The Rena leaks further

October 11th, 2011 at 12:31 pm by David Farrar

The NZ Herald reports:

An oil spill from the stricken cargo ship off the coast of Tauranga has increased in size “several times over” due to a new breach in a main fuel tank.

Maritime New Zealand said between 130 and 350 tonnes of oil leaked out of the Rena this morning.

It had previously estimated a spill of between 20 and 30 tonnes.

A spokesman said the massive new spill meant oil was now spewing from a main fuel tank on the vessel.

He said oil was continuing to leak from the tank and was heading south west towards Mt Maunganui.

“One of the main tanks has been breached. It is very significant in the scheme of things.” …

Maritime New Zealand says the Rena’s orientation on the reef has changed by about 4 degrees, and that as a precautionary measure, further non-essential crew members had been taken off the ship with assistance from the Navy.

Incident Controller Rob Service says the oil’s been reported on Mt Maunganui and Papamoa beaches, but is likely to eventually extend as far south to as Maketu.

It’s highly likely that oil will enter the harbour area, and Maritime New Zealand says this can’t be prevented due to very strong currents -but it will be cleaned up.

Mt Maunganui is a stunning beach. I went there often when I was younger, and still get to enjoy it occassionaly when visiting friends in the area. I hate the thought of such a lovely beach being drenched in oil.

350 tonnes of oil is a shit load, and will take a significant period of time to disperse, and even longer to have its impact neutralised. It does pale in comparison I guess with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill which was around 610,000 tonnes or 1,750 times as big as this.

There is focus on whether Maritime NZ reacted as quickly as it could have. I don’t know enough to judge, but I would make the observation that there have been other issues with that entity which have not filled me with huge confidence. The Government could do well to ensure that after the boat is salvaged or sunk and the clean up done, that there is an independent inquiry into the response by Maritime NZ. No need for a full commission of inquiry, but it would be good to establish if we can do better in future. It is impossible of course to prevent an accident of this nature, which is why we need to focus on how to mitigate the consequences in future.

Bob’s testicles are back

March 21st, 2011 at 11:29 am by David Farrar

The BoP Times reports:

A war of words has erupted between former and current local National Party MPs over a controversial potential new law.

Former MP Bob Clarkson has accused current Tauranga MP Simon Bridges of toeing the party line over the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill, while Mr Bridges has said Mr Clarkson “doesn’t much like dealing with complicated issues like this”.

Mr Clarkson also said he tried regaining National’s Tauranga candidacy this year partly to stop the controversial foreshore legislation reaching law.

Bob is only one year older than Jim Anderton, so must be inspired by him.

I’m pretty confident that Simon’s majority will remain in the five figure range. He is extremely popular in Tauranga.

The Marine and Coastal Areas Bill is generating a significant level of angst – especially in provincial cities and towns.

The fact that Hone and others are campaigning against it, because they thinks the test for customary title are far too tough, indicates to me that the balance is about right.

As the NZ Herald reported, the actual difference in positions between National, ACT and Labour are not in fact great – they agree on a lot more than they disagree.

One major point of difference is that ACT believe the courts should set the test for customary title. This is an entirely legitimate view. What isn’t mentioned is that it is quite possible the courts (and it would probable y eventually be a decision of the Supreme Court lead by Chief Justice Elias) would set an easier test for customary title.

Peters rules out Tauranga

March 19th, 2010 at 10:07 am by David Farrar

NewstalkZB reports:

New Zealand first leader Winston Peters will not contest the Tauranga seat at the next election.

Mr Peters was the MP for Tauranga for 21 years before being ousted by National’s Bob Clarkson in 2005.

Simon Bridges won it again for National at the last election.

No surprise as Winston now lives in Auckland.

Of course the fact that Simon beat Winston by a massive 32% – 57% to 25%, may be a small factor in it also!

The Central North Island Seats

November 13th, 2008 at 12:15 am by David Farrar

Oh I do like that solid blue look. And in 2002 only a handful were blue.

Hunua is a new seat. The party vote is another 60:20 type solid seat. On the electorate vote Paul Hutchison narrowly beat Jordan Carter by 14,738 votes and Roger Douglas another 2,700 votes behind Jordan.

Waikato is 58% to 22% on the party vote. And Lindsay Tisch drove his majority from 7,000 to almost 12,000.

Coromandel went from 45% to 31% up to 51% to 26%. And Sandra Goudie scored a 13,400 majority for the seat she won in 2005.

The two Hamilton seats are no longer marginal weathervanes. Hamilton East went from a 9% party vote lead for National to a 19% lead. And David Bennett turned a 5,300 majority into one of over 8.000. Hamilton West saw an 11% lead in the party vote for National after being 2% behind in 2005. And Tim Macindoe turned his 1,100 loss in 2005 to a 1,500 victory in 2008.

Bay of Plenty is another 60:20 seat on the party vote. and Tony Ryall got a massive 16,500 majority up from 11,000 in 2005.

In 2005 in Tauranga, National had a 15% lead in the party vote. In 2008 the lead was 32%. Bob Clarkson beat Winston Peters by 730 votes in 2005. This time Simon Bridges beat him by 10,700. Simon will be happy to be the Member of Tauranga for some time.

Rotorua saw National lift the party vote from 43% to 51%, and Todd McClay scored a majority of almost 5,000 over a sitting Minister.

