Mayor gets former MP $3,400 with no documentation

February 24th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Hamish Rutherford at Stuff reports:

Dunedin Dave Cull is defending a “gentleman’s” agreement which saw a former MP paid $3400 for lobbying following a handshake deal.

Documents released under the Official Information Act reveal that former Dunedin North MP Pete Hodgson was paid by the council to lobby the Government not to strip core functions of Ag Research Limited from Invermay, near Dunedin.

The council said the main point of contact for the deal with Hodgson was Cull, but could not locate a single email, contract or any other document relating to the agreement. Hodgson had provided “lobbying and advocating” on behalf of council, and that he had “contributed” to a letter to Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and a submission written to the board of Ag Research.

“Mr Hodgson did not provide any reports relating to his services,” governance support officer Grace Ockwell said.

Cull, a former TV personality, denied personally hiring Hodgson, but defended the deal. “I could describe it as a gentleman’s way of doing business in the south,” Cull said. He would be uncomfortable if the council always negotiated contracts verbally, but in this instance he was not concerned.

Taxpayers’ Union executive director Jordan Williams questioned whether the spending was appropriate.

“Though it’s a small amount, it suggests that Dunedin Council isn’t applying the most basic internal controls,” Williams said. What other government agency spends $3400 without any documentation?”

I have no real issue with the Dunedin City Council paying Pete Hodgson to lobby for them on an issue..

But to pay $3,400 with no contract, no agreement, no report, no agreed deliverables and not even an invoice is near unheard of.

If Cull did not hire Hodgson, who did? The ratepayers do not know, because there is no documentation.

A former Minister of the Crown of all people should make sure any contracts that involved public money being paid to himself are clearly documented and agreed. A verbal agreement between a former Minister and a City Council fails the most basic transparency test.

More info on this at the Taxpayers Union. It seems the $3,400 was for assisting with two letters!

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The right of response

March 22nd, 2012 at 12:22 pm by David Farrar

As I am a sad git with no life, I sometimes read the list of papers presented to Parliament for fun. Yes I do need to get out more often. Does an Abba concert tomorrow count? Though not.

Anyway amongst the papers this week, was a response from an Elspeth Buchanan, which had been accepted by the Speaker. This is not widely known but if an MP says stuff about you in Parliament, well you can’t sue them as they have privilege, but you can apply to the Speaker to have a response incorporated into the official record. This is quite rare though, hence I was interested in what it was about, as I had never heard of Elspeth Buchanan. Her response said:

On Tuesday, 6 September 2011, Hon Pete Hodgson referred to me by name during the committee stage of the Trade Marks (International Treaties and Enforcement) Amendment Bill. In his speech, Hon Pete Hodgson mentioned that I had commented on the bill when it was being considered by a select committee. His comments on my professional competence and my alleged opinions about the bill make me out to be both dishonest, as being in favour of sales of infringing and counterfeit products, and incompetent.

Mr Hodgson’s comments about me are incorrect and have considerable potential to damage my professional reputation. At no time have I advocated that there should be no restriction on the importation into New Zealand or sale in New Zealand of counterfeit or infringing goods. Rather, I have simply made submissions on the most effective way to restrain the importation or sale of infringing or counterfeit goods. Further, the derogatory comments made by Mr Hodgson as to my professional responsibilities and professional competence are wrong and completely without foundation.

This got me curious as to what Hodgson had said. While I have time for a lot of Labour MPs, I have to say Pete Hodgson was not one of them, as he was a chief muckraker. Normally though his target is other MPs.

Ms Buchanan’s firm of patent attorneys made a submission on the Trade Marks (International Treaties and Enforcement) Amendment Bill. The submission is here. It seems fairly unremarkable. There is no record of what Ms Buchanan said at her oral submission, but it was obviously something that Hodgson didn’t like.

