Fairfax Sundays online

September 30th, 2012 at 3:53 pm by David Farrar

Both the Herald and the SST do a pretty good job of getting their major news stories online.

However the SST Columnists section has not been updated for over a month. This is embarrassing. Either don’t have a section for them or make sure it is kept up to date.

Even worse is the Sunday News. Their lead story is dated 5 August – almost two months out of date. Again either remove the Sunday News from the Stuff website, or make sure at least a couple of the articles are recent. Their second to top article is an April 2012 article!!

I know each newspaper is responsible for their own section on Stuff, so it is not the direct responsibility of thr main Stuff team. But nevertheless it is on their site, and if the newspapers can’t keep it current, they should chop them!

Sunday coverage of expenses

June 13th, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The HoS reports Chris Carter is close to quitting Parliament:

New Zealand’s first openly gay Cabinet minister is close to quitting Parliament because he is sick of being attacked as a “luxury-loving gay boy”.

Chris will quite Parliament at the next election – because his colleagues are so pissed off at him.

“Do you want to live your life with this stuff going on all the time? You know, I love being an MP. But there might well be a point soon where I think this is just not worth it.”

Yes, how dare one have to endure scrutiny of spending.

But he said the public perception of him as living the high-life at the taxpayer’s expense was grossly inaccurate – and he still drives a 1996 Suzuki Swift.

The only thing grossly inaccurate is Chris’ perception. It is a shame – he used to have a well developed political instinct, but it has deserted him.

“I have lots of faults … but arrogance, pride and love of luxury are not among them.”‘

So why the $6,000 of limo hire?

No other Minister has been “forced” into hiring them, as you claim you were by the Australian Government.

Matt McCarten writes:

This week the credit card expenses came out on Thursday and none of it was good for Labour.

A number of former Labour ministers clearly didn’t know where the line between their public responsibilities and personal luxury needs started and finished. …

But what these ministers didn’t get is there are rightly different standards for them. They are in the privileged positions of being leaders, where their personal ethics and integrity are important no matter what their political stripes. Carelessly using a ministerial card for personal luxuries is thoughtless at best and corrupt at worst.

There are two types of politicians – those that think it’s a privilege to be a representative of the people and those who think it’s a privilege for us to have them. You can guess which category the ministerial card abusers fall under.

As we saw in the previous story.

And Kerre Woodham writes:

Phil Goff thundered sanctimoniously that Heatley’s position went to his head.

He’d barely been minister for a year, Phil Goff expostulated, and his sense of entitlement was such that he ordered two bottles of wine with dinner. Heads should roll, Phil finished.

Well, as sure as the karma bus will make a stop at your door, Labour has found itself having to explain away thousands of dollars worth of credit card bills run up by its former ministers.

Karma indeed.

Chris Carter, the serial trougher, was at it again. Despite being advised repeatedly as to what was appropriate use for his ministerial credit card, and despite being sent the entire parliamentary policy on credit card use, just as a reminder, Chris Carter continually bent the rules.

Movies, flowers, fruit and massages – whether the massages had happy endings isn’t specified on the bill – all popped up on Carter’s credit card.

Oh Kerre. Too much detail.

And the HoS editorial:

The most extraordinary aspect of the scandal over spending irregularities that has destroyed Shane Jones’ leadership aspirations – and possibly his entire political career – is that he ever imagined he might get away with it.

In numerical terms, Jones is not in fact the worst offender in the latest round of revelations: his one-time colleague in Cabinet, Education Minister Chris Carter, actually ran up 33 per cent more than Jones – on flowers, designer clothing and spa treatments.

Most gallingly, he used his ministerial card to buy flowers for Lianne Dalziel after she was sacked as Immigration Minister for lying about having leaked documents to a television channel.

The logic by which he could regard it as a ministerial duty to console a colleague who had sought to deceive the public remains obscure to everybody but him, it appears.

The thought of personally paying for the flowers did not occur I suspect.

… principal among them is the requirement that no personal expenditure be incurred on a ministerial card. That means precisely what it says: it does not mean that it is all right to run up private expenses with the intention of later reimbursing them.

Many of us run two or more plastic cards and make daily decisions about which to use, for reasons of our own personal accounting. It is no great burden to do so, and it is the least we might expect of someone carrying a card for which the taxpayer picks up the tab.

No great burden and very common.

The events of the week have surely irretrievably damaged the mana of a man who was widely tipped to succeed Phil Goff as Labour leader and, in the eyes of many, potentially the country’s first Maori Prime Minister.

