Dunne against charter schools

April 19th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Andrea Vance reports:

 

Revenue Minister Peter Dunne says he will vote against legislation establishing charter schools.

 

However, the Government still looks to have the numbers, with the Maori Party giving support at the Bill’s second reading. …

Dunne says he’s not convinced by the charter schools model and he is particularly concerned at proposals which will allow charter schools to employ teachers who are not registered or nationally certified.

The United Future leader is also worried the schools will not be compelled to follow the National curriculum.

“The current system already provides for a significant range of schooling opportunities, and I cannot see there is a need to introduce the partnership schools approach to achieve the level of flexibility the proponents of partnership schools are seeking,” he said.

The select committee recommended that charter schools be subject to investigation by the Ombudsman.

The independent schools will receive the same per-child funding from the Government but are less-tied to Education Ministry regulations.

So the likely vote is 63 to 58.

 

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Now we know what the Greens mean by Green jobs!

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

TVNZ reports:

Metiria Turei’s claim that Maori growing marijuana are developing entrepreneurial and horticultural skills has been slammed as “mind-blowingly ridiculous” by Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne.

The Green Party co-leader made the comment on Maori TV’s Native Affairs programmethis week, but she has been cut down by Dunne, who branded the claim as “ridiculous” and “irresponsible in the extreme”.

In the show, Turei said growing the illegal drug helps develop “real skills” among Maori, particularly in disadvantaged areas.

This is what you have to look forward to if there is a change of government. I wonder if you will be able to apply for an entrepreneurial grant to help pay for your cannabis plantation?

He said her claims that growing cannabis could teach people much-needed skills, was akin to saying “a safe cracker is teaching his apprentice engineering skills”.

Peter Dunne is talking common sense on this. I actually support a change to our drug laws, but the last thing you want is MPs praising drug dealers as entrepreneurs.

However, Labour’s social development spokesperson Jacinda Ardern said Turei’s comments highlighted the difficult situation many families find themselves in New Zealand.

Oh, Good God.

Incidentally the video clip used by TVNZ appears to be taken from the Whale Oil blog You Tube channel, without attribution!

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Disquiet from Dunne?

March 8th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Peter Dunne blogged:

This government prides itself on a business like approach to issues. It likes to cut through quickly and resolve issues before they get too bogged down in red tape. For many New Zealanders, this pragmatism is welcome, coming after years of stultification and wariness under successive previous governments.

A lot of this change is due to the attitude and style of the Prime Minister, who is focused on achieving things and making a difference. In general, it is an approach which has worked well and probably explains in part at least why the government remains so popular in its fifth year in office.

But, as a couple of recent examples show, there is a danger that the cut through which has been one of the government’s hallmarks will become a major problem for it.

Take the case of the Sky City Convention Centre proposal. There is no doubt Auckland needs a world class convention centre, and that in all probability, Sky City is arguably in the best position to develop such a facility. No problem with that, subject, of course, to the specifics of the deal stacking up. But as the Auditor-General’s report shows, while there has been no impropriety in the process followed by the government, it did play very fast and loose at times.

Similarly, with the Hobbit movies. No-one seriously opposed making the movies here, and the government would have been roundly criticised if let the opportunity slip through its fingers, but as the various documents recently released show, the government’s enthusiasm for the movies being made here did get in the way of the facts from time to time as deals were struck to ensure the right outcome.

There is a time-bomb warning to the government here. Support for the cut through approach will wither if it is seen to be a standard proxy for bending the rules or doing special deals to achieve the desired outcome. While the government is not immediately vulnerable on this issue, the clock has started ticking.

I think at the heart of what Dunne is saying, is that Governments should not be seen to be picking out individual companies to do “deals” with. There is a difference between measures which favour a specific sector such as relaxing RMA rules, making mining easier, tax rebates for films – and “deals” with specific companies.

In the two cases cited, there were unusual circumstances for both, which won’t generally apply across the board.

The Hobbit “deal” was basically triggered by the malign acts of an Australian union official who was trying to blackmail the production through an international boycott. The union represented almost no actual New Zealanders and was trying to muscle its way in. If MEAA had never triggered a global boycott, then the crisis that caused the deal would never have eventuated. It was an own goal. But the key point, is that it was forced on the Government. And in the end the agreement they came to with Warners did not apply just for that production or that company.

The proposed (not yet agreed) Sky City deal for some regulatory changes in return for building a $350 million convention centre is a deal with just one company. This is not ideal. But the reason it is that way is because we have a law that prohibits any further casinos in New Zealand – there is a monopoly in Auckland – Sky City. Hence there is only one company you can negotiate with if you want to negotiate regulatory changes in return for more investment. If I had my way I’d get rid of the silly ban on more casinos so we have multiple operators.

Anyway the point I think Peter Dunne was making is that these two cases should be exceptions, not the rule. And I agree with him.

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A lie

February 15th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Adam Bennett at the NZ Herald reports:

But he [Prosser] hit out at leaders of other political parties who said he shouldn’t be in Parliament.

“Anyone can throw that mud and frankly many of the people throwing it shouldn’t be. You look at the likes of Peter Dunne. He’s a man who campaigned on the basis of not supporting asset sales and now he’s supporting them and he’s not only in his own mind fit to be an MP but fit to be a Cabinet minister.