Now look at Hodgson’s speech during the committee stage of the House debate. He refers to Buchanan no less than nine times, everytime in a derogatory way, such as:

Let me tell members what patent attorney Elspeth Buchanan has to say about these matters. “Patent attorney Elspeth Buchanan”—the newspaper tells us breathlessly—“knows how hard it is to tell knock-offs from the real thing.” It then quotes her as saying this: “ ‘I’ve been judging trademark infringements for 40 years professionally,’ ”—so Elspeth Buchanan is in her later years—“ ‘and I often can’t tell between the genuine and the fake,’ she said.” That is a pity, because that is what she is paid for. It is a bit of a shame, but anyway, there we are. She said that she has devoted her entire life to telling one from the other and she cannot, so I just wish her a really happy retirement, I do. It is just a shame that she has spent her life not being able to do what she is being paid to do.

That is such a nasty characterisation of what she may have said. You have to wonder if she dated him one at high school, and dumped him, he seems so nasty about her. the jibes about her age, how she should retire and the implication of incompetence.

We think Elspeth Buchanan is wrong, with a capital “R”. We think that Elspeth Buchanan should stand in favour of action against counterfeiters and people who are cheats and liars and stuff like that. She is a lawyer! She went to a law school, and she is letting these cheats and liars off. It is a disgrace.

And that is even worse. No wonder the Speaker allowed a response.

I highlight this matter not just to take a swipe at Hodgson (that is just an added bonus). I highlight it because I think Hodgson’s behaviour is hugely against the public interest.

We want citizens to make submissions to select committees. Generally we have an excellent select committee process. I am one of those who often submits on bills, and appreciates it is a bit of a privilege (but also a right) to be able to address MP directly on issues of concern. I have to say too I have always appreciated the fact that generally MPs from other parties have engaged with me on the issues, and I have always felt I got a good hearing.

But if submitters think that merely by saying what they think to a select committee will end up with them being abused and slandered in the House of Representative, it will deter people from submitting. Look at what Hodgson said about Buchanan, and think about whether you would want to risk having comments like that made about you, as a consequence of exercising your right to make a submission? Especially, when Hodgson’s comments come up second highest in a Google NZ search on your name. Hugely damaging.

I am not suggesting that MPs should not comment on what submitters said, and why they disagree with them. But what Hodgson said, and the way he said it, was grossly abusive and unfair. It also confirms all my previous prejudices about him.

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More fun games

May 26th, 2011 at 2:24 pm by David Farrar

I blogged Labour’s little fun game earlier today. Someone has also designed a couple of fun games of their own – you can make Pete Hodgson dance or kick Trevor Mallard.

Please note that I don’t endorse people kicking Trevor Mallard in real life, and I certainly don’t endorse anyone making Pete Hodgson dance in real life.

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NZPA on Hodgson

November 10th, 2010 at 5:45 pm by David Farrar

NZPA report:

A spokeswoman for Mrs Wong told NZPA yesterday the minister had sought Cabinet Office advice and had not done anything wrong.

“That advice is that there’s nothing wrong with witnessing a document as she did,” the spokeswoman said.

“The Cabinet Manual wasn’t breached, nor was anything else. It’s Pete Hodgson once again trying to muckrake and smear and it shows Labour isn’t focused on the issues that matter.”

That’s the official response. And the unofficial response:

Prime Minister John Key’s chief press secretary, Kevin Taylor, put it more bluntly when he reportedly told Radio New Zealand Mr Hodgson was a “f…wit” — a comment Mr Hodgson later said was not helpful or accurate.

Well I agree with Pete Hodgson, that the comment wasn’t helpful.

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Labour’s smoking gun

November 10th, 2010 at 11:38 am by David Farrar

Go read the article by Derek Cheng at the Herald, and then tell me if I have it wrong in concluding that Labour’s big issue is that Pansy Wong stated her occupation as “Minister of NZ Govt” rather than “Member of Parliament”.

