The Press on whaling

January 8th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Press editorial:

The annual antics of the anti-whaling activists Sea Shepherd in the Southern Ocean are under way again.

The routine seems the same every year and is familiar. Japanese whaling ships arrive in the Southern Ocean to begin hunting whales. The pretext for the hunting is that it is for “scientific research” although that is almost universally disputed.

Most impartial observers believe the real reason for the hunting is to keep what remains of the Japanese whaling industry going.

Each year Sea Shepherd vessels track the whalers and aggressively attempt to disrupt the hunting.

Sea Shepherd and the whalers feed off each other. There is almost no commercial market for the whales anymore in Japan. The whalers carry on, because they don’t want to be seen to be buckling to pressure. I suspect if one ignored them, they’d stop within a decade.

This year the Green Party has taken up Sea Shepherd’s cry and called on the Government to send a naval vessel to the area to demonstrate New Zealand’s disapproval of the Japanese behaviour.

It may strike some as strange to hear the Greens promoting a show of military force but in any case the idea is foolish.

Even if the Japanese were breaching some law, New Zealand has no jurisdiction in the area and could do nothing about it.

Normally the Greens insist that military have no role in international disputes, but when it comes to whaling they want to send in a frigate!

Governments, both Labour and National, have said repeatedly that they do not accept Japan’s cover story used to justify its whaling and have called for the Japanese to end the practice.

That is the line taken consistently in international forums such as the International Whaling Commission for many years.

Last year, the present National Government went further and joined an action brought by the Australian Government in the International Court of Justice to have Japan’s whaling declared illegal. New Zealand’s case was strongly argued by Attorney-General Chris Finlayson.

The court’s decision is expected about within two or three months.

That will be eagerly awaited. Hopefully NZ and Australia win.

As Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said yesterday the whaling is being carried out “substantially for the purposes of pride and we’ve got to try and negotiate a way to get past what is a pointless activity . . .”

New Zealand is fully involved in that diplomatic activity.

Sea Shepherd’s Southern Ocean publicity stunt does nothing useful to advance it.

I think Sea Shepherd know that the practice would probably stop, if they were not there highlighting it. But then they would have no reason to exist. They and the whalers have a symbiotic relationship with each other – both needs the other to stay relevant.


February 28th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Their supporters call them heroes. The Japanese government calls them terrorists.

Now the United States’ largest federal court has declared them pirates.

Which they are. You can be against whaling, yet also against Sea Shepherd who a dangerous bunch of liars.

In doing so, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals castigated Paul Watson and members of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society he founded for the tactics used in their relentless campaign to disrupt the annual whale hunt off the dangerous waters of Antarctica.

“You don’t need a peg leg or an eye patch,” Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel.

Kozinski is a brilliant judge.

“When you ram ships; hurl glass containers of acid; drag metal-reinforced ropes in the water to damage propellers and rudders; launch smoke bombs and flares with hooks; and point high-powered lasers at other ships, you are, without a doubt, a pirate, no matter how high-minded you believe your purpose to be.”

So very true. They have a long record and history of violence, including ramming ships and mining ships to sink them.

Sea Shepherd claims

February 21st, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd claims two of its boats were deliberately rammed by a Japanese whaling ship in the Southern Ocean.

They probably wrote their statements weeks ago.

Sea Shepherd lie. Paul Watson is a pathological liar. This comes from no less a source than his former acolyte Pete Bethune.

I’m all for protesting against the so called scientific whaling which is a farcical exploitation of a loophole in international agreements. I support WWF and even Greenpeace campaigns in this area.

But Sea Shepherd are pathological liars who believe the ends justify the means and they have a long history of violence and aggression.

Sea Shepherd

January 7th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Sea Shepherd’s launching a massive campaign against Japanese whalers in the waters around Antarctica.

Four vessels with 150 crew members are on their way there for the summer – the biggest team the anti-whaling organisation has ever sent.

Captain of the Steve Irwin, Paul Watson, said their efforts are working.