This is a lie. Peter Dunne explicitly said before the 2011 election:

In principle, UnitedFuture does not advocate selling state assets, but in the event National puts up its mixed ownership model for the electricity companies and Air New Zealand we would be prepared to support that, provided the maximum was 49%, with a cap of 15% on any indivudual’s holdings. We would never support the sale of Kiwibank, Radio New Zealand or control of water assets.

The unions and Labour campaigned against Peter Dunne on the basis that he was going to vote for asset sales. Everyone knew this. People just like to repeat a lie, to try and make it stick.

A desperate attempt to deflect.

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Labour on Dunne and Nazis

June 27th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A Labour MP drew parallels between the National Party and Adolf Hitler as controversial legislation allowing partial asset sales passed by a single vote.

The Opposition benches cried “Shame!” yesterday as National’s junior whip Louise Upston cast the decisive proxy vote of UnitedFuture MP Peter Dunne, which saw the legislation pass by 61 votes to 60.

Mr Dunne was not at Parliament for the vote because he was attending the funeral of his son’s girlfriend’s mother.

In a statement, he said he had intended to speak in favour of the bill at its final reading, which was in the “best long-term interests of the country”.

Opposition MPs continued to insist Mr Dunne had misled voters over his views on the partial asset sales plan.

Labour’s state-owned enterprises spokesman Clayton Cosgrove said Mr Dunne’s vote was “a travesty of democracy” because he had said he was against the sale of water resources before last year’s election.

Labour are trying to rewrite history. Not a single voter in Ohariu thought a vote for Peter Dunne was a vote to stop asset sales. Dunne’s reference to water resources was about water supply companies, not about power companies that use water.

Check  this thread out from May, where you have quotes from leftie activists before the election about how they need to stop Dunne as he is a vote for asset sales, plus this explicit quote from Peter Dunne:

in the event National puts up its mixed ownership model for the electricity companies and Air New Zealand we would be prepared to support that, provided the maximum was 49%, with a cap of 15% on any indivudual’s holdings

So Labour is clearly lying when they say Dunne misled voters. In fact that is exactly what they are doing, and are masters of.

Some believe the Government has no mandate for the sales because several polls have shown a majority of voters are against the policy.

Labour’s Wigram MP, Megan Woods, said yesterday: “Hitler had a pretty clear manifesto that he campaigned and won on … does this make what he did OK?”

Oh dear, where do we start with Dr Godwin.

Let’s even put aside the implicit comparison of partial asset sales (a policy scores of left wing governments around the world has also implemented) to the Nazis, Hitler and the Holocaust. Frankly if Dr Woods want to make such stupid comparisons, I urge her to carry on doing so. They reflect far more on her and Labour, than anyone else.

But what really annoys me is her woeful knowledge of history. Only those with a superficial scraping of history repeat the line that Hitler was democratically elected, as if he won a majority of seats. He was and did not.

In July 1932 the Nazis got 37.3% of the vote and just 230 out of 608 seats. In November 1932 the Nazis got fewer votes at 33.1% and 196 seats only. They made up only three of the 12 Cabinet members. He then seized power through various ways.

Also the assertion that Hitler had a clear manifesto he implemented is also woefully ignorant of history. Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers’ Party campaigned as an anti-big business and anti-capitalist party, with a later focus on anti-semitism and anti-marxism. Their 25 point plan did say Jews can not be citizens, and would be foreign guests who could be expelled. But that is a long way from saying “Oh yeah, we will exterminate them also”. People may be interested in some of their other policies:

  • We demand the nationalisation of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).
  • We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.
  • We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.
  • We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.

UPDATE: Dr Woods has apologised.

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Non voting shares

June 21st, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Vernon Small at Stuff reports:

The Government has backed down on a move that would have allowed it to sell more than 49 per cent of partially privatised state assets, providing the extra shares did not carry voting rights.

Fairfax Media highlighted the loophole in April and it is understood that sparked a backlash from United Future leader Peter Dunne. It is understood the Government made a U-turn after Dunne dug in his toes, arguing the wording in the Mixed Ownership Model Bill would breach his party’s support deal with National.

Last night SOE Minister Tony Ryall moved the amendment to the Bill, which changed the requirement on the Government from retaining 51 per cent of the shares with voting rights to 51 per cent of all shares. …

But under the wording originally approved by ministers, the companies could have issuing or sold non-voting shares, diluting the taxpayers’ slice of the dividends and profits that the companies generate.

In April a spokeswoman for Ryall said voting rights were the best way to measure ownership, because it was the voting shareholding that determined the ability to control the companies.

Non-voting shares are effectively more a type of debt, rather than equity. Basically it is debt, with a variable return. If you get none of the benefits of ownership such as voting, it is not ownership.

Just as non voting shares would reduce the taxpayer share of dividends and profits, so would increased debt – in that the interest on the debt would mean less profit and hence dividend.

So I didn’t think that there was an inconsistency. However perception can be very important, and hence it is not a bad thing that the Government agreed to the United Future change. It means that at least on this issue, there can’t be any scare-mongering that the Government will dilute its 51% with non-voting shares.

Personally the actual issue non-voting shares would have been highly unlikely. It is an unusual way to raise capital. People generally want a guaranteed rate of return, or a stake in the company.