Wow that will bring the Government down for sure. The quality of Pete Hodgson’s scandals seem to be declining rapidly and they were never that great to start with.

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Another Hodgson half truth

August 11th, 2010 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Pete Hodgson takes a break from his normal dirt gathering on John Key operation, to try a half truth. He blogs:

Declare ACC to be in big financial trouble, even though it collects about $1 billion a year more in revenue than it pays out in claims.  Rachet up the levies for everyone.  Single out motorcyclists for an especially harsh increase.  Then cut the cover for lots of things such as hearing loss.  Make it really hard for the victims of sexual abuse.

Monty comments on the post:

You just don’t do this very well do you? This post is one of the worst I have seen from labour MPs – but it is short on facts. The increase in levies is to future fund the committed claims and is actually an extension of what Labour were already doing – in fact Labour’s target was more ambitious than National’s Target which was extended.

Hodgson is just doing his normal smear with his claim that there is no need for levies to go up, and that ACC is collecting far more money than it needs.

If, and this is a big if, Labour were against ACC being “fully” funded to cover the future treatment costs of today’s accidents, then he would not be a total hypocrite with his post.

But Labour is in favour of full funding. They fucking introduced it. They in fact had, as Monty said, a more ambitious target.

One can have a legitimate debate about the merits of full funding ACC. But it is a desperate smear to attack National for running a cash surplus in ACC, when Labour’s policy is to do exactly the same thing.

UPDATE: I’m informed that the policy to fully fund ACC actually was initiated by National in 1998, so Labour did not introduce it, but they did maintain it for nine years

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A case for Pete Hodgson

July 16th, 2010 at 9:19 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A hit-and-run driver who left a man seriously injured on the road was tracked by police to the Prime Minister’s electoral office, northwest of Auckland. …

Sergeant Stu Kearns, of the Waitemata serious crash unit, said the 30-year-old victim was standing by his Subaru stationwagon about 7.20pm when he was struck by the van.

“The van then took off,” he said. …

Mr Kearns said the van was located about 8.45pm in the driveway of John Key’s electorate office on the same stretch of highway in Kumeu.

I am enthusiastically awaiting the press release from Pete Hodgson on how the PM was involved in this, on the basis of his research.

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MPs surveys

July 1st, 2010 at 12:44 pm by David Farrar

The muppets are up in arms over a postal survey from a National MP.

A reader happened to have received a copy of this survey from Labour MP Pete Hodgson.I’ll let readers make their own minds up about how outrageous (or not) these are.

I must say that the National graphic designer should get a pay rise – their surveys are far better laid out than the rather ugly Labour one.

Labour Survey

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Dim Post on Hodgson

June 16th, 2010 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Danyl is dangerous when bored:

Labour Party MP Pete Hodgson will be leaving Parliament to travel back in time and attack the reputation of Prime Minister John Key as a young boy, senior Labour sources announced today.

The Dunedin North MP plans to establish a new identity in the past where he can be close to the future Prime Minister – possibly as a teacher or friend of the Key family – and accumulate enough evidence to permanently damage Key’s reputation and preclude him from entering politics and becoming leader of the National Party.

‘We believe that as a ten year old child Key was involved in illegal currency speculation that badly damaged the New Zealand economy,’ Hodgson said. ‘We also have information suggesting that at about this time Key and his friend Derek shoplifted a pornographic magazine from a local dairy.’

‘I believe these crimes are related,’ Hodgson added. ‘My goal back in 1971 will be to piece together the evidence and present them to the New Zealand public. They will know that slippery John Key is not to be trusted even if the people of today will not. If I am successful the voters of 2008 will never even know Key’s name! How will you spin that Crosby/Textor?’

The Prime Minister refused to comment on Labour’s plan, saying only that he would be sad to see Mr Hodgson leave Parliament and adding that the Dunedin MP reminded him of an elderly man who lived next door to him as a child. ‘I don’t remember his name though,’ Key said.