Sad though that is, there is a sense here of history repeating itself. Winston Peters and John Tamihere were in their turn cloaked with the mantle of future premiership.

Hmmn, it does seem to be a sort of curse.

And finally the SST reports:

Jones is being urged not to resign as Goff looks set to use the scandal to shake up his front bench.

Jones and Te Atatu MP Chris Carter face demotion tomorrow after Goff’s return to a party in disarray over revelations going back seven years.

The release of credit card receipts last week show Carter notched up bills for limousines, flowers and massages, while Jones watched dozens of pornographic movies. He repaid the money before he handed in his credit card, but Carter is still paying money back.

Jones, who has been tipped as a potential leader, is considering his future, but has ruled out resigning.

Samuels said Jones shouldn’t quit. “He has got leadership qualities I don’t think anybody else in the party has. Many in Maoridom would be very disappointed if he resigned.”

And besides if Jones goes, who else will be there to grant citizenship for Dover’s mates?

Finally John Tamihere writes in Sunday News:

THIS week the Department of Internal Affairs disclosed detailed lists identifying expenditure of ministers in the Labour Government from 2003-2008. I was a minister from 2002-2004.

I had no idea I could order massages, flowers, porn movies and booze galore. The biggest scalp achieved by the clever release of this information was Shane Jones.

While others erred and were arguably worse, particularly Chris Carter, Jones is the big story.

He entered Parliament as the Labour Party attack weapon on the Maori Party and as a person who had huge cross-over appeal into non-Maori communities.

He has Dalmatian ancestry and was gaining significant support for a tilt at the Labour leadership once they lose the 2011 election.

I am not sure Jones was going to wait until 2011.  Phil Goff’s leadership has been made much safer by this.

The question is, can he survive as a politician? He is a list MP and does not have a constituency to fall back on. He is at the whim of the back-room Labour Party machinery.

That machinery is driven predominantly by a group of women who stretch across the gay, union and the woman’s divisions of the party. They control the moderation committee that decides where you sit on the party list. I sat on that committee for the 1999 and 2002 elections.

All of Shane’s colleagues are going to tell him he has a future in politics and not to quit. And then come the 2011 list ranking, he’ll be given an unwinnable place.

Sunday News on Jacinda

March 8th, 2010 at 9:17 am by David Farrar

The Sunday News gushes over Jacinda Ardern:

Ardern is sleek and luminous today, despite running late after a morning spent hearing submissions on the Super City.

She says she’s flustered but it doesn’t show. Her classy tan-and-black dress is by Christchurch designer Carolyn Barker. Her make-up is flawless, her hair frizz-free. The overall impression is one of both energy and calm.

Sleek, luminous, classy, flawless, energy and calm. It sounds like an interview with Angelina Jolie 🙂

Ardern’s single and has been devoted to Labour since before she could vote.

So it’s a little strange that she has been compared to former National MP Katherine Rich, who bowed out before the last election to spend more time with her family.

Ardern: “Someone said to me, `are you the new Katherine Rich?’ I said, `you know I am in Labour?”‘ She laughs.

I would have thought the more appropriate comparison is to a young Helen Clark.

“Helen [Clark] dedicated her entire life to what she did, in lots of ways. As long as I’m able to make a difference, I’d be willing to do that as well, I think.”

Like Helen, Jacinda plans a life in politics.

Good friend and fellow Labour MP Grant Robertson shared an office with Adern through the “extraordinarily stressful” 2005 election year, when they were both advisors to Clark.

He says Adern defies her age.

“I think she’s made a great beginning. I’d like to think Jacinda will be a cabinet minister in fairly short order.”

Labour are unlikely to be in Government until 2014 or even 2017+, but I have little doubt Jacinda will be a Minister in the next Labour Government – as will Grant.

Labour’s bail laws

October 4th, 2009 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Some good research by the Sunday News:

VICTIMS’ families fiercely criticised changes to the bail laws fearing that they would let more dangerous criminals out on the streets.

Now new figures released show nearly 10 per cent, or 5000 more offenders, were freed on bail when the Bail Amendment Act 2007 came in.

And more than a third were facing serious violent charges, including manslaughter and murder.

Fortunately the changes have since been repealed.

In 2006, less than 48,000 defendants were bailed by the courts – that rose to 50,910 in 2007. After the new bail laws were brought in, the numbers of accused freed on bail rose dramatically to 55,730, according to Ministry of Justice figures obtained by Sunday News under the Official Information Act.