It also is useful for Peter Dunne to be able to demonstrate that he got a change in line with his confidence and supply agreement.

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A great own goal

May 19th, 2012 at 10:09 am by David Farrar

A wonderful own goal at The Standard. Zetetic blogged on Peter Dunne:

He lashed out that those who pointed out he’s voting for asset sales he never told his electorate he would support.

Now this is a lie the left keep repeating. And watch it bite them hard.

Pete George pointed out this was a lie and Eddie ranted:

three choices. Present evidence Dunne explicitly said he would support the partial sale of the energy companies and air nz, withdraw your comment, or face a three month ban. 

So Mr George gets to work.

First he brings up this quote from Zetetic him or herself:

and National is on a razor edge, with a 2 seat majority but the rest of Parliament opposing asset sales if ACT and Dunne lose, or on Dunne.

Absolutely proving Zeletic is lying about Dunne. He warned people before the election that a vote for Dunne was a vote for asset sales, and then afterwards he claims no one knew a vote for Dunne was a vote for asset sales. I think we now understand why he or she does not dare to post under their own name. They would be unemployable.

A second quote is found, this time from Eddie before the election:

This is high stakes stuff. If ACT goes and Dunne loses too, as looks likely, National will be bereft of natural allies. And National’s support is tracking down to the point where it can’t govern alone. The Banks endorsement should only make that more likely.

What happens in this scenario? There would be no parties that would support its asset sales policy through Parliament, except perhaps the Maori Party

So Eddie is also exposed as a liar. Remember this if anyone from the left ever claims Peter Dunne’s position was unknown – the left were actively campaigning against him on the basis they knew he had said he would vote for partial asset sales proposed by National.

Eddie, also very glad he does not use his full name or possibly even his real name, doesn’t give up and basically says that what he said is not important, but that he will ban Pete George for three months if he doesn’t come up with something directly from Dunne.

Then the final knock out blow as Pete George quotes from a live chat on Stuff:

The Dominion Post:
To Peter Dunne, from Joe Brown: Will you say no to all state asset sales like Labour and Charles Chauvel have this year?

Dunne Peter:
In principle, UnitedFuture does not advocate selling state assets, but in the event National putst up its mixed ownership model for the electricity companies and Air New Zealand we would be prepared to support that, provided the maximum was 49%, with a cap of 15% on any indivudual’s holdings. We would never support the sale of Kiwibank, Radio New Zealand or control of water assets.

Game, set and match to Pete George.

A huge thanks to The Standard. The left have got away with lying about Dunne for months on end now. Thanks to this thread they started, we now have nice documented proof that they have been lying.

Labour with their proxies in “People’s Power Ohariu” have an Operation Ohariu next weekend to try and build opposition to asset sales. I wonder how many of them will also spread lies about Dunne’s position?

I’d point out in Ohariu National got many mroe party votes than Labour and Greens combined, and that Dunne and Shanks (both known to vote for the mixed ownership model) got almost 20,000 electorate votes between them and Chauvel got 13,000 and Hughes 2,000 so not even close.

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United Future and asset sales

March 14th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Some on the left have been pushing a message that United Future did not say they will back asset sales before the election, so hence there is no electoral mandate for them. This is, to be frank, absolute crap. I doubt a single voter in Ohariu voted for Peter Dunne thinking he might stop National’s asset sales. If Ohariu voters wanted to stop asset sales, they could have voted for Charles Chauvel. Instead Chauvel lost for the third election in a row.

In this video, Peter Dunne explicitly refers to asset sales and say they are on National’s path but UF will make sure three key assets are never sold – Kiwibank, Radio NZ and “our water”. The reference to our water is to water supply, as made clear on their website here.

UnitedFuture does not intend to wait until it is on the asset sales agenda. New Zealanders would never – or should never – accept a sell-off of the supply of the water, or any of the aspects around it.

A few people have tried to say that as power companies own dams, and dams use water, then somehow the reference to water is actually saying they are against the power companies being sold. Well that is like saying you’re against Coke being sold, as that also uses water.

Further their website stated:

 with regard to Asset Sales, UnitedFuture will insist that:

- The New Zealand Government retains majority control (51%)

- Shareholding by private investors be capped at 15%

- New Zealand household investors are given preferential purchase right at time of issue.

This is clear that they will support National’s proposed (part) sales so long as they remain majority owned, a 15% cap and preferential treatment for NZ investors.

Further Peter Dunne attended a dozen or more public meetings in Ohariu, and he was asked about asset sales at basically every meeting. His response was the same at each meeting – they will support the five partial sales proposed so long as 51% Govt owned, 15% cap and preference for NZ investors, and they will not support RNZ, Kiwibank or water supply companies being sold.

No one thought a vote for Peter Dunne was a vote to stop National’s asset sales. I doubt 57% of National party voters would have voted for Peter if they thought that voting for him would be voting against a core National party promise.

It is a lie invented by the left to try and get around the inconvenient fact they actually lost the election. Peter Dunne’s position before the election on asset sales is exactly the same as it is now.

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Max the Tax

July 19th, 2011 at 4:30 pm by David Farrar

I asked on Twitter whether Labour were likely to use their “Ax the tax” bus in the election campaign. Lots of humourous feedback, but the best retort came within a few seconds from Revenue Minister Peter Dunne who said they were going to rename the bus to “Max the Tax”.