Court records indicate a P Hidgson lived across the road from the Key family in Burnside during the early 1970s. He was later arrested in the United States attempting to blow up the headquarters of Merril Lynch in New York in 1981.

‘I often wondered what happened to that crafty old guy,’ Key chuckled. ‘He really had it in for me, always hatching some scheme to get me into trouble. When I think about it I wouldn’t be here today if I wasn’t for that sense of cunning and strategy he cultivated in me as a boy.’

I almost hurt myself from the laughter reading this one.

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Editorials 10 June 2010

June 10th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald says NZ Post must not alienate its customers.

What is surprising about the contents of a letter from the NZ Post board to the Government is the extreme nature of one of the options under consideration. That would see mail delivered every second day.

If enacted, this would be the equivalent of NZ Post shooting itself in the foot. In effect, the organisation would be conceding that postal delivery has become something of an irrelevance.

Advocates of such a move would say that is already largely the case. Over the past year or two, letter volumes have been declining by about 6 to 7 per cent annually, an unprecedented rate far in excess of the 1 per cent or so drop of previous years.

Almost all my mail now is junk. 80% of my suppliers now e-mail me statements etc.

That trend is almost certain to continue as more consumers embrace online communications and bill payments. But delivering mail every second day would surely serve only to accelerate the rate of decline.

Yes, but it would accelerate a decline in costs.

Of these, the ending of Saturday deliveries appeals as a reasonable first step towards cutting costs that would have little impact.

Australia and Britain long ago abandoned weekend deliveries, and the United States is about to do the same. It is remarkable that it has remained part of NZ Post’s contract with the Government for so long.

Indeed, it says much about the organisation’s service ethos. But relatively little mail is delivered on Saturdays, and the service would hardly be missed, even by old people, who rely more on mail than other groups.

A sensible first step.

The Press wants more cruise liners to Christchurch:

The idea of building a swept-up dedicated facility at the Lyttelton port to serve cruise liners is an attractive one.

In addition to the fact that the Lyttelton Port Company says that as its other shipping activities grow it has an urgent need for one anyway, a new, modern facility providing a good first impression for visitors to Christchurch and the wider region is certainly worth serious consideration. The port company has so far, however, not been able to persuade others who would have to put some money up to pay for it that the proposal is financially worth-while. Since they are the ones who would most benefit from the project, it suggests that some of the claims made for it may not stand up under closer scrutiny, at least not in the present financial climate. …

If a compelling economic case can be made that a better facility will increase the volume of traffic at the port above what would occur in any event, then the port company will deserve to win financial support for it. But money should not be put into it simply because it would make an attractive building on the waterfront.

The Dom Post says Peter Bethune is fighting the right fight but with the wrong tactics. I agree. The Dom Post incidentally has been a strong campaigner itself against Japanese whaling:

Supporters of New Zealander Peter Bethune, facing a Tokyo court after boarding a ship protecting Japanese whalers in Antarctic waters, are right to describe as bizarre Sea Shepherd’s decision to ban him from future protests because of his bow andarrows.

Taken at face value, it is a late development of responsibility from an organisation that has a well-deserved reputation for protests that cross the line into idiocy and endanger lives.

Its founder, Paul Watson, threatened in an earlier protest to ram his ship into the slipway of a Japanese whaler, saying he would give it “a steel enema”.

He has been reported as referring to Greenpeace as “Yellowpeace” over its refusal to use violence. In a 2007 interview with the New Yorker magazine, he said Sea Shepherd had sunk – in port – 10 ships. (The magazine credited Sea Shepherd with two sinkings and two attempts.)

That sits oddly with Sea Shepherd’s now announced stance of “aggressive but non-violent direct action”.

Indeed. It may be a publicity stunt to try and get a lesser sentence for Bethune.

