Fisking Sue Kedgley

June 29th, 2013 at 9:07 am by David Farrar

Former Green MP Sue Kedgley wrote an article about MPs in the UK taking money to ask questions on behalf of various groups. She said that this could happen here.

I was going to fisk her article, but Andrew Geddis has helpfully done it for us. He points out that while there is not a document called a code of ethics, such an action would probably be a contempt of Parliament under standing  orders, and also corruption under the Crimes Act.

Geddis concludes:

So I’m not necessary saying that Sue Kedgley is wrong to call for greater regulation of lobbying activities in New Zealand. But any concern that there is nothing in place to stop New Zealand’s parliamentarians replicating the worst excesses of their British counterparts is misplaced. 

Kedgley wrote the bill that Holly Walker introduced last year about regulation of lobbyists. It was so incompetently drafted that its impact on free speech would be monumental. If I responded to a tweet fron an MP on a copyright issue, then I could face a large fine if I didn’t notify the Auditor-General of that tweet!

I think there would be benefits in having a register of lobbyists and clients. This can of course be done without legislation, either voluntarily or through Standing Orders.

Kedgley’s bill is so over-reaching that for it to proceed, it would need such drastic surgery as to effectively be a new bill.

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The next Speaker

October 22nd, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Sue Kedgley writes:

The worst-kept secret in Parliament is that the present Speaker, Dr Lockwood Smith, is retiring at the end of the year and heading to London to become our high commissioner there.

The assumption is that the new Speaker will be a National Party MP, because for some odd reason it has been an accepted convention that the Speaker should come from the ranks of the party that is in government.

It isn’t an odd reason. It is the norm in almost every country.

Why shouldn’t long-serving MPs with vast political experience who are not members of the Government, such as Annette King, Winston Peters and Phil Goff, be selected as the next Speaker?

I’m not against an opposition MP being Speaker. in fact in 2008 I suggested Michael Cullen would be an excellent Speaker. But Peters would be the worst Speaker ever, and you’d have to be demented to suggest him. Goff is far far too partisan to ever be accepted. I’d have no problem with Annette King as Speaker – she’d be pretty good.

But I expect the Government will vote for a National MP, because at the end of the day, why wouldn’t they?

In 1992, former Clerk of the House, Sir David McGee, recommended that, once selected, New Zealand Speakers should remain in office, regardless of any change in government, until they retired from Parliament.

That’s not a terrible idea, unless they are a terrible Speaker.

In 1999, three former Speakers recommended that Speakers should sever their connections with any political party, and remain in office, (usually unopposed in their electorate) as long as the House was satisfied with their performance. The Speakers also questioned the idea that the Speaker’s appointment should be seen to be at the disposal of the prime minister, and as serving the purposes of the government.

This is a more silly idea, as it means only electorate MPs could become Speaker.

Surely it’s time, in 2012, to take up these ideas, and stipulate that a Speaker, once appointed, should sever links with their political party and become an independent MP. Perhaps future Speakers should also be selected by secret ballot, and be required to give up their right to vote, other than to exercise a casting or a conscience vote.

I quite like the idea of a secret ballot, so that the vote is truly an independent one.  The suggestion though that they give up their right to vote undermines MMP and proportional representation as it means the party they came from gets one less vote.

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Lobbyists

June 14th, 2011 at 2:30 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Legislation to set up a lobbyists register has been put forward by the Green Party.

Green MP Sue Kedgley today released a copy of Lobbying Disclosure Bill, which she said would go on to the member’s ballot at the next opportunity.

Well thanks to Labour filibustering, there won’t be an opportunity before the election, and as Sue is retiring it means the proposed bill will never be drawn unless another MP adopts it after the election. Its a good reminder of how Labour’s tactics are depriving all other backbenchers from having their bills considered.

Turning to the substance:

The bill would set up a register and a code of conduct for lobbyists.

As in Canada and other western countries, lobbyists would have to publicly notify all meetings with MPs.

I’m not entirely sure what problem this bill seeks to solve. All meetings are discoverable under the OIA. Do you need a law when an e-mail every six months will achieve the same with regard to meetings.

The proposed law also requires lobbyists to disclose their clients. Now look I’m not saying there is a problem with having a register, but it is already pretty well known who represents whom.  And some firms, such as Saunders Unsworth, actually list their clients on their website.