Whale has provided this new graphic. Thanks to Peter for the slogan, which I suspect we have not have heard the last of.

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Heh

July 6th, 2011 at 3:51 pm by David Farrar

Revenue Minister Peter Dunne says:

Foreign scammers might have over-stepped the mark with the latest target of their tax refund email scams, says Revenue Minister Peter Dunne.

Mr Dunne and members of his staff received emails today telling them they had tax refunds waiting for them and only had to click on the given link and fill out a claim form to get them.

I’ve had a few of those myself. At the moment I seem to be getting a lot of Paypal ones.

“Inland Revenue would never send you a hyperlink in an email. Delete the email from your inbox and trash folders,” Mr Dunne said.

He said it was notoriously difficult to track down those behind such scam emails and websites.

“So it is likely either Nigerian scammers or Labour trying to add to its email databases.”

Heh.

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Caption Contest

June 3rd, 2011 at 8:06 am by David Farrar

Peter Dunne “planking” on Backbenches. Good on him for taking up the challenge from a viewer, but nevertheless can’t resist a caption contest.

As always, funny not nasty please.

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A speech by Peter Dunne

May 11th, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

An amusing and at times apt speech by Peter Dunne to his electorate AGM. Some extracts:

One reason I am very confident National will lead the next government is that Labour, at this point in the political cycle, is not a viable, functioning alternative.

 Actually, I am being polite here.

 Events of recent times bring the term ‘cot case’ to mind.

 With no new faces on their front bench, they are essentially going into this election with the re-heated caucus that New Zealanders threw out three years ago, and as one would expect, they seem bereft of new ideas.

 It is not really possible to generate new ideas when you have yet to accept that your old ideas have been rejected.

All too true.

When I first turned my head to this speech, Rodney Hide was still leader of ACT and Osama bin Laden was still in ensconced in his Pakistani fortress.

 They have both since met merciless fates, one at the hands of the US Navy Seals, and the other at the hands of a force considerably more scary.

 One is now a bloodied corpse; the other at the bottom of the sea.

Heh.

There is another thing that Middle New Zealand does not want.

 And I am going to speak his name: Winston Peters.

 His obfuscations, half-truths, dancing on the head of a pin and, ultimately, his destructiveness, finally caught up with him in 2008.

 My only concern about Winston Peters in 2011 is a very simple one: that people will have short memories.

 Actually, he relies on that.

 He counts on it.

 One can only hope that his recently auctioned ‘No’ sign goes on a national tour later this year, stopping in every town hall and Grey Power meeting five minutes after Winston Peters darkens its doorstep.

It may not be the original, but you can bet NO signs will be appearing most places Winston does.

People need reminding in one simple word of the destructiveness and duplicity that Winston brought to New Zealand politics.

 There is no more apt reminder of why New Zealanders should not have Winston Peters back – ever – than that sign.

 That sign said it all, but in a way that he never intended. It should be his political epitaph. ‘No.’

 I salute John Key for ruling him out yet again as a potential coalition partner.

 It was bold and it was principled, just as it was in 2008.

 Running a country is hard enough; you need to do it with people whose word today means what it meant yesterday, and will mean the same tomorrow.

 The wink, the grin and a good deal of opportunistic fact-free scare-mongering should never again be enough for Winston Peters to re-enter a House that has been more honourable for his absence.

Absolutely.

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Wellington quake risk buildings

March 7th, 2011 at 4:37 pm by David Farrar

Ohariu MP Peter Dunne did a good public service by getting the WCC to release a list of buildings that may not fully comply with modern earthquake standards (note some may now comply, so don’t make hasty decisions based on this info – ask landlords for more info).

Luke Howlison has put those buildings onto a map, which makes it very easy to use.

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Gift Duty abolished

November 2nd, 2010 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Brian Fallow in the Herald reports:

The Government is to abolish gift duty, confident any risks to creditor protection or the targeting of social assistance programmes can be met by other laws.

The 125-year-old tax has brought in an average of $2.2 million a year over the past seven years, and on a declining trend.

But officials estimate it imposes $70 million a year in compliance costs on taxpayers, or rather on non-taxpayers, as only about 900 or 0.4 per cent of the 225,000 gift duty statements filed to the Inland Revenue a year disclose a liability to pay the tax.

A sensible move by Peter Dunne. Peter has been a revenue Minister in three separate governments, and has actually a achieved a lot of useful reform.

The good news with the law change is that Kiwblog readers can now donate more than $27,000 per annum to me, without attracting gift duty :-)

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Dunne v Zealandia

October 29th, 2010 at 6:00 am by David Farrar

Peter Dunne has done a PR:

Zealandia’s proposed rotenone poisoning of the upper lake and tributaries of the Karori wildlife sanctuary is quite literally “short-sighted, ideologically driven extremism”, UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne said today.

“The fact that Zealandia – with the backing of DoC and Wellington City Council – is poised to flush a waterway system with rotenone within the city boundaries in the name of conservation is almost beyond belief,” said Mr Dunne.

“To poison a lake and all of its tributaries in order to kill some introduced trout, which most people see as a positive recreational resource, just because they are an exotic species is just crazy.”

It does seem over-kill, literally.