“Last year they only took 26 per cent, the year before that only 17 per cent. We’ve cost them tens of millions of dollars and we’re right on the threshold of breaking them financially so we have to keep the pressure on.”

Mr Watson said the Japanese have four ships too, so he is confident they can match them.

I don’t like the Japanese whalers. I don’t like what is commercial whaling under the guise of scientific research.

But I don’t like Sea Shepherd even more. They have a long and extensive record of violence, and as Pete Bethune found out they are pathological liars – or at least Watson is.

Sea Shepherd’s Watson says tsunami was divine punishment

March 16th, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

If Sea Shepherd has any remaining supporters, perhaps this might make them reconsider. Paul Watson posted on Facebook how the tsunami is the fearful wrath of Neptune. Or in other words, how the Japanese deserved to die in the tsunami because they hunt whales.


Neptune’s voice rolled like thunder thru the sky
Angrily he smote the deep seabed floor
From the shore echoed mankind’s mournful cry
……The sea rose up and struck fast for the shore

From out of the East with the rising sun
The seas fearful wrath burst upon the land
With little time to prepare or to run
Against a power no human can stand

Its just as disgusting as the moron who blamed the Christchurch earthquake on gay ski week. Except the latter was an anonymous nobody while the former was said by the head of Sea Shepherd.

Bethune savages Sea Shepherd

October 6th, 2010 at 12:20 pm by David Farrar

Ecorazzi report:

The former captain of the Ady Gil, who was arrested (and later set free on a suspended sentence) after boarding a Japanese whaling vessel, has lashed out at the group — calling them “dishonest” and “morally bankrupt”.

“I am asking that from now on, SSCS determine to act in an honest way with its volunteers, supporters and media,” he writes on his Facebook page. “SSCS does not need to lie. Saving whales, dolphins, tuna and sharks are noble causes, and the public will embrace these as worthwhile. The story does not need to be manipulated and changed in order to get public support.”

Hard to know who to support when it is Bethune against Sea Shepherd. But Bethune is now exposing the lies of Sea Shepherd:

Pete says:  ”After the ramming of the Ady Gil, Chuck said to me that Paul, the Admiral of the Sea Shepherd fleet, wanted me to scuttle the Ady Gil. He said there was no point in towing the boat all the way to the French base, and that it would be best if the boat was just sunk and we could get on with chasing the whalers. Later that day, Chuck and I went to the Ady Gil, and I performed the necessary tasks with Chuck observing. Ady Gil then gradually took on water, and later that night she was left to sink, while the Bob Barker moved on to pursue the fleet.”

“I felt horrid before, during and after the scuttling and I have felt terrible about it ever since. It broke me heart to sink a vessel that had been such a big part of my life, and I also felt we had betrayed SSCS sponsors, SSCS supporters, Ady Gil, and the public by lying about it. It was a totally dishonest thing to do and as a conservation group, the order is a total breach of ethics.”

“I sincerely regret my role in this. I apologise unreservedly to Ady Gil, and Sea Shepherd Volunteers and supporters, all of whom I have let down. It was the wrong thing to do, and while I was under orders to do so, I should have refused to carry out the instructions. I am resigning from Sea Shepherd forthwith.”

Well he has just gone up in my estimation.

Pete Says: “When I met with Paul Watson in July 2009, he gave me permission to take a Bow and Arrow to Antarctica, with the idea of pasting a poison on the arrow tips (or fake poison), and firing them into dead whales while they were being transferred from harpoon vessel to processing ship. When I met Paul on the Steve Irwin in Antarctica, I confirmed all tactics, and he again said I had permission to use the bow and arrow if we came across a suitable situation.”

“After the Ady Gil was scuttled, crew of the Shonan Maru found four arrows in the water. SSCS issued a press release denying all knowledge of the arrows, suggesting instead that the whalers had planted them as false evidence. There was no need to say anything at all. The story was the Ady Gil had sunk…not that some arrows had been found. No one really cared about four arrows when the whalers had explosive harpoons and 12 gauge shotguns.”