I’m not aware of any behaviour when a lobbyist has not disclosed whom they are acting on behalf of.

So while I’m not against a register of lobbyists, I don’t think it is the most pressing issue facing the country. but members bills are about backbench MPs proposing what they see as important, so Sue has done that.

”The public has no way of knowing who is lobbying their politicians or what they are being lobbied about. There is also no information available on which lobbyists have special access to Parliament granted to them by the Speaker,” Kedgley said.

This fixation with special access to Parliament mystifies me. Hundreds of non parliamentarians have ID cards for Parliament. Dozens of party office holders have them, as do dozens of the youth wings who often come in to volunteer. Family members have them, as do hundreds of govt officials.

We have security at Parliament not to make it hard for people to see MPs, but to stop terrorists coming in and blowing the place up. My view is that anyone who is a regular visitor to Parliament (say more than 2-3 times a year) should be able to get a ID card so long as someone will vouch for them.

I’ve had an ID card since 1996. I was staff from 1996 to 2004 and after I left I’ve kept a card as I usually come into Parliament once ever couple of months or so and it is handly to avoid going through the metal detectors.

In the last few months, most of my visits have actually been to meet Labour, Green and ACT MPs over the copyright and telecommunications bills (where I have in fact been lobbying for them to support changes that National was against), plus been attending meetings about the reporting of suicides chaired by Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne.

If there is a register of lobbyists, a key issue will be how you define lobbyists. 90% of lobbying is done directly by staff working for corporates. I would suggest they should be listed, not just the external lobbying firms.

Arguably I could be regarded as a lobbyist for InternetNZ. For many years I chaired their Public Policy Committee as Vice-President of InternetNZ. As VP I had a small honorarium of $12,000 a year. I’ve retired as VP, but still chair the now titled Policy Advisory Group. This involves literally chairing the monthly meetings, but also meeting with policy staff regularly to help develop submissions, pro-actively identifying policy issues etc. I am now technically a contractor, as I am no longer an officer, and still get $12,000 a year for it.

Now for the last seven years or so, I’ve been one of the InternetNZ people who speaks to our submissions at select committees, and meets with MPs to advocate for what we regard as good for the Internet.

One could argue I am a paid lobbyist for InternetNZ in my current role. I don’t quite see it like that because my advocacy is based on my beliefs of what is good for the Internet, which coincide with InternetNZ. But under the proposed law, I might be classified as a lobbyist. Now that doesn’t worry me at all, but it seems strange to me as I’m not like a lawyer or lobbyist who will argue for a client regardless of their own beliefs. If ever INZ adopted a policy position I disagreed with, I would not take part in the advocacy around it.

Now depending on how you define a lobbyist, my advocacy on behalf of InternetNZ might be deemed lobbying in my role as a contractor to them, but how about when I was their Vice-President? I was doing much the same then, as I was today. I would argue you should say that if I am deemed a lobbyist as a contractor, I am also a lobbyist as an office holder.

Now if you do take that definition, then just be aware that an awfully large number of people will now be classified as lobbyists. I’d suspect 1,000+ people would fall into that definition.

As I said at the beginning, thanks to Labour this bill will never see light of day. If it ever gets adopted by another MP in future, then a very interesting issue will be that definition of a lobbyist.

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100 – 30 is?

March 17th, 2011 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Andrea Fox at Stuff reports:

Kedgley says the report failed to address the central issue of lack of competition in the domestic market.

“It doesn’t tell us how the price of milk is set. Farmers say they receive less than 30 per cent of the price of milk, but it fails to shed any light on what makes up the other 60 per cent,” she says.

Maybe this is why the Greens are against national standards in numeracy and literacy?

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Kedgley attacks Key for calling Liz Hurley hot

January 30th, 2011 at 8:14 am by David Farrar

Oh dear. How dare a man, let alone the PM, say that Liz Hurley is “hot”. Next he’ll be hosting “bunga-bunga” parties like Silvio.

Sunday News reports:

Proving he’s a typical Kiwi bloke Key said that if he could be any sporting star he’d be an All Blacks captain but added he wouldn’t mind taking a swing at being Tiger Woods either.

