Labour again focusing on the big issues

April 22nd, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reported:

Labour’s Immigration spokesman Rajen Prasad says he would be concerned if British television cook Nigella Lawson was given an exemption to come to New Zealand solely because of her celebrity status while other cases of people in more need were being rejected.

Labour now campaigning on keeping Nigella out of NZ. That will go down well.

Although she had no convictions, Ms Lawson was ineligible for a visa because the United States had refused entry, so a discretionary ‘special direction’ was required for her to enter New Zealand in May to film another advertisement for Whittakers chocolate.

Mr Prasad said as a general rule he did not believe people who abused drugs should be allowed in to New Zealand but there should be discretion to allow it in special circumstances.

Really? So he thinks Bill Clinton should have been declines a visa, because he smoked pot at Oxford? Also should the Beatles have been banned?

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Labour only against state servants not standing for Labour!

March 13th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

State servants are facing increasing political scrutiny as some push for a seat in Parliament while hanging on to their day jobs.

The Families Commission faced accusations of “politicisation” from Opposition MPs yesterday after one of its commissioners was spotted supposedly campaigning with Prime Minister John Key.

During a parliamentary select committee hearing yesterday, Labour MP Rajen Prasad, himself a former chief families commissioner, said current commissioner Parmjeet Parmar was pushing for a spot on the National Party list and was already campaigning.

He said he had seen her with Key wearing a blue party rosette at the Pasifika Festival in Auckland during the weekend.

Parmar is a Government appointee, not a state servant. And the irony of the accusation coming from Dr Prasad who became a Labour MP in the same year as he was Chief Families Commissioner!

She said another staff member was intending to run as candidate for Labour, which he had declared to the commission. They had already discussed with him how to separate his political activities from his work.

Labour’s view is that it is only wrong for people at the Families Commission to stand for Parliament, if it is not for Labour!

The staff member who is a Labour candidate is Rob McCann, who is the White Ribbon Campaign Manager at the Families Commission. He’s not just wearing the odd rosette – he’s personally attacking Government Ministers on his Facebook page:

  • “Good to see Labour tackling what has been such an intrusive and yet secretive government. Odd how Key is happy to spy on us, yet call in the police over a teapot tape.”
  • “Excellent day fundraising with the Waikanae Branch of the Labour Party. All proceeds going towards giving John Key a permanent holiday in Hawaii.”

But worse of all, he is promoting a graphic attacking the very Minister in charge of the Families Commission:

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I’m all for public servants being able to stand for Parliament. Tim Groser did so. But I’ve never before seen a public servant promoting graphics personally attacking the Minister in charge of the body that employs them. I suggest Mr McCann views the recent SSC video!

I note that several of his attacks on Government Ministers on his Facebook page are done during work hours, such as this one at 10.30 am last Thursday or this one on Tuesday at 11.12 am. So presumably he’s doing his attacks while at work.

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Quotes from Marriage committee stages

March 28th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Some good speeches last night during the committee stages. No amendments got accepted but I would make the point that I had no problem with one of the amendments – it was more than it is un-necessary.

I believe no marriage celebrant should be forced to officiate at a marriage that they don’t wish to. As a matter of law, I don’t think they can be forced under the current Act. Section 29 talks about authorising, but not obliging. This means that for example Catholic priests can refuse to marry a divorced person.

There is also the practical issue that Kiwis are pretty common sense on these things. Why would anyone want to force an unwilling celebrant into marrying them, on what should be their happiest day. You’d be nuts to. So while there are some important principles at stake here, let’s not think that this will ever have practical impact.

Now the Select Committee said that there is a concern that possibly some church ministers could face an issue under the Bill of Rights Act. Bearing in mind the fact no Catholic priest has ever faced action for not marrying a divorcee, I think the possibility was remote. However they said let’s be explicit instead of implicit and give celebrants who represent a religion a clear statement they can not be forced.

One of the amendments yesterday was to extend that explicit exemption to all celebrants, not just religious ones. I didn’t have a huge problem with this. In fact I am a bit nervous about singling out celebrants who represent a religion as more deserving. So that amendment passing wouldn’t have been a major issue for me. But likewise if no celebrant had an explicit exemption, I’d be okay with that also as I believe the current S29 which only authorises but not obliges is enough protection. And finally of course it is all highly unlikely to ever be tested as no one wants an unwilling celebrant at their wedding.