“In issuing the press release, SSCS was lying to media. It was a mistake to ever deny the arrows, and the communications debacle since then has been a total disgrace

The ones who should take notice of this are the media. They tend to report the claims of the whalers and Sea Shepherd equally, as equally credible. They now have proof that Sea Shepherd blatantly lie to them. They should not publish allegations from Sea Shepherd in the future unless they can be substantiated.

Pete says, “A number of crew on the Bob Barker and Steve Irwin were discussing the alleged shooting of Paul Watson. In the first series of Whale Wars, Paul Watson was supposedly shot by crew of the Nisshin M…aru. SSCS Crew present on that voyage argued strongly to me that the entire episode was faked. I was not on the campaign, so in fact I don’t know if it is in fact true or not. However given what I’ve witnessed in the last year, and my knowledge of the Japanese crew, I would bet $500,000 at odds of 10:1, that the event was staged. The shooting represents just another lie that does little for the credibility of SSCS. The organisation does not need to lie or be deceptive to sell its message. The public will support the cause of stopping whaling, however they will not support SSCS if they become aware of the many lies the organisation increasingly propagates through media.”

I am actually against the Japanese whaling tactics. However I am against SSCS even more. Their tactics actually help the Japanese whalers. I’ll take an honest whaler over a dishonest environmentalist. I will give credit here to Greenpeace who have campaigned on this issue without the lies and violence of SSCS.

Pete says, “What really concerns me most is the apparent moral bankruptcy of senior SSCS personnel. They routinely conspire and lie over serious matters, with little regard for people like myself who they malign and bulldoze along the way. They misrepresent themselves to the public who are generous enough to support them, and to media who they rely on to promote their cause.”

“The short time I have been associated with SSCS, and the sheer number of lies I’ve witnessed, makes me realise there is a large and increasing number of skeletons hidden in the SSCS closet. It is time for this closet to be closed (or opened fully) and for the organisation to move on. I am asking that from now on, SSCS determine to act in an honest way with its volunteers, supporters and media. SSCS does not need to lie.

I think this makes it clear the SSCS and Paul Watson especially are pathological liars.

The whining Bethune

July 13th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Before I deal to the latest whines from Bethune, first I’ll share this document which a reader sent to me.

SS Application Ady Gil

Note Paragraph 11 which states:

11. The Ady Gill must not interfere with vessels of the Japanese whaling fleet i n ways that may entail risk of collision or other consequenc that might result in marine pollution and with it risk of more than a minor or transitory effect on the Antarctic environment, as well as risk to human safety

This was in the official Ministerial notification to Sea Shepherd.

Two letters from Murray McCully also worth reading – Bethune letter McCully 4 Dec 2009 and Bethune letter McCully 18 Dec 2009.

We all know what happened of course – there was a collision – which is exactly what Sea Shepherd wanted. They have a long history of collisions, and we now have it confirmed that they have no problems lying to further their cause.

But the Herald also reports a statement from the PM in response to Bethune’s whining:

At a press conference today, he said Foreign Minister Murray McCully had instantly sided with the Japanese, saying he should have known what he was getting himself in for by boarding the vessel. …

Mr Bethune should remember that he got himself into the situation, Mr Key said.

“He had a letter that said ‘I do not want to be taken off the boat under any circumstances and I do want to be taken to Japan’ and he was.

And further to this, Paul Watson is quoted as saying:

“I think what the Japanese have on their hands is a hot potato and they’re going to want to get rid of it, because this is going to make Pete Bethune a national hero in Australia and New Zealand and a hero for conservationists worldwide,” he added.

Watson also mentioned that Bethune is fully prepared to engage the Japanese court system and state his case that what is happening in the Southern Ocean is wrong. “I’m prepared to go all the way, I’m prepared to do whatever time it takes,” said Bethune.

So McCully was absolutely right that Bethune knew exactly what would happen, when he boarded – he wanted it to happen. He is whining about someone telling the truth – a foreign concept it seems.