Another is that, however much Bethune might wish otherwise, the case does not revolve around Japan’s shameful use of the scientific whaling loophole to pursue what amounts to a commercial operation in the Southern Ocean, but around charges of trespassing, vandalism, possession of a knife, obstructing business and assault – charges on which he appears to have received a fair trial.

Bethune chose foolish tactics to promote his views. The Japanese were entitled to use the law to test whether he went too far. He and his family must now be concerned that he will pay a high price for his high principles.

The four charges he pleaded guilty to were fairly minor, and if he is found innocent of assault, I hope he gets to come home soon. If he is convicted on the acid throwing charge, he may be in Japan for a fair while longer.

The ODT notes the retirement of Pete Hodgson:

Mr Hodgson was no novice when he sought public office. He had become the Labour Party’s master election strategist at a time when such essential duties were still of an amateur nature.

He became aligned with Helen Clark’s backers and by the time she achieved the prime ministership, in 1999, he had become a member of her trusted inner circle along with Michael Cullen, Trevor Mallard, Phil Goff and Steve Maharey.

She appointed him a minister from a caucus light on genuine talent and gave him a heavy workload from the start, reinforced by his task in Parliament’s debating chamber as one half of Labour’s heavy artillery in debates – the other half being another Dunedin MP, Michael Cullen.

As a minister, Mr Hodgson’s success was mixed. His generally detached demeanour – that of a strategist and pragmatic thinker – provided no profile with which the public could warm to, and Ms Clark gave him some most unpopular portfolios including climate change, energy and health.

In politics, nothing lasts, and it became clear Mr Hodgson’s star was losing its shine in 2008, when he was replaced as the party’s chief strategist for the forthcoming election by Helen Clark herself.

Mr Hodgson has generally been considered a well-liked and hard-working constituency MP who wore his political colours lightly when it came to representing Dunedin’s interests and the personal matters with which, as Dunedin North MP, he dealt on a daily basis.

Even in this professional political era, Labour will miss his strengths – and Dunedin will certainly miss his abilities and advocacy.

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Hodgson to retire

June 5th, 2010 at 10:55 am by David Farrar

I tweeted yesterday that I had heard a rumour that Pete Hodgson will announce his retirement this weekend, and the ODT confirms he has.

No doubt he will spend his last 18 months in Parliament trying to dig up H Fee Mark III on John Key, after the failure of H Fee Mark I and H Fee Mark II.

Asked if he thought he would be offered board appointments by Prime Minister John Key, Mr Hodgson said “No way”.

Thank God. Cullen’s appointment was bad enough.

I expect David Parker will get the nomination for Dunedin North. Despite being the MP for Otago for three brief years, he has always lived in Dunedin. Parker is ten years younger than Hodgson, and has performed pretty well in Opposition. In fact he might be a future Finance Minister in a Labour-led Government.

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H Fee Mark II

May 29th, 2010 at 8:04 am by David Farrar

Well I think Pete Hodgson’s career as a trusts lawyer (Cactus feel free to comment) is now well and truly over. For those who have not read the legal advice the PM has released, it is here and Key’s statement here.

I’d say this little attempt to smear Key has been about as successful as the last dozen ones Labour has tried, including their infamous H Fee attempt.

You have to wonder how many hours of taxpayer funded Labour work went into trawling through TV footage back to 18 months ago to find something he said at a dinner, and then digging through company files, all in a desperate attempt to prove wrong-doing in Key’s personal business affairs.

UPDATE: Tracy Watkins independently reaches much the same conclusions:

There is more than a whiff of the H-bomb debacle about Labour’s pursuit of John Key over his blind trust. That must be particularly galling for the new generation on Labour’s backbench.