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Child Support Changes

September 3rd, 2010 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Peter Dunne has released some options for change. A summary document is here. There seem to be two major changes proposed:

  1. That child support payments should take account the income of the parent with majority custody, not just the parent who has to pay.
  2. That there should be more recognition of the amount of time non custodial parents spend with the kids. AT present if it is under 40% you get no credit – they propose that if the kid/s spend more than 14% of the time with you, this should be reflected in how much child support you pay.

Some non custodial parents get a raw deal at the moment. They split with their partner. The partner gets custody against their wishes, so they lose their partner and their kids. They are earning say $35,000 a year. The partner is earning $100,000 a year, and getting child support payments from the non custodial partner on $35,000 a year. And even if the $35,000 a year partner looks after the kids every weekend, they get no credit for that.

Now many custodial parents also get a raw deal, where the other parent disappears overseas, and pays nothing. That is a harder problem to fix.

A new blogger at Gotcha, Blondie, has some issues with the proposed changes:

Sec­ondly, under the pro­posed for­mula, if the cus­to­dial parent’s income increases, the child sup­port lia­bil­ity decreases.  Thus, if the cus­to­dial par­ent works harder to get a payrise, their ex – not them­selves, not the child, but their ex – ben­e­fits.  This just doesn’t seem right.  It would reduce the incen­tive for cus­to­dial par­ents to be pro­duc­tive – after all, why strive for a payrise if you won’t ben­e­fit from it?

I presume the abatement rate will be fairly low, so that any payrise for the custodial parent will mean they still receive benefit from it.

It will grate some that their payrise means their ex will benefit, but this is already what happens with the non custodial parent. They get a payrise and the ex gets more money. What this change will mean is that if either ex-partner gets a payrise, both they and the ex will benefit (but not to the same degree).

The Herald editorial is supportive:

Reform along some of the lines suggested in a Government discussion document is overdue. Eighteen years have passed since the system was last overhauled. Much has happened subsequently to warrant change.

The document, Supporting Children, has an array of options. One of the most eye-catching is that the income of both parents should be taken into account when childcare payments are set.

That seems a reasonable notion given more women are now in the workforce, especially in part-time jobs. Additionally, it is right in principle that parents should provide financial support according to their capacity to do so, whether or not they are living with their children.

Indeed, such a change would echo the situation if the parents were still together.

You can share your views direct with IRD at their dedicated website. The online survey is well done, as it makes it far easier to complete than sending in a formal submission.

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Labour selections

February 1st, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Labour has announced four selections, reports the Herald:

Labour has already chosen its 2011 election candidates for Auckland Central, West Coast-Tasman, Ohariu and Maungakiekie.

First-term list MP Jacinda Ardhern will contest Auckland Central and Carol Beaumont, also a list MP, will contest Maungakiekie. Both are held by National.

List MP Damien O’Connor will try to take back West Coast-Tasman, the seat he lost to National in the last election.

Senior MP Charles Chauvel, another list MP, will contest Ohariu, which is held by United Future leader Peter Dunne.

I wonder why Labour did not open nominations for NZ’s most marginal seat of New Plymouth? Is it because Andrew Little plans to parachute in there later, as that is his home town?

There were four nominations for Waitakere, the seat held by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett, and a selection meeting will be held on March 20. The nominations were Ann Pala, Carmel Sepuloni, Hamish McCracken and Phil Twyford.

It will be pretty devastating to Twyford’s career if he fails to win the nomination, after having been scared out of both Mt Albert and Auckland Central.

He is a more polished politician than Sepuloni, but Labourites may not be keen to put up a “white middle aged male” against the young at heart fiesty Paula Bennett.

McCracken is a perennial candidate – his list ratings have been in 1999 he was no 60, in 2002 no 52, in 2005 no 49 and in 2005 no 50. I can’t see him beating one, let alone two, MPs to the nominaton.

Ann Pala is a Fijian immigrant who was President of the Waitakere Ethnic Board, a director of Winmac Computer Solutions, member of the Islamic Women’s Council. To her great credit she has criticised her party’s association with Winston Peters.

Less agreeably, Pala called for an “ethnic ward” for the Auckland Council, which would elect two or three Councillors. Pala seems to be the only actual West Auckland standing for the Waitakere nomination.

Meanwhile the Dominion Post reports:

United Future leader Peter Dunne faces a tough battle for his Ohariu seat after Labour kicked off its campaign and National vowed it would not stand aside to give him a free ride.

List MP Charles Chauvel will begin door knocking and leaflet drops within weeks after he was the only nomination as Labour’s candidate.

The seat is the eighth most marginal in the country. It was held by Mr Dunne by just 1006 votes at the last election – well down on his 7702 majority in 2005 and the 12,000-plus margin he racked up in 2002. …

Mr Dunne won 12,303 votes in 2008, compared to 11,297 for Mr Chauvel and 10,009 for Ms Shanks.

I expect National will vigorously contest the seat. The reality is that if both National and Dunne stand, then it is possible Chauvel could win the seat due to vote splitting. However if Peter retires from Parliament, then it would be a safe seat for National. Take a look at recent election results.

In 2008 National’s party vote was 17,670 to 12,728 for Labour. In a clear two way contest National should win the seat by 3,000 to 5,000 votes (depending on if many Greens tactically vote).