And as further proof, we have this story from after when he boarded but before he was arrested:

“Sea Shepherd anticipates that the Japanese will hold Captain Bethune as prisoner onboard the Shonan Maru 2,” the group’s statement added.

Personally I think Bethune should be sent a bill for the cost of all the consular assistance he got.

Confirmed liars

July 9th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Sea Shepherd group says banning Pete Bethune from its Antarctic anti-whaling missions was just a legal strategy during his trial, and the New Zealand activist is welcome to join them on future trips.

This confirms that Sea Shepherd are liars, and are happy to lie to further their aims. This should be remembered the next time they claim they did not do something.

The Bethune deal

July 8th, 2010 at 7:39 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Anti-whaling activists appear to have struck a deal with Japanese officials allowing Pete Bethune to walk free – in return for banning him from future expeditions.

Bethune, 45, who has been in Japanese custody since February after boarding a Japanese whaling ship, was given a two-year suspended sentence in a Tokyo court yesterday. …

In June, he was banned from future Sea Shepherd Conservation Society expeditions to the Southern Ocean.

The group’s chief executive, Chuck Swift, said at the time that the ban was because Bethune broke Sea Shepherd policy by taking a bow and arrows on to the protest boat Ady Gil, which sank in January after colliding with the Japanese fleet.

However, there are now suggestions that the ban was Sea Shepherd’s part of a bargain that saw Bethune walk free.

Sea Shepherd captain Paul Watson said last night that the organisation knew what the sentence was several days ago, “because we’d already arranged for Pete Bethune’s air ticket”. He was relieved at the sentence and said the ban on Bethune joining Sea Shepherd’s campaigns was because of “a deal” with the Japanese.

He did not elaborate on the terms of the deal and Sea Shepherd would not confirm last night whether the ban was in return for a suspended sentence.

The outcome is a good one. Having Bethune in a prison would have just made him a martyr. Pleased to see the Japanese Government was pragmatic.

I am not surprised there was a deal. I never thought it likely that Sea Shepherd banned Bethune from future expeditions because he was too violent, considering their long long history of violence.

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.

Sea Shepherd v Bethune

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

The Herald reports:

Pete Bethune has been axed from any future anti-whaling protests led by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

The move follows allegations by the Sea Shepherd that Mr Bethune had a bow and arrows aboard the Ady Gil when it sank in the Southern Ocean, following a collision with a Japanese whaling boat.

In a statement released by the Sea Shepherd, the organisation said the bow and arrows “are not in line with the Sea Shepherd’s policy”.

So Rambo Bethune has been kicked out of Sea Shepherd – rather astonishing.

It’s good to know that Sea Shepherd will at least draw the line somewhere. They happily plant limpet mines on ships and blow them up. They also happily ram ships and try to sink them. They also happily throw containers of acid at people. But a bow and arrow is a step too far it seems.

Getting thrown out of the Sea Shepherd Society for being too violent is like being thrown out of the Labour Party for being too academic!

Media manipulation

March 18th, 2010 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

As New Zealand anti-whaling activist Peter Bethune sat confined in Japanese custody yesterday his eldest daughter turned 15, unsure of when she will next see her father.

How is this a story? It is not as if the Japanese Government sent a squad of ninjas to kidnap Bethune from his family home.

Bethune trespassed on board a Japanese ship, knowing he was breaking the law in doing so. He has in fact been looked after well on the ship, fed and given a room. And when back in Japan, he is of course facing charges for his trespass.

The sole reason he is not at home for his daughter’s birthday is because he chose not to be there – he chose to board the Japanese ship.

Danielle’s mother, Sharyn, was showing “remarkable resilience” through the tough time, which had been a struggle for the family emotionally and financially, he said. The pair have another daughter Alycia, who is 13.

It is a shame Bethune has abandoned his family. But that was his choice. Bethune wanted to be arrested, and wants to have a trial in Japan.