The burning question is why anyone in their right mind would want to revive memories of a Labour Party that spent its dying days in office trawling through Australian court records for non-existent dirt on Mr Key. The equally troubling question for the rookies must be why Labour’s old hands are intent on repeating the same mistakes. …

Why so determined to drag him down? It is not personal. Labour just want to chip away at the fairytale. Mr Key’s rags-to-riches tale of a state-house boy made good is a huge political asset. Understandably, Labour sees a huge upside in denting that and its goal is to taint the fairytale with the usual big money associations. But it hasn’t done that so far with these latest allegations. Nor with the prevous attempts – which, in the case of the H bomb, came at a heavy cost. And the wounds from that had only recently healed.

So if Phil Goff’s leadership was supposed to turn a new chapter, why on earth reopen them – and, in the process, risk reminding voters that the old hands they voted out are still in charge?

There is no new chapter with Hodgson and Mallard still running things.

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Another Labour legacy

March 6th, 2009 at 7:38 am by David Farrar

Poor old Pete Hodgson doesn’t seem to have realised they lost the election, and is complaining that Jonathan Coleman is going to dismantle the Pacific division of the Immigration Service. The Herald reports:

Labour Immigration spokesman Pete Hodgson said Dr Coleman’s decision was short-sighted and based on political grounds because Labour had created the division.

So let us look at this wonderful legacy Labour left, according to an independent report:

  • the division had had no clear picture of its duties
  • lacked strong leadership
  • had become isolated from the rest of the Immigration Service
  • its leadership created an “us and them” approach
  • attitude prevailed among staff that its leadership was “untouchable”
  • staff were not properly trained or resourced
  • problems with inconsistent decision-making
  • difficult decisions were sometimes put in the “too hard basket”
  • staff morale problems included grievances over pay and conditions
  • poor internal relationships
  • concern regarding financial processes and compliance
  • huge backlogs of applications and issues regarding timeliness and quality

They should be proud.

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The Lower South Island Seats

November 14th, 2008 at 3:05 pm by David Farrar

Dunedin remains happily red. Labour beats National in the party vote by 16% in Dunedin North and 12% in Dunedin South. This is a lot better than 2005 though when the margins were 29% and 28% respectively.

Pete Hodgson had his 7,900 majority drop to 6,700, which won’t lose him sleep. David Benson-Pope had a 10,100 majority and new gal Clare Curran traded that for a still healthy 6,000.

In Clutha-Southland National gets 60% party vote to 30% for Labour. Bill English trades up his 11,500 majority for a 14,300 one.

Finally in Invercargill, National wins the party vote by 10%, after losing it by 1% in 2005. And Eric Roy’s 4,000 majority is turbo charged into a 6,100 one.

That’s the end of the series. All graphics taken from the NZ Herald. When final results come in, I’ll provide a lot more data.

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12 Questions

October 30th, 2008 at 8:00 am by David Farrar
  1. Did Helen not notice her party president – the Labour Party Campaign Chair and Manager, was out of the country trying to dig up dirt on John Key from 20 years ago?
  2. Did no one notice he was absent from the daily campaign meetings he normally chairs?
  3. Why were taxpayer funded members of Labour’s Parliamentary Research Unit also in Australia with Mike Williams trying to smear John Key?
  4. Who paid for all their travel?
  5. Does the head of the research unit still report unofficially to Heather Simpson?
  6. Is the Batman who posted documents anonymously to Dominion Post reporters the same Batman who is an author on The Standard and posted on the H-Fee earlier this month?
  7. Why did The Standard delete the previous post from Batman?
  8. Does this not link The Standard to Mike Williams and the Labour Parliamentary Research Unit?
  9. Is it not time that Labour fronted up and revealed how many of the 15 Standard authors are parliamentary and ministerial staffers?
  10. Who from Labour told Winston about the smear so he could refer to it on Alt TV?
  11. Doesn’t it undermine Helen’s claim she had nothing to do with it, when her parliamentary strategist Pete Hodgson is trying to beat it up?
  12. Is Helen just pretending she knew nothing about the attempted smear, or has she lost control of her party, her party president and her own research unit?
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Four more decisions from the Electoral Commission

October 9th, 2008 at 8:39 pm by David Farrar

The Electoral Commision has released four more decisons – all quite interesting.