“Obviously for the money I would be Tiger Woods. You get paid a truckload of money,” he said, adding “there are other benefits that clearly come with the job” too.

The conversation took a sexy turn after Veitch asked the jovial PM if he’d like to be love-rat Warnie. “Yeah, well given his current liaisons with Liz Hurley,” Key said.

“I like Liz Hurley actually. I reckon she is hot.”

And he is also an Brangelina fan:

He later said Sin City star “Jessica Alba looked pretty hot” despite her latest movie, Little Fockers, being “rubbish” and that Brad Pitt’s squeeze, Angelina Jolie “is not too bad” either. While Key’s comments might have been well received by Radio Sport’s predominantly male audience, they didn’t impress veteran MP and women’s rights campaigner Sue Kedgley.

The four-term Green MP, who will stand down at the upcoming election, said Key’s comments were boorish and unbecoming of a prime minister. …

“They do seem a little bit 1960s comments, rather than what you [would] expect in the 21st century.”

I suppose Key should have said that Angelina was aesthetically pleasing or something, to comply with Sue’s demands.

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Kedgley retires

September 17th, 2010 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Green MP Sue Kedgley this morning announced that she would not stand for Parliament at the 2011 election.

Ms Kedgley said after four terms she was pleased she had been able to put food, animal welfare and natural health issues on the political agenda.

I can’t think of a single issue I actually agree with Sue on, but I acknowledge she has been an effective campaigner for her causes, and probably has been part of the Greens’ electoral success – she appeals to the mums concerned about food etc.

I do recall interviewing her before the 2008 election, and she want on and on about the need for better public transport in Wellington, I remarked to her how great the new Snapper cards were, and Sue said that she didn’t actually have one. It confirmed my suspicion that she spends more time advocating for public transport than actually using it.

It will be interesting to see how the Greens go in 2011, without so many of their more “iconic” figures.

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Is it a parody or not?

April 16th, 2009 at 12:31 pm by David Farrar

I am getting confused on which Twitter accounts are parodies and which are not. Take two Green MPs.

The Sue Kedgley twitter account is a parody. The comments seem a bit too extreme, even for Sue, such as:

is off to find schools that sell kiddy killing food made by National Party supporting multinational fast food capitalists!

wants to ban anyone selling children unhealthy food. It should be like tobacco and alcohol. Kids don’t know what’s good for them! I do!

shocked that 84% of schools are still selling hot dogs, sausage rolls, hot bites or pies – no wonder kids are become fat, we need action!

is wondering if she could be elected Mayor of a Wellington supercity

Is sad that so many children were abused over Easter by the multinational chocolate capitalists that seduced their parents.

So I am pretty sure this is a parody account. Mind you Sue does go on about easter eggs a lot.

Then I saw Liberty Scott complaining about Catherine Delahunty’s twitterings. And my first reaction was that he has fallen for a very good parody.

But then I went and looked at Catherine’s twitter account, and I am not so sure it is a parody. Examples:

Gorgeous day in Te tairawhiti unless you want to appeal something to enviro court and dont have five hundred bucks just for filing fee

My mate Grant hawke has it right. Maori have been on the advisory commitee since eighteen forty enough already!

Despite the pretty words and new clothes am hoping new puppy at white house will stop killing afghanis and funding Israel wars on Palestine

Awesome Tairawhiti sunshine a good to start our own banks instead of trusting the white boy club

If it wasnt for almonds and dark chocolate I would go crazy here. As for Michael laws gang Bill who needs It?

Those QPEC people defending public and free education are awesome and palmy north was balmy today

I think it might be genuine.

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Vic Election Debate 2008

October 1st, 2008 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar
The Victoria University Debating Society Election Debate 2008
That we need a centre-right government
Affirmative:
Stephen Franks – National candidate for Wellington Central
Christopher Finlayson MP – National List MP and Rongotai candidate
Stephen Whittington – champion Victoria student debater
Negative:
Grant Robertson – Labour candidate for Wellington Central
Sue Kedgley MP – Green candidate for Wellington Central
Polly Higbee – champion Victoria student debater
Chair: Sean Plunket
Monday 6 October, 6.30pm – 8pm
Lecture Theatre One, Rutherford House, Victoria University of Wellington
Gold coin entry. Questions after the debate, then tea and cofffee.
Also debating fans may wish to check out this footage of Jen Savage on Breakfast. Savage was judged best speaker at the Secondary School World Champs, and you get some idea why with her performance on Breakfast. Someone to watch out for – she has declared she wants Paul Henry’s job :-)
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Wellington Central

October 1st, 2008 at 1:42 pm by David Farrar

Two fun opportunities for people interested in the Wellington Central race.