Personally if I was the Japanese Government I’d avoid a trial and just kick him out. But have no doubt that is the last thing Bethune wants – to be home with his family. He wants a high profile trial.

Editorials 20 February 2010

February 20th, 2010 at 3:43 pm by David Farrar

The NZ Herald slams the latest stunt by the anti-whaling activists:

Peter Bethune knew precisely what he was doing, and the consequences, when he boarded the whaling vessel Shonan Maru 2 to make what fellow-protesters described as a citizen’s arrest of its captain. …

Mr Bethune was intent simply on grabbing publicity. He, and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, wanted to prompt a diplomatic incident, thereby putting further pressure on the Japanese to end whaling. …

The Dominion Post argues against a city wide liquor ban:

On one of Wellington’s rare balmy nights there is little to compare to a quiet picnic on the south coast, watching the sun go down and the kids paddle in the surf as you enjoy some cold roast chicken, a nice green salad , and a glass of Martinborough’s best sauvignon blanc.

Soon that pleasure may come with the dubious frisson of being a law-breaker, and the prospect of a visit from police to tell you you are breaching a Wellington City Council bylaw. Under the proposed liquor ban, the wine has to be tipped out on the sand, or the picnic packed up and moved to a non-public place. If you refuse, you will be arrested. If you wait till police go away and then carry on enjoying your picnic, you will be arrested should they return.

That is the future that could face Wellingtonians should the city council go ahead and pass its city-wide booze ban.

It’s a daft idea that should be shot down. Have outdoors liquor bans in areas where there is a problem.

The Press talks about the future of their regional council:

Environment Canterbury chairman Alec Neill managed to put on a brave face after the damning report into his institution’s performance and governance yesterday. The reality is that if the Government adopts the recommendations in the report, ECan as we know it today will be gone. …

The report will provide vindication for the region’s mayors, business figures and farmers, who have been queuing up to slate ECan for some years.

They would also agree with the comment of review leader Wyatt Creech that ECan had a “fortress” and “we know best” culture. …

I predict it will be gone.

The ODT talks about electoral issues:

It will be recalled that, in 2005, the Exclusive Brethren attempted to influence the outcome of the poll by mounting a covert and costly campaign against the Greens and Labour.

Labour had also been concerned about the extent to which campaign finance was both anonymous and uncapped, raising the spectre, it claimed, of “big money” interests tilting the odds against a fair contest: the even playing field argument.

In an attempt to close loopholes in the campaign finance rules, and to prevent parties “jumping the gun” and subverting the spending caps, it also created a controversial regulated campaign period of three months prior to polling day.

Ummn, no. That was the old regulated period. Labour extended the period to be all of election year.

Editorials 17 February 2010

February 17th, 2010 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald says electoral law reform is on the right track:

The government has gone the right way about electoral finance reform, consulting all other parties as the previous Government did not.

Inevitably, therefore, the decisions announced yesterday contain some comfort for parties such as Labour that fear private money in politics, and some disappointment for those who welcome all contributions to public life.

My concern is that a future Labour Government will not be as restrained as National has been, and will force through changes that benefit them, even if other parties are opposed. What would be welcome is for Labour to make a clear declaration that they will not in future push through electoral law changes without a political consensus behind them.

There will be no relaxation of the restrictions on election broadcasts, which can be made only by political parties that have to make them with public money and must be kept within the amounts allocated.

It would be better to let, in fact insist, parties use their own money for television and radio commercials, or let them use public funding for any form of advertising they prefer. But Labour and the Green Party were strongly opposed to any change.

I agree. It is very disappointing that no change is recommended. I hope the Select Committee will be open to persuasion.

The decisions announced yesterday do not appear to go far towards resolving the misuse of parliamentary funds for election purposes. The usual rule is that parliamentary information money can be used to push party barrows as long as the material does not expressly urge a vote, a donation or membership of a party.

It is well past time a tougher test was imposed, and not just within three months of an election, which is the best we can expect from this exercise.