  1. Display of anti-national banners by Clinton Smith was complained about by Cameron Slater. The Commission found that the banner and associated leaflets were election advertisements under the EFA. Smith claimed to have made a verbal promoter statement of authorisation. The Commission rejected this as being adequate and said tangible items can not have merely verbal authorisation statements. Therefore they found the items contravened s63(2) of the Electoral Finance Act. However they will not ask the Police to investigate Smith for an illegal practice as they found his breach was not wilful as he thought what he had done was necessary. And if does not constitute an illegal practice unless done wilfully.
  2. A Pete Hodgson fundraising letter for Labour. This was found to be an election advertisement in breach of s63(2) of not having an authorisation statement and 65(1) of not having been formally approved by the Labour Party. However once again they found the breach was not wilful and again no referral to the Police as it is not an illegal practice unless done willfuly.
  3. National MP Eric Roy’s advertisments in the Southland Express were complained about by Labour MP Lesley Soper. The EC made said “The Electoral Commission believes it is essential to democratic elections that parties can inform the public of the policies which will be implemented if elected and that, particularly in light of New Zealand Bill of Rights Act considerations, it would not be reasonable to regard mere statements of policy as election advertisements and subject to the restraints of the Electoral Finance Act.” They also said “Therefore the Commission is of the view that items which are accounts or reasoned criticisms of policy, or accounts or reasoned criticisms of actions or inactions, generally are not “reasonably” regarded as election advertisements as they are essential to informed democratic elections.“So what can’t you say? “The Electoral Commission considers that accompanying identification of the proponents of such items does not of itself convert the items into election advertisements, but disproportionate display of photographs, names or logos could do so. Other matters that might bring such items within the definition of an election advertisement include the addition of persuasive content which lack an information base such as party slogans, self promotion or unreasoned criticism of opponents, and exhortations to vote in a particular manner.” They cocnluded that Eric Roy’s advertisements were not election advertisements under the EFA.
  4. National MP Chris Auchinvole’s website was complained about by Oliver Woods. With similiar reasoning to above, the Electoral Commission found the website was not an election advertisement. So National continues to be one of the few parties to have never broken the new law.

In both the first two cases, illegal advertisements were published and the law was broken. But the finding of a lack of intent means no liability for the two individuals concerned.

Also of interest to some may be the news that as Kotahitanga Te Manamotu Hake Tiriti o Waitangi, the New Zealand Liberals, and the South Island Party all failed to register for the election, their $30,000 of broadcasting allocations was redistributed to all the smaller parties

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Craccum interviews some candidates

September 23rd, 2008 at 9:36 pm by David Farrar

Craccum did some fun interviews with a few candidates this week. Some of the questions they asked are worth repeating here.

Wellington is burning down and you can take only one other MP with you, who would you take and why?

  • Pete Hodgson (Lab) – Rodney Hide because he’s so full of piss, we could use him to put the fire out.
  • Pita Sharples (Maori) – Tariana Turia or she’d haunt me if I left her there.

If you can define your life in terms of isms, what would it be?

  • Aaron Galey-Young (UFNZ) – Antidisestablishmentarianism
  • Pita Sharples – Dreamism
  • Oliver Woods (RAM) – Social democratic left pragmatic nationalism
  • Nikki Kaye (Nat) – Environmentalism, capitalism, compassionism, sportism, wineism

What would be your ultimate campaign song and why?

  • Pita Sharples – ‘What’s the matter you ah shut appa your face’.
  • Oliver Woods – ‘Crush ‘em’ by Megadeth

Greatest New Zealander, Garth George or Owen Glenn?

  • Pete Hodgson – Tim Shadbolt
  • Pita Sharples – Kupe
  • Oliver Woods – The Mad Butcher
  • Nikki Kaye – There are many great kiwis but if I had to choose between the two I would pick Owen Glenn because of his suggestion to hold international volley ball competitions if he became consul to Monaco – that’s gutsy.

