September 23rd, 2010 at 5:58 pm by David Farrar

The Government has announced:

At New Zealand Post, Hon Michael Cullen has been appointed chair from November 1.

Thanks National. Words are inadequate to describe how I feel. The closest sensation it reminds me of is a colonoscopy.

Cullen replaces Jim Bolger, so at least it means there won’t be any change in policy!

The republic debate

September 2nd, 2010 at 11:34 am by David Farrar

About to hear from Michael Cullen and Dean Knight on republicanism. Dr Cullen described himself at morning tea as a “moderate monarchist” and not too far away from Dean Knight whom he called a “moderate republican”.

Jim Bolger is the Chairman. He has been talking for around five minutes so far. I should run a book on whether he will end up speaking for longer than the actual speakers 🙂

Heh. Dean just said that after reading in the Herald on Sunday that Dr Cullen now supports NZ becoming a republic, he wondered if he should just sit down and claim victory. Jim Bolger retorted that instead he should just not read the Herald, which got good laughs. It seems Dr Cullen feels they mis-stated his position.

Dean advocates a minimal change republic. Promote the Governor-General from being the effective Head of State to the actual Head of State – but with the same powers.

The selection of the Head of State should not be hereditary, discriminatory and foreign, Dean said.

The GG is currently effectively appointed by the Prime Minister. Dean advocates that Parliament should approve any appointment by a super-majority.

In terms of the Treaty obligations, Dean states these have already been transferred from the British Crown and Govt to the NZ Government, and these would not be affected by a move to the republic.

Dr Cullen has said that the GG is indeed our effective head of state. He points out the unusually, the selection is purely by the Government of the day.

He rejects the notion that the Queen is foreign, and that being a monarchy means we are not independent. He says countries like Australia and he UK are not fully foreign, as other countries are. Also says Canada shows you can be regarded as absolutely independent yet they have kept the Queen.

Cullen says if no change is made, Charles will become King of New Zealand automatically when he become King of the UK, even though he will probably be 80 when it happens.

Cullen totally against Judges being able to strike down laws on the basis of supreme law. Will lead to highly politicised Judges. Says if the move to a republic is dependent on having a written constitution as supreme law, then both Charles and Williams will have happy reigns as Kings of New Zealand.

Says if NZ Head of State has executive powers, then elect at large. But if they have no executive powers is silly to have an election for it, as they will have nothing to run on. I agree.

One amusing observation made by Bolger is that he and Cullen are old sparring partners, but now are the Chair and Deputy Chair of NZ Post!

A diagnosis for Bolger

July 13th, 2010 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Southland Times reports:

Bronwyn Fox knows where she is from but has no idea where her accent originated.

The Invercargill woman believes she has foreign accent syndrome – a rare condition believed to be caused by damage to the part of the brain that controls speech.

Fewer than 100 people in the world have been officially documented as suffering from the syndrome, which leaves them speaking with an alien accent.

In the case of Mrs Fox, it is a mixture of Welsh, Scottish and North London accents.

Jim Bolger was famous for subconsciously adopting the accent of whichever foreign leader he was speaking to. Maybe this is the reason why – he had “foreign accent syndrome” 🙂

Postal deliveries

June 9th, 2010 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Saturday postal deliveries may be axed or posties may call only every second day as NZ Post looks to keep its mail business profitable in the face of people switching to email.

In a letter to State Owned Enterprises Minister Simon Power, obtained under the Official Information Act, chairman Jim Bolger said the NZ Post board was looking at several options, including “reducing the number of days that mail is delivered”.

Mr Bolger said yesterday that deliveries every second day were an option. “Personally I don’t think you could rule that out”, but that was not a NZ Post position. “There is only one message – mail volumes are going down worldwide. Digital technology is replacing hard copy.”

However, a spokeswoman for Communications Minister Steven Joyce, who must approve a change in delivery days, said no option had yet been presented to him. “He would take a lot of convincing.”

I think canning Saturday deliveries is a no brainer, and even going to deliveries on Monday, Wednesday and Friday only is worth considering. I really doubt there are many people who need to get their mail every day.

Most houses did not receive a piece of mail every day and some got only one letter a week.

Would be interesting to see exact stats on that, but they sound right to me.