The split voting statistics tell a story in Ohariu. This is where Dunne has picked up votes in the last three elections:

  • 2002 – Dunne got 47% of Labour voters and 57% of National voters
  • 2005 – Dunne got 34% of Labour voters and 52% of National voters
  • 2008 – Dunne got 16% of Labour voters and 44% of National voters

Peter used to pick up strong support from Labour and National voters. However from 2002 to 2008, he support from Labour voters declined by two thirds. Ironically it was during this period he supported them with confidence and supply, so there is no gratitude in politics!

Now that Dunne can’t attract large number of Labour voters, the main impact is to split the electorate vote of centre-right voters between him and the National candidate. Hence why Chauvel would have a reasonable chance of winning, if Dunne stands in 2011.

But if Dunne retires, then Ohariu should become the only National held seat in Wellington.

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The worst behaved in Parliament list

December 23rd, 2009 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

United Future leader Peter Dunne has given up on his annual list of worst-behaved MPs, saying Speaker Lockwood Smith’s reign has ushered in a new era of dignity and propriety.

To be fair, I think the absence of Winston helps also. But the House has been a far less toxic place this year.

Mr Dunne did honour Labour’s Trevor Mallard with a lifetime achievement award in bad behaviour “for services to melodrama, fisticuffs, and generally aberrant behaviour”.

When Lockwood orders him to apologise, you can actually see the supressed rage in his eyes!!

The Herald does find a few insults though:

Labour’s Moana Mackey apologised for referring to Hekia Parata as “Lady Parata” and “her royal highness”. National’s Paul Quinn was pulled up for calling Labour’s backbench “monkeys”.

I’d rather be called Lady Parata than a monkey I have to say – well if I was a female Parata that is!

Some apologies:

SHANE JONES
For saying of Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee, “the notion of him and energy is a mathematical impossibility”.

PHIL HEATLEY
For claiming another “fiddled the books” in ACC and Housing; for wishing the Speaker would use a 90-day eviction order on Trevor Mallard.

Heh.

RODNEY HIDE
For North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams’ “madness”, for calling Trevor Mallard “the angry one”.

Isn’t truth a defence?

JOHN KEY
For claiming Green MP Metiria Turei thought Phil Goff was “racist”. She had said his speech was “the worst kind of politics”.

So worse than racism?

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Peter the Xmas Elf Caption Contest

December 5th, 2009 at 7:20 pm by David Farrar

Dunne The Christmas Elf

Enter your captions below. As usual, funny not nasty.

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Three things on tonight in Wellington

September 23rd, 2009 at 1:30 pm by David Farrar

The New Zealand Republic Handbook is being launched at Parliament tonight.

The Handbook is a guide to creating a New Zealand republic and covers the issues of New Zealand becoming a republic plus the arguments for and against republicanism in New Zealand.

The launch is in the Grand Hall at Parliament. Drinks and nibbles start at 5.30 pm and speechs are from 6 pm to 6.30 pm. Speakers are Hon Peter Dunne from United Future, Phil Twyford from Labour, Hauraki-Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta and Green MP Keith Locke plus Republican Movement Chair Lewis Holden. And so long as my dentist appointment at 10 am today doesn’t end up involving anaesthetics, I am the MC for the function.

MPs, parliamentary staff and press gallery are all welcome to attend. Around 30 MPs, from pretty much every party, have already RSVP’d but there is no need to do so if you work in Parliament. If you do not work at Parliament and would like to attend e-mail events@republic.org.nz so your name can be given to security.

After that Parliament should be debating the 1st reading of the VSM Bill which will restore to tertiary students the right to decide if they want to join a student association or not. Not that many laws result in more freedom, not less, so worth supporting.

And later that evening, we have Backbenches at the Backbencher, with live filming from 9.10 pm. MPs are:

  • John Boscawen, ACT
  • Keith Locke, Greens
  • Damien O’Connor, Labour
  • Pesata Sam Lotu-Iiga

Topics include how to spell Wanganui and what should be on Letterman’s Top Ten for John Key.

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Peter Gibbons researches politics on Facebook

August 11th, 2009 at 7:46 am by Peter Gibbons

What if everything you knew about politics came from the internet?  What if people based their vote on which politician was the most popular on Facebook or Bebo?  It’s unlikely and a bit of a nightmare scenario really but on-line sources of information are becoming increasingly important for voters. 

To test my vague theory in New Zealand politics, I searched on Facebook for each party leader and examined the groups supporting and, in some cases opposing, them.  Here are the results:

John Key (National) – 14,388 supporters.  Interestingly the “I HEART John Key” and “Scientologists for John Key” groups have exactly the same number of members.  I’m presuming they are the same people.

Helen Clark (United Nations) – 5, 408 supporters.

Phil Goff (Labour) – 1,112 members of a group wanting him to be Prime Minister in 2011 and 3 in a quite different group who think he is a DILF.  Look up what it means at your peril.

Rodney Hide (Act) – 719 supporters.

Russel Norman (Green) – 567 supporters.  His on-line presence grew significantly when I spelled his first name correctly in the search field.

Metiria Turei (Green) – 339 supporters.

Winston Peters (Retired) – 236 supporters for Prime Minister, 11 supporters for next year’s Dancing with the Stars.  Both quite terrifying prospects really.

Jim Anderton (Progressive) – 17 supporters, much higher than expected.