First we have the four main candidates on Backbenches tonight. Stephen Franks, Grant Robertson, Sue Kedgley and Heather Roy. They';; be talking about the economy, tax cuts and why you should vote for them!

I suspect a big audience tonight so pay to be there early. The show screens at 9.10 pm on TVNZ7.

Also iPredict has launched a set of three Wellington Central stocks.

You can invest in a Grant Robertson victory, a Stephen Franks victory or a “Other” victory in Wellington Central. The share will pay $1 if you win and the initial offer price is 55.5c for Grant, 43.5c for Stephen and 1c for Other.

Advanced investors can also buy a bundle of all three shares for exactly $1. If the combined price of all three is over $1, then you can make money buying the bundle and selling the individual stocks (or just the stock you think is over priced).

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Bits and Bytes

August 14th, 2008 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Lots to cover in brief. First the Australian political party leader who told off his 17 year old daughter on Facebook, exposing her drunken party photos to the world! Also wonderful is the conversation between two of Alexander Downer’s children on Facebook about why he was so pompous in a photo :-)

Bernard Hickey complains (as I often have done) that we are paying $79 million into TVNZ6 and TVNZ7 yet they won’t make them available on Sky TV. He quotes former TVNZ Head of News Paul Norris in support – they have a reponsibility to make them widely available and could extend them with a flick of a switch to 700,000 households overnight.

Andrew Bolt has a fascinating exchange with an academic over the “stolen generation”. While there certainly is much in Australia’s past that was deplorable (as in NZ), it is apparent that certain portions of it such as the “stolen generation” have been over-hyped. He cites the example of one Aboriginal leader who claimed to be part of the “stolen” generation who was “taken from my family” but in fact was put up for adoption by her father who could not cope with five children.

Lindsay Perigo writes a moving account of his last face to face meal with Anna Woolf, who is dying of brain cancer. Even just reading his account makes the eyes water – I can’t imagine how hard it is for those who are close to Anna, let alone Anna herself.

The Telegraph points out that if Michael Phelps was a country, he would be coming 5th on the Olympic medal table – ahead of Italy, Russia, Australian and Great Britain.

Frog Blog joins Nick Smith on wondering why DOC is spending so much money on a new corporate brand, when it has just laid off 60 workers to save money.

Liberty Scott exposes Sue Kedgley’s scaremongering over cellphone towers. Good God, this debate was settled over a decade ago in terms of science. I’d be more inclined to take Sue’s campaign against the towers seriously if she’d give up her cellphone.

Lindsay Mitchell covers the launch of a second Maori based party. The Hapu Party is led by David Rankin, and three policies to date:

  1. To have Maori eligible for the pension at age 56, because of the lower life-expectancy of Maori
  2. To introduce a flat rate 18% personal tax and GST rate.
  3. To immediately allocate all treaty settlement money directly to hapu and marae

They have me with policy No 2. Policy No 3 is between Iwi and Hapu to resolve in my opinion, and Policy No 1 has no chance. Worryingly for the Maori Party, Rankin also talks of financial irregularities with a Maori Party MP and a SFO complaint.

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Madness Part 3

June 9th, 2008 at 3:31 pm by David Farrar

And the third and final part is just as good. Read this third post by Sue Kedgley. I like this part especially:

The President of one of the main Italian NGO’s, for example, Antonio Duovati, from the Committee for Food Sovereignty, explained that New Zealand is seen, thanks to our flag waving for free trade liberalization policies, as ‘an enemy of the third world’ and a slave of America and Europe.

Oh wow we get to be both an enemy of the third world, and a slave of America and Europe. Do you get badges to go with that?

You know what is really funny. All these people decrying the effort to alleviate the food crisis – I bet you very very few are from countries starving. Sue is quoting oh gosh an Italian NGO. I bet you they are starving. Now fo course you don’t have to be starving to have a view on food policies, but I reckon the views of Sue and her Italian mates that NZ is an enemy of the third world, is not shared by those in the actual third world.