If you were Jim Anderton, what would you ban and why?

  • Pete Hodgson – Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
  • Peter Taskhoff (ACT) – I’d ban toxic politics but then Jim Anderton would be left speechless.
  • Aaron Galley-Young: Boy racers in public streets.
  • Pita Sharples – I would ban Jim Anderton.
  • Oliver Woods – Elderly, useless, conservative politicians.
  • Nikki Kaye – If I was Jim Anderton I would need a completely new wardrobe and I would ban myself from wearing short skirts.

A pdf of the Craccum article is here – backpage.

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Unfair to brick walls

April 7th, 2008 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The NZ Herald reports the Association of Medical Specialists:

“We got nowhere with [former minister] Pete Hodgson on that. It was like beating our head against a brick wall,” Mr Powell said.

“When David Cunliffe came along, it felt as though there had been a change of Government.

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The Listener on Hawke’s Bay DHB

March 12th, 2008 at 10:33 am by David Farrar

David Fisher puts his investigative skills to good use in the latest issue of The Listener. The article will not be online for a week or so, so I really recommend people interested buy a copy.  Some key points I noted:

  • The e-mail between Hausmann and CEO Chris Clarke in January 2006, discussing details of the contract Hausmann was tendering for, was only accessed by Board Administrator Deborah Houston as she was filling in for his PA. Hence there may have been many more e-mails like that.
  • King’s appointment of Peter Hausmann was at whim, and while legal (she can appoint anyone she wants) failed to follow best practice by having the potential appointee go before an interview panel.
  • The Cabinet Appointments and Honours Committee staff alerted King’s office to the extent of Hausmann’s conflicts of interest
  • A senior Ministry of Health staffer wrote a letter describing Hausmann’s appointment as posing a “huge risk”.
  • Peter Hausmann asked for an inquiry not just into his own actions, but for a full review of the Board’s performance and governance. The Ministry of Health advised there was no need for this, and that it should be into Hausmann’s conflicts only as they believe “these are prima facie serious matters”.
  • Pete Hodgson ignored the Ministry advice, and by making the review so much wider, meant the review took much much longer to complete, which in itself led to greater dysfunction.
  • Ray Lind recorded several conversations with staff and board members, without telling them at the time.
  • These secret recordings were only discovered when PWC audited the e-mail system and found Lind had e-mailed himself a copy – the e-mail had been deleted but was on the backup tape.
  • Hausmann had access to the RFP months before his ten competitors did, and at least one of them complained about the lack of time to respond when it went public
  • The e-mails to and from Hausmann regarding the RFP were deleted from the DHB’s e-mail system. This is arguably illegal under the Official Information Act.
  • The only backup tape which had the e-mails was May 2005, and of the 12 backup tapes given to PWC, it was the only one damaged.
  • DHB Management were severely criticised by the Audit Office for another (Wellcare Education) contract they gave to Hausmann’s company.
  • An e-mail from Hausmann, after he was appointed to the Board, was sent to a senior manager extensively advocated on behalf of Wellcare Education, which Hausmann’s company’s owned.

The failings of both King and Hodgson, but also Lind and Clarke seem numerous. Deleted e-mails, official advice ignored, preferential treatment, secret recordings, appointments without interviews, to name a few.

What Annette King has yet to answer is why she appointed Hausmann? She says she just met him and as impressed with him.  But why did she ffail to follow best practice? She says she was not legally obliged to do so.  Fine, we know that.  But the question is why did she not have an interview panel as normal?

And has Pete Hodgson explained why he ignored the advice from Ministry officials who had no political interest in the outcome? Did he talk to King before making that decision? Did he talk to Hausmann, Clarke or Ray Lind?

And why did DHB management not once, but twice, fall over themselves to give preferential treatment to Hausmann?

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