I think the likely tougher test during the regulated period would be a huge improvement. I do not think it is practical to have this tougher test during the entire electoral cycle as almost every publication put out by parliamentary parties has an element of seeking to influence voters towards them.

The Press attacks the Sea Shepherd publicity stunts:

Most New Zealanders recognise for the self-serving farce which it is the Japanese notion of scientific whaling and are appalled by the view that in order to conduct research into whales it is necessary to kill them.

But most people also believe that international pressure and setting, as New Zealand is doing, an example of non-lethal research are more likely to end whaling than the confrontational antics of the radical Sea Shepherd conservation group.

I hate the hypocrisy of the Japanese claiming the whaling is scientific research, but I hate the lunatics of Sea Shepherd even more.

The Dominion Post does not want the taxpayer funding an America’s Cup bid:

Prime Minister John Key says the Government might back a bid as its Labour predecessors did in 2003 and 2007. Labour put $30 million into the underfunded 2003 defence, $34m into the unsuccessful 2007 challenge in Valencia, and, immediately after that loss, pledged another $10m to Team NZ to stop crew members being poached.

Mr Key should think again. It is not the role of government to fund the sporting pursuits or obsessions of millionaire yachtsmen.

The time to put money into the cup was when there was a realistic prospect it would generate a financial dividend. That time has passed.

The cup is of sporting interest to only a small number of New Zealanders. The rules are obscure – and endlessly up for interpretation in court – the competitors are remote and the action is incomprehensible without a television set, computer graphics and the services of commentator Peter Montgomery.

The event’s primary attraction is as a magnet for the world’s wealthy. Hosting the 2003 regatta was reputedly worth $529m to Auckland businesses. The New Zealand team performed commendably in 2007, winning the challenger series and winning two races in the best of nine contest with Alinghi for the cup itself.

But with many of New Zealand’s best sailors now sailing for foreign syndicates and foreign billionaires lining up to bankroll challenges, the prospect of Team NZ again winning the cup is so slight that the Government should forget it.

I agree. Kiwis keep winning the Cup – but not for NZ syndicates.  Leave it to the billionaires to fund.

The ODT examines colonoscopies:

The report on the 33 colonoscopy patients and the Otago District Health Board is a mixed bag. It gives all sorts of detail about the board service, or lack of service, but it fails to spell out answers to basic questions about these patients.

Did the board provide timely and adequate colonoscopies? And was the treatment of these patients according to board and national criteria? What the report does say is that those audited did have “prolonged journeys” through the public system.

In “report speak” that seems to be saying that the answer to the first question is no.

Check early and check often!

Sea Shepherd

February 8th, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

No surprise there has been another collision as the stated aim of the Sea Shepherd Society is to sink the opposition. I am amazed that the media breathlessly report on each clash with doubt over who is responsible.

Wikipedia states on Paul Watson:

As of 2009, Paul Watson has said that the organization has sunk ten whaling ships while also destroying millions of dollars worth of equipment.

Their aim is to destroy and sink whaling ships. So who do you think causes the crashes.

Of course every time there is a crash, the Sea Shepherd people claim they were not at fault. Anotehr quote from Wikipedia may help the media:

Watson’s public relations savvy is shown in an episode of Whale Wars when he creates an international media “storm” after two crewmembers are detained on a Japanese whaling vessel.[18] In his book, Earthforce!, Watson advises readers to make up facts and figures when they need to, and to deliver them to reporters confidently.[9] He also states that the “truth is irrelevant” due the nature of mass media.[19

So Watson has written a book telling his followers to lie to the media in a confident way, and the media still fall for it and report the claims without scepticism.

Japanese Whalers vs Sea Shepherd

January 7th, 2010 at 9:13 am by David Farrar

Herald story is here.

My take:

Japanese Whalers Bad

Sea Shepherd Mad

Sea Shepherd’s Watson claims Japanese Whalers shot him

March 8th, 2008 at 6:56 am by David Farrar

The headline says it all.

Hands up if you believe him. I don’t.