Of those bailed in 2008, almost 20,000 were facing serious violence charges and more than 14,000 were charged with drugs offences.

What would be interesting is how many of those released on bail had previous convictions?

The 2007 Bail Act had changed the law so defendants facing trial or sentence had to pose a “real and significant risk” of breaching bail, reoffending or interfering with a witness for bail to be declined. Before, the defendant only had to pose a “risk”.

This was done as a cost saving measure by Labour.

Whom to believe

September 20th, 2009 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

In the Sunday News we read:

A TVNZ in-house legal adviser helped shape the confidentiality agreement between Tony Veitch and ex-girlfriend Kristin Dunne-Powell over what was later publicly revealed as a domestic violence incident, a source close to the case has revealed.

When the scandal broke in July last year, TVNZ said they told Veitch it was a private matter for him and they would help him fi nd his own lawyer.

But Sunday News has been told the state-owned network’s legal adviser Helen Wild was involved in framing the agreement “on behalf of TVNZ’’, working alongside Veitch’s lawyers to “finalise the best possible terms for Tony’’.

The source said Wild met the then-sports presenter’s lawyers Richard Burrell and Willie Akel in the days leading up to the signing of Veitch’s $150,000 payout, and offered them written advice on the agreement’s wording.

Yet in the Herald on Sunday we read:

TVNZ is fuming over reports questioning some of its executives’ roles in the Tony Veitch saga and has reiterated its full confidence in them and chief executive Rick Ellis.

A report in another publication this week raised allegations that suggested TVNZ executives may have originally been more fully aware of the Veitch assault allegations than publicly acknowledged.

This included an allegation that Veitch signed the Kristin Dunne-Powell confidentiality agreement in a second-floor TVNZ office – well before the case ever became public – and that this took place in front of company representatives.

Last night TVNZ spokeswoman Megan Richards said the confidentiality agreement was not signed in the TVNZ lawyer’s second-floor office. “Nobody at TVNZ had any part in the negotiations concerning the confidentiality agreement.”

So how do you reconcile that? Let’s go back to the Sunday News article:

TVNZ spokeswoman Megan Richards said yesterday: “Nobody at TVNZ was involved in any of the negotiations between them (Veitch and Dunne-Powell).

“The only statements we made at the time remain true, accurate and very careful statements of TVNZ’s understanding at the time.”

My reading of this is TVNZ is using near Clintonian definitions to cover up. They are interpreting negotiations as being only between Veitch and Dunne-Powell’s teams.

But if a TVNZ lawyer was sitting in the back room advising the Veitch team as to what to agree to, then that means they are effectively part of the negotiations – just behind the scenes.

TVNZ’s denial is missing the point. The public don’t care about the difference between advising the negotiating team and being part of it. The core issue is were TVNZ staff involved in the confidentially agreement in any way, despite the public statements it was a private matter for Veitch and did not involve his employer.

Sunday News on National

August 23rd, 2009 at 6:47 am by David Farrar

The Sunday News has a story on National Party President Peter Goodfellow, and the fact he is currently living with the ex-wife of fellow board member Scott Simpson, Desley Simpson.

They have majorly fucked up though with the photo they ran, which is of Scott Simpson and a former girlfriend, not Desley Simpson.

The story says:

THE under-fire National Party president has shacked up with the socialite wife of the man poised to succeed him if he is forced from the role. …

Now Sunday News can reveal that Goodfellow lives with Desley Simpson, the wife of Scott Simpson who is likely to fight for his job should he stand down.

I don’t want to get into great detail on this issue but it is important to note Desley and Scott’s separation happened well before Desley got together with Peter.This is not a case of a wife leaving her husband for a rival, as the story suggests.

The relationship is not secret – I doubt a single person at National Conference was unaware of it, especially as Desley was there at Peter’s side. Most people don’t think it is a big issue if someone’s ex-wife is now dating someone else in the party.

The two leading contenders for party presidency were Goodfellow and fellow board member Simpson.

Several well-placed National sources said that if Goodfellow, whose family is 16th on NBR’s 2009 Rich List with a wealth of $550 million, was to be moved from his position, Simpson would likely fight for the job.

As, could other board members.

Simpson told Sunday News he was aware his wife was in a relationship with the man who beat him in the race for president but was unfazed.

“My former wife and I separated four or five years ago and we have almost zero contact and that’s just the way it is.

So it isn’t really a love triangle. Desley and Peter got together around three to four years after Scott and Desley seperated.