Anyway some extracts from MPs speeches. Moana Mackey:

 And can I just point out an issue of reality, which is that this is unlikely to be a problem. On one of the most important days of your life, I do not think that any couple is going to want to have someone presiding over their ceremony who does not want to be there and who is there only under the threat of legal action. That is why this has never been an issue since 1955. It has not been an issue since the Civil Union Act came in in 2004. I do not believe it is going to be an issue going on into the future.

And on the referendum issue:

Members mentioned Switzerland, where they do these issues by referenda all the time and as a result women did not get the vote until 1971—1971. I want to tell members the reasons that were given at the time were that men and women are fundamentally different. On the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs website they point out, saying … What the department said at the time—one of the reasons given as to why women should not be given the vote—was that “It wouldn’t promote equality because their natural modesty would stop them going out to vote when pregnant, and since rural women have more babies than those in town, this would give an unfair advantage to the latter.”

People can always find a reason to oppose change.

Rajen Prasad:

There is one final element that influenced me, and it was this. This bill takes nothing away from anybody. It actually takes nothing away. Those who argue that it does somehow reduce us as a society, in terms of our spirituality, certainly have a difficulty with me because there is nothing about my relationship, my family, my marriage that is negated or diminished in any way. I know that the institution of marriage has been developed for a long time, and no doubt will continue to develop. It is not set in a form that has always been the same. It has always developed. A bit like our society and our civilisation, this institution will also develop.

Paul Goldsmith:

I have certainly struggled with this bill and given it a great deal of thought because it lies in the territory between two of my core political philosophies. My conservative instincts on one hand lead me to respect traditions and the wisdom of centuries. Marriage has traditionally been conceived as being between a man and a woman, and in the British and Christian traditions for centuries it has been between one single man and one single woman. That has been the case only because it has made perfectly good sense. Institutions and ideas change over time, but the conservative in me makes me hesitate before changing something that has served society well for so long. I certainly understand and respect the strength of feeling of many New Zealanders who feel that we should keep things the way we are. Running parallel to that, however, my guiding political belief is my commitment to freedom for people to live their lives in different ways with respect. Life is interesting, society is dynamic, and culture is diverse when people are free and have the liberty to live in different ways. It was 25-odd years ago when we agreed that the State should not outlaw homosexual acts and very few people disagree with that now. So I can understand why some gay couples would like to have access to the institution of marriage. People often ask “Well, why do they want marriage when they can have civil unions already?”. The answer is, of course, that words are important, which is why people on both sides feel so strongly about it. On balance, I have decided that for me freedom or individual conscience trumps tradition, so I am supporting this bill.

A nice contribution from Goldie, on balancing his beliefs.

My background has been that I was raised in the Christian faith in the Baptist church. Many of my relatives and friends from that background are disappointed that I am voting for this bill, and I understand their disappointment, but I would remind them that the Baptist church was born out of the idea of non-conformity. The early Baptists gathered together because they disagreed with aspects of the established church and suffered terribly for their individual beliefs. That tolerance of religious non-conformity, which English-speaking peoples had arrived at, certainly by the nineteenth century, was fundamental in establishing many of the freedoms and the liberties that we enjoy today.

Paul is a writer of history so knows his stuff.

It is highly likely the third reading will be on Wednesday the 17th of April.

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Families Commissioners

April 17th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

NewstalkZB reports:

Former Chief Families Commissioner turned Labour MP, Rajen Prasad, has hit out at the current Families Commission Chief for reportedly saying Labour’s plan to extend paid parental leave is unaffordable.

Dr Prasad told Newstalk ZB’s Larry Williams it’s wrong for the Chief Commissioner to make a decision that the government and Treasury should make.

“The Chief Commissioner by taking this view has just tainted his own reputation by taking a view that’s been taken by the government and in that way his independence is just compromised.”

I don’t know about you, but personally I think having the Chief Families Commissioner retire then pop up on the Labour Party list does far more to tarnish the reputation of the office, and compromise its independence.

Dr Prasad’s anger is because the Chief Commissioner made the rather obvious point that there is less money available than in the past. Treason to Labour.

A further story reports:

Rajen Prasad says Mr Davidson’s credibility has been damaged by his reported comments and he now has two choices – to retract his comments and say he got it wrong or to resign.