Pita Sharples (Maori Party) – No Facebook groups supporting him but a couple which are worryingly opposed (and in apparent breach of Facebook policies).

Tariana Turia (Maori Party) – No Facebook groups supporting or opposing her.  There is one offering to be a support group for Mrs Turia going back to school but the tag is “just for fun – outlandish statements.”

Peter Dunne (United Future) – Mr Dunne does not have an official supporters group.  The group “I lost my phone drinking in London – numbers please!!! (Peter Dunne)” is almost certainly not him.  Peter Dunne does not strike me as the kind of man who, under any circumstances, would use three exclamation points.

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Dunne on reason

April 21st, 2009 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

A very good blog post from Peter Dunne:

Politics and public discourse today have become dominated by passions and feelings, rather than rational analysis of the issues involved. Evidence and the facts have long been overtaken by interpretation. For their part, politicians increasingly take electoral success to mean not only endorsement for their policies but also their personal prejudices. Funnily enough, when we observe such trends in the Muslim world, we decry them as “fundamentalist”, but when the same thing happens in our world we tend to admire it as “principled”.

To my way of thinking, both are as bad as each other. There used to be a classic slogan from the old radio crime dramas of “the facts ma’am, just the facts” which is worth remembering here. How refreshing would factually based public debate be!

It is sadly often lacking.

Take a couple of contemporary New Zealand examples. The Auckland supercity debate is being completely sidetracked by “feelings” – the perhaps understandable upset of a handful of Mayors who see themselves being put out of a job, and the “outrage” of some tangata whenua that they will have to compete for electoral preference on the same basis as everyone else. Both blame the ideology of the Minister of Local Government for their predicament (a highly superficial assessment at best), and invoke all sorts of emotion in support of their respective cause. Neither seem interested in a rational and critical assessment of what is best for Auckland.

I have yet to see any serious analysis about how six local Councils would be better for local communities than 20 to 30 local counnity boards.

Then there is the matter of a separate penal institution for Maori. Again, the argument is focused on the emotion rather than the facts. The Labour Party screams “separatism” (somewhat ironic I would have thought given its record) while the Minister of Maori Affairs defends it as “good for Maori.” Where is the analysis about whether such institutions work, by helping rehabilitate offenders and reduce recidivism? That is the criterion on which or otherwise of this proposal should be judged.

Indeed. Will it work is a key question? If it leads to fewer people being beat up, killed or raped by lowering reoffending, then it is worth doing I would say.

As a liberal, I believe very strongly in the primacy of reason, where decisions are based on the evidence not the prejudice, and where we do things because they work, not because they look or feel good. That is why as Associate Minister of Health I want to see more collaboration between the public and private surgical sectors to reduce elective surgery waiting lists, not because of an ideological view that private is better than public, but simply because it strikes me as dumb to have surplus private sector surgical capacity while the public system is hopelessly overloaded and waiting lists are growing.

I couldn’t agree more.

It is why I want see our alcohol and problem gambling policies focus on dealing with those adversely affected by abuse of those products, and not curtailing the opportunities of the overwhelming majority of people who enjoy them, and will never suffer any problems.

Again – absolutely agree. Target those who have a problem, and support them. Don’t punish the vast majority who do not.

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Dunne compares s92A to EFA

March 17th, 2009 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

NZPA reports:

Calls to scrap the controversial new internet copyright law are increasing ahead of the Government’s March 27 deadline for a decision on its future.

United Future leader Peter Dunne, the minister of revenue, today compared it with the ill-fated Electoral Finance Act (EFA).

“The EFA arguably started out with good intentions but those became overwhelmed by the impracticalities of the legislation,” he said on Radio New Zealand.

“In the end it became a pariah, it literally brought a government down and Parliament has now repealed it. I would have thought we would have learned a lesson.”

The Government would be wise to listen to Peter Dunne. Peter has decribed his initial support for the EFA as the worst mistake he has made in politics.

With goodwill a scheme can be put in place that helps rights holders and will reduce online infringing. But s92A is not adequate and needs to be amended at a minimum.

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The NZ Super Fund

February 25th, 2009 at 8:35 am by David Farrar

The growing debate over the NZ Super Fund, is an excellent example of how politics has to manage perception, as much as reality.

I doubt even Dr Cullen would disagree that if we did not already have his “Cullen Fund”, he would not propose one in today’s circumstances.

I mean could you imagine getting up, just at the time credit rating agencies are warning that they may downgrade our credit rating, and saying “Hey I have a great idea – let’s borrow an additional $20 billion over the next ten years, so we can invest it in a loss making fund”? I mean, you would get laughed out of the House.

The NZ Super Fund was agreed to on an assumption that we would have a permament structural surplus, and out of that surplus could put aside around $2 billion a year. Maybe there would be the occassional year of deficit, but the consensus was that from 2000 to 2020, there would be lots of large surpluses, and hence why don’t we save some of that money to help pay for the cost of future superannuation from 2020 onwards, when an ageing population will make it harder to cover the cost.

So the whole idea was to save money now, to avoid having to borrow money later.

But we have the stupidity (highlighted by Michael Littlewood this week, but something I have been campaigning on for some time) of borrowing $20 billion over the next decade, to put into the NZ Super Fund. So we are borrowing money, so we can save money, so we won’t have to borrow money? Confused? You should be.  Sounds more dodgy than a hedge fund.