Postal Workers Union advocate Graeme Clarke said an end to Saturday deliveries would be popular among the 1200 posties he represented – provided they were paid the same.

What world does Mr Clarke live in? Why on earth would anyone expect to continue to be paid to work six days a week, when in fact they only work five?

Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing secretary Andrew Little, representing 4500 NZ Post workers including 2000 posties, was not opposed to five-day-a-week deliveries in principle. Deliveries every second day would be another matter.

Good to see Andrew not entirely opposed. I think deliveries three times a week is also worth looking at – it could significantly reduce the cost of postage. Remember the purpose of having a postal system is not to create jobs, but to provide an efficient and effective communication service.

Issues of bag weights and pay would need to be discussed.

If bags are heavier, then could be fair enough to look at an increase in hourly rates to compensate. However that is very different to Mr Clarke just saying we should be paid the same for working one day a week less.

Bolger keeping busy

September 30th, 2008 at 9:57 am by David Farrar

Tim Donoghue details how busy Jim Bolger is, and also how he is getting paid more than when he was PM!

  • Chair of NZ Post and Kiwibank – $165,144
  • Chair Gas Industry Company – $85,708
  • Chancellor of Waikato University – $25,350
  • Former PMs pension – $40,250
  • Former MPs pension – will be large as served from 1972 to 1998
  • Chairman of Kiwirail – probably $80,000 or so I estimate
  • Chair of Trustees Executors
  • Advisory Board of World Agricultural Forum
  • NZ-US Council
  • Board of Ian Axford Fellowshops in Public Policy

I know some Directors who serve on boards with Bolger and they rave about his chairmanship skills. I guess having chaired Cabinet with Ruth and Jenny in it, prepares you for anything 🙂

Coddington’s column

September 28th, 2008 at 12:30 pm by David Farrar

Deborah’s column has a few things in it I can’tr resist responding to:

More puzzling than Helen Clark’s refusal to sack Peters is Key’s rush to judgment, ruling out working with NZ First before the committee’s report was tabled.

Key’s no crystal-ball gazer; he can’t know for sure NZ First won’t be back in November.

No. As he has said he would rather remain in Opposition than rely on Peters, as he can’t be trusted. It is called a principled decision. To be fair, it is also probably a recognition that such a Government would only last weeks or months anyway.

Contrast this with the National Party campaigning for convicted paedophile Peter Ellis’ innocence when he’d been found guilty by every court in the land.

How this is even relevant, I don’t know. But it is not National campaigning – it was Katherine Rich and Don Brash. But asking for a Royal Commission into the Ellis case (something I support) is not about campaigning for a paedophile – it is about campaigning for a better justice system.

Several years ago a National insider who quit the leader’s office told me if the party ever dies, trace the DNA back to McCully.

“He’s a trench fighter, and all his decisions are made according to what’s good for him. He was behind Jenny [Shipley] rolling Jim [Bolger], then he pushed Jenny over.”

This is why I responded, because I know this is false. McCully was not supporting Shipley. Far from it – he was a member of the Bolger team trying to defeat her coup. This is a matter of fact – many witnesses would testify to this.

A current National staffer says he overheard MPs discussing what they’d do about Peters if he held the balance of power after the election, and McCully expostulated; “The f***** wants my portfolio.”

This seems unlikely to me. Up until the donations scandal this year, National were actually quite keen to do a deal with NZ First. I know this, because it worried me. It was very well understood that Peters would keep Foreign Affairs and McCully was very relaxed about this state of affairs. This was common knowledge.

Peters has no-one to blame but himself. National were all set to do a deal with him if he made it back. But during the course of the last seven months, he has shown himself to be a man who can not be relied upon.

An excellent appointment

April 29th, 2008 at 10:15 am by David Farrar

The Government announced yesterday that Iain Rennie has been appointed State Services Commissioner.

I regard this as an excellent appointment. Rennie is held in high regard in Wellington, and is a straight shooter. I can’t think of many people who would have a bad word to say about him. People who have worked with him also say he is very affable and approachable.

His appointment was recommended unanimously by a panel of Jim Bolger, Dame Margaret Bazley, Stan Rodger and David Parker. I think it was wise to not just have it done by the Minister. Hell, we may have ended up with Mike Williams as State Services Commissioner then 🙂