Disgraceful bullying of public servants.

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Nine seeking Te Atatu

October 9th, 2010 at 10:07 am by David Farrar

The fact nine people are seeking Labour’s nomination for Te Atatu, reflects its safeness for Labour. No as safe as Mana (National won the PV in 2008), but whoever gain the nomination probably has a long parliamentary career ahead of them.

So who are they:

Phil Twyford – his fourth attempt to gain a seat after being rebuffed or scared off in Mt Albert, Auckland Central and Waitakere. As Chris Carter is said to be backing Twyford this should help him with the local electorate votes. Will Head Office back him though, and will the often union dominated floor votes go his way? A fourth loss would be even  more humiliating.

Rajen Prasad – he had a top twelve list ranking from Labour in 2008 but has been near invisible in Parliament. My only sighting of him has been booing National MPs at Backbenchers. Given his age also, I would be surprised if he could beat Twyford. In fact I wouldn’t want to place much money on him having that high a list ranking next time either.

Nick Bakulich – A PI funeral director standing in the local body elections. Former public servant, and a church elder.

Jim Bradshaw – law student.

Dr Michael Kidd – barrister, stood for Waitakere Council in 2007. Appears to be past middle age, which may count against him. In safer seats you tend to look for someone who can do 15 years or so.

Hamish McCracken – I’ve lost counts of how many elections and nominations Hamish has lost. He does get union support though, and maybe people will feel sorry for him.

Anne Pala – a community advocate who also sought Waitakere nomination off memory. My spies say she was highly regarded in terms of political skills.

Greg Presland – could be a substantial candidate. Has been very involved behind the scenes with Labour, and when he is not commenting on blogs is a lawyer. A previous City Councillor and Labour appointed him to various boards.

Kate Sutton – Last time I checked Kate has the Woman Vice-President of Labour, and gained the job at a very young age. She has strong support from the younger activists and is pretty feisty  would run a hard campaign. I’m not sure, but don’t think she is from the West which could count against.

So who are the front runners – I would say it is a choice between Twyford, Presland and Sutton, but reserve the right to change my opinions as the contest moves on.

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And even more MPs

January 20th, 2009 at 9:04 pm by David Farrar

Today’s three:

Rahui Katene

Rahui Katene was blunt about her views of the Crown’s treatment of Maori and the Treaty settlements, saying claims of strong race relations was a “national myth”.

However, she said it remained her strong belief that the best way for Maori to achieve their goals was to work within the system to do so.

I would be worried if an MP advocated not working within the system.

Michael Woodhouse

Was chief executive of Mercy Hospital Dunedin for seven years. President of the Private Surgical Hospitals Association. Worked at Dunedin Hospital and as a senior manager for ACC. Passionate advocate of the use of the private sector to reduce waiting lists. Married with three daughters, the born and bred Otago man says he has “blue and gold blood running through my veins”. He is a premier grade rugby referee.

I dare say many on the waiting lists would also welcome a reduction.

Mr Woodhouse’s ancestors include Lawrence’s first butcher and James Woodhouse, who emigrated from England and discovered gold near Roxburgh: “No great wealth passed down, however, as he purchased the Bannockburn Hotel and fathered eight children.” In the days of transient clerics, family legend had it that his great great grandmother grabbed whichever man of the cloth was in town at the time of the birth of each child. “Thus, according to legend, descendants of James and Mary were christened Methodist, Catholic, Presbyterian, Anglican and so on. If true, my great grandfather was born when the Catholic priest was passing through.”

Heh, a cute story.

Rajen Prasad

Aged 62. A list-only candidate, ranked very high at 12. Labour’s spokesman for voluntary and community sector, and associate spokesman for ethnic affairs and social development (family and Child, Youth and Family). On social services select committee.

I feel quite sorry for him, as he may get to just serve a few years in opposition before retiring.

“The leaky home problem has been well publicised and many of us know of families whose mental health has suffered; some have taken their lives in desperation. I ask [members] to find out the extent of the problem in your areas and meet some of the desperate people who are victims. You will find their stories compelling. Many currently live in limbo and are out of pocket while lawyers, builders, and developers are benefiting enormously from their situation. I hope this can be resolved.”

He should talk to his former leader about this, as she famously said it (leaky homes) was all a beat up by the NZ Herald.

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