Anyway to make up for all the irresistible Greens bashing, I should point out that Frog has done a very good response to my post on trying to get an overhang in Parliament, and is what I call a partial retreat. I still think they are on somewhat dangerous grounds talking about party votes for the Maori Party being wasted, because they are only wasted if there is overhang. One you get past an overhang situation, a party vote for one Party is just as valuable as a party vote for any other party which makes the threshold. But nice to have a thoughtful response.

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And more madness

June 9th, 2008 at 1:21 pm by David Farrar

Oh it gets even better. The first blog post from Sue Kedgley sees her blaming free trade for the third world food crisis (and contradicting herself as she complains about subsidies). Now it gets even worse – Bill Gates and GE rear their head. Read Sue’s second blog post:

It was to be expected, but still a shock, to find Bill Gates and the Rockefeller foundation at the conference (they weren’t excluded like the NGOs) launching a new bold sounding “Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.

Good God. They let Bill Gates in. How dare they. I mean his charitable foundation only spends US$800 million a year on global health initiatives – almost more than the UN’s WHO. And with the Rockefeller Foundation have only invested US$150 million to enhance agricultural science and small-farm productivity in Africa.

The cads. We should shoot them at dawn. How dare they be allowed into a conference to discuss helping solve the food crisis.

The Rockefeller foundation are also evil doers. All they have done is develop the vaccine for yellow fever, funded social sciences and funded agricultural development to expand food supplies around the world. The heartless bastards. They have been so sucessful at health and food that the UN WHO was set up on their model, and they are actually credited with funding the Green Revolution in the 1940s to 1960s which increased agricultural production around the planet.

So maybe you know they are not totally bad people to have there.

But what were these bastards doing:

In partnership with various UN agencies, aimed at ‘lifting millions out of poverty and hunger by increasing the  productivity and profitability of small scale farms in Africa.

My goodness, the very thing Sue was complaining about in her previous post – that local farming was unsustainable.

a bold journalist asked directly whether the seeds would be genetically engineered.  They then admitted that some would be, such as a new strain of Nevica rice which ‘takes the flavour of Asia and the robustness of rice in West Africa to produce a high yielding rice.

Oh my God. How sick are those people. They want to produce a high yielding rice which is more robust. We can have no part of that. Far better people starve than we use technology.

I was not allowed to speak at the conference, or attend any bilateral meetings or negotiating sessions

And I never thought I would be saying this, but let us hear three big cheers for Jim Anderton. He may have saved NZ global embarrassment.

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The madness of the Greens

June 9th, 2008 at 1:01 pm by David Farrar

I encourage everyone to go read the blog post by Sue Kedgley on the World Food Conference in Rome. It is a stunning example of madness and extremism.

They argued that the main cause of the crisis was that food production in much of the developing world has been decimated by three decades of globalization and free trade liberalization policies. Previously self sufficient countries had been unable to compete with heavily subsidized, cheap European and American food and so small self sufficient agricultural sectors collapsed in country after country, leaving developing countries dependent on imports and food aid.

Now read this carefully. In the first sentence she blames the food crisis on free trade liberalization policies (never mind even the very lefty UN is blaming it on biofuels and saying free trade is the solution), and then in the second sentence she complains about heavily subsidized cheap food undermining local agricultural sectors.

Earth to Sue – come in Sue. That is protectionism – the very thing you are in favour of. People who support free trade like me want subsidies and tariffs to be abolished. That way those countries which can most efficiently produce food, get to do so. I suspect Africa would boom in terms of food production if indeed one can get Europe and the US to remove their subsidies and tariffs.

It is scary that a long serving MP can not know the difference between free trade and protectionism. I think this shows that the anti globalisation fanatics have just started to use it as a slogan. Anything they are against they label as free trade and globalisation.

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Wellington Central

March 19th, 2008 at 1:02 pm by David Farrar

NZPA through Stuff report that Sue Kedgley will again be the Green Party candidate for Wellington Central.

WC is the highest party vote in NZ for The Greens. I thought they might stand Russel Norman there this time as he is a co-leader, and would attract even more attention.

National makes it selection tonight. I’ll blog it when known. I think it will be very close.

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