But we now have the politics. In an ideal world, everyone would understand that continuing to borrow money to put into the Super Fund will not in any way affect whether or not future pension levels stay the same. John Key has made a “promise to resign” signed pledge that he would resign if they ever cut the pension level. And in fact his atx cuts have helped boost pensions.

But if he does the sensible thing and say “Oh it is stupid to borrow money (and risk a credit downgrade) to try and save money” and we are going suspend contributions until the books are back in surplus”, then Labour and others will launch a campaign of fear and confusion (remember their 2005 one about National evicting state house tenants) telling pensioners that this means their future pensions are at risk. And some people will believe them.

We see this today in the Herald with Phil Goff demanding the PM come clean on his plans for the Super Fund. And this is simple because Key said they have not changed their position, but they have yet to discuss the issue yet.

John Armstrong warns National to tread carefully:

John Key and Bill English ought to think very carefully before tampering with the New Zealand Superannuation Fund – even if the political risks of doing so may seem relatively slight at first glance. …

A short-term stop on contributions would avoid English having to borrow the money to fund the annual payment into the six-year-old fund. That would make it just a little easier for him to write a Budget which gets international credit rating agencies off his back. It might not be too difficult to convince people that it does not make much sense to borrow money to build up the fund – especially when world financial markets continue to nosedive.

Indeed. But …

There are further reasons not to tinker with the contributions. The first is whether the Government will have the political wherewithal to restart them them once they have stopped. More important, however, is the (mostly) all-party consensus on superannuation policy. It took an age to reach. It will not take much to dissolve it. …

Labour know it is daft to borrow money to save money. Phil Goff is not stupid. But Phil Goff wants to be Prime Minister. So sure as hell he’ll try and politicise what should be a sensible non-controversial move (a temporary suspension of contributions until we are back in surplus) into the equivalent of slashing pensions.

And Martin Kay in the Dom Post reports Peter Dunne is saying don’t do it:

Government support partner Peter Dunne is urging National not to tamper with the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, warning that it would again make state pensions a political football. …

“There’s an argument that because, at the moment, this might have to be funded out of borrowings rather than surpluses, it’s a bit dumb to be doing it. There’s some truth in that, but at the same time, it seems to me that if you’re going through a slow patch economically, given the role that superannuation has long-term, this is the one time not to be putting its future into some jeopardy or doubt.”

So you have the perception in conflict with the reality. You know borrowing to save money achieves nothing in terms of making future super more sustainable. But you know it will lead to a nasty campaign of fear if you suspend contributions.

So I guess you ask, the question the other way around. Sure borrowing to save money doesn’t actually achieve anything, but does it actually do any harm? The cost of the borrowing will be pretty close to the returns from the fund. So it isn’t like a bad policy which actually costs the taxpayers money. It’s just a bad policy that achieves nothing.

So maybe it just isn’t worth the hassle? Just keep the stupid status quo.

Mind you, I’d like a journalists to aggressively ask Phil Goff some questions, such as:

“Mr Goff, if you think the Government can guarantee superannuation by borrowing $2 billion a year to put into the Super Fund, why don’t you advocate the Govt borrow $20 billion a year to put into the Super Fund? Then we could triple the pension”

“Mr Goff, why did your party call for a WINZ staffer to be reprimanded for suggesting a beneficiary borrow money to pay off her debts, yet you advocate the Government borrow money for much the same thing ?”

“Mr Goff, do you think households should follow your advice and borrow money to pay off their mortgages, rather than suspend contributions temporarily”

I suspect the Government will stay with the status quo, as it is just too much hassle for too little gain.

UPDATE: I’m impressed and a bit amazed. The Greens have come out supporting a suspension of contibutions (as have ACT). NZPA report:

And Greens co-leader Russel Norman said any responsible government would reconsider contributions.

“I think people will understand we’re in a very difficult position,” he said on Radio New Zealand.

One can support the principle of the Super Fund, yet agree that it is stupid to currently pay into it, when we are forecast to have to borrow every cent we invest into it for the next decade. Will Goff now accuse the Greens of trying to undermine superannuation?

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Dunne call for copyright law to be discarded

February 14th, 2009 at 8:11 am by David Farrar

Very pleaed to see Peter Dunne come out and call on the Government to discard the new copyright law – or at least S92A. The Herald reports:

The section will see people’s internet connections “cut on unproven accusations of piracy”, Mr Dunne said today.

“All of us who brought in this Act last year believed we were protecting artists from piracy and illegal downloads.

“However, it is now clear that we have a situation where internet users are vulnerable to the mere accusation of piracy, and that is simply neither fair nor just.”

The Government should defer the section’s implementation for three to six months with a view to discarding it, Mr Dunne said.

They should indeeed do this. The TCF is trying to get conensus on a code of practice to try and make a pretty unworkable law workable. But some of the rights holders groups are insisting that they want the power to be prosecutor, judge and jury and decide who has infringed and have the power to instruct an ISP to terminate a customer.

Congrats to Peter for speaking out on this law. As I joked yesterday, you know a law is in trouble when Peter condemns it, after having earlier voted for it :-)

Off memory every party but the Green Party voted for this law. The Greens do get some things right!

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