngaro was awarded a Sir Peter Blake Emerging Leader Award for his contribution in the Tamaki Transformation Programme


Doug Armstrong is in his third term on Auckland City Council and is well known in his role as Finance Committee Chair. A former CEO of Unitec.

Te Irirangi (Howick)

Dick Quax is also well known. He received 17,000 votes for Manukau Mayor and easily topped the poll for the Pakuranga ward.

Jami-Lee Ross is on the second term of the Manukau City Council, and is known for his tireless campaigning.

Waitemata and Gulf

Michael Barnett, the Auckland Chamber of Commerce CEO will probably be up against Mike Lee in a Battles of the Big Beasts. Michael has been a member of the Auckland Regional Council for several terms.


Noelene Raffills has been on the Auckland City Council since 2000 and was the top polling Councillor for the Avondale-Roskill Ward.

Not that I think it is a huge issue, but some try to portray C&R as all white men in suits. Of the 11 candidates, two are of Maori decent, one Korean and one Cook Islands. And 4/11 are women. Reasonably diverse.