Taupo saw a party vote victory of 15% and Louise Upston beat Mark Burton by almost 6,000 votes. She ran a good campaign and for a big enough majority to make it safe for National. Burton got 2300 more votes than Labour so even harder for any future Labour candidate.  I also heard a rumour that Louise held the first meeting of her 2011 campaign committee at 8.15 am on Sunday morning 🙂

The East Coast had a 15% lead in the party vote (the graphic has it wrong) and on the electorate vote Anne Tolley turned a 2,500 majority into a 6,000 majority.

The growing seat of Napier saw National go from a 1% lead in the party vote to a 12% lead. And Chris Tremain drove his 3,300 victory over Russell Fairbrother in 2005 to a 8,400 margin. Remember this is a seat Labour held for all but three years from 1928 to 2005 and Tremain is building John Carter or Nick Smith type majorities as a brilliant local MP who owns his seat.

Over on the west coast, we have the huge Taranaki-King Country seat which is another of those lovely 60:20 seats.  And the 12,000 majority motors up to 14,500.

Finally we have New Plymouth. National was ahead on the party vote last time by 8% and this time it was 20%. And it was too much for Harry Duynhoven who lost the seat by 300 votes. In 2005 he held it by almost 5,000 votes and in 2002 his majority was a staggering 15,000. New candidate Jonathan Young will be watching the special votes though.

Labour will struggle to form a Government again, while so many seats have them getting just 1 in 5 party votes. Every seat in this region had at least an 11% gap in the party vote, with many having a 40% gap.

Electorate Polls

November 2nd, 2008 at 6:30 pm by David Farrar

I’ve blogged over on curiablog the results fo several recent electorate polls, including tonight’s one in Tauranga. The topline results are:

  • Tauranga – Bridges 26% ahead of Peters. Labour’s Pankhurst in 4th place at 5%. NZ First Party Vote down from 13% in 2005 to 6%.
  • Palmerston North – National candidate Malcolm Plimmer ahead by 3%
  • Ikaroa-Rawhiti – Parekura Horomia 5.4% ahead of Derek Fox
  • Nelson – Nick Smith 36% ahead of Maryan Street
  • West Coast-Tasman – Damien O’Connor 3.5% ahead of Chris Auchinvole
  • Te Tai Tonga – Maori TV/TNS has Mahara Okeroa ahead of Rahui Katene by 10% – 49% to 39%. However Marae Digipoll has Okeroa bejind by 6% – 40% to 46%
  • Hauraki-Waikato – Nanaia Mahuta ahead of Angeline Greensill by 0.6%

All three Maori seats held by Labour are highly competitive. In two seats Labour is ahead and in the seat with conflcitign results, an averaging of them out would see Labour ahead. This means that the Maori Party may not have much of an overhang at all – in fact they could even gain a List MP if they got 4% or so party vote.

Palmerston North is the only Labour held seat that a public poll has shown National ahead in, so far. Due to boundary changes Taupo and Rotorua are technically National’s on paper.

Based on boundary changes and public polls (and note this is not a personal prediction) the electorate seats would be:

  1. National 35
  2. Labour 28
  3. Maori 4
  4. ACT 1
  5. United Future 1
  6. Progressive 1

Labour will in one sense be very pleased to be ahead in all three Maori seats. However this does lessen their chances of winning via overhang.

And the Tauranga result is superb. With only 5% voting Labour on the electorate vote anyway, it means no amount of tactical voting in Tauranga can put Winston back in that way.

Where’s Winston?

October 14th, 2008 at 3:08 pm by David Farrar

We’re in Tauranga and driving in have yet to see a single Winston billboard or hoarding.

Saw nine Simon Bridges ones driving in. A couple of Labour. Even saw Greens, and Kiwi Party. And saw one for Peter Brown.

But not a single hoarding yet for Winston. Why?

And over in Hamilton, saw NZ First hoardings for Doug Woolerton and unlike all the other years, no photo of Winston. Have they worked out he is now a negative brand?

Anyway we are heading into the CBD now, trying to find a photo of Winston or even better, the man himself. Or failing Winston, we’ll try visiting that nice Tommy Gear’s place. After all Winston officially lives with Tommy.

Tauranga likes John

October 7th, 2008 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

NZPA reports:

The National Party’s newly-announced ‘life means life’ policy for repeat violent criminals won loud approval in Tauranga today.

Party leader John Key got rousing applause when he talked about National’s plans to get tough on crime in an open-air lunch-time address which attracted a crowd of about 300.

The gathering was reminiscent of the signature rallies former Tauranga MP Winston Peters held during his heyday in Tauranga’s Mid-City Mall, known colloquially as Red Square. …

Despite relentless rain, Mr Key was welcomed warmly and seemed to surrounded by supporters. Not an interjection was heard.

Speaking without notes, an upbeat Mr Key pushed all the right buttons.

“Simon (Bridges) is going to be the next MP for Tauranga and he is going to be there for a very long time,” brought claps and cheers.

Further applause greeted each topic the National leader roamed, ranging from boot camps for young criminals to raising wages.

Winston may make 5% but I don’t think he is ever going to be able to say again that he is happy just to be the MP for Tauranga!

Tony Ryall, National MP for Bay of Plenty, was also on the platform and got a mention but it was his son Llewellyn, kitted out in a pin-stripe suit like his father’s, a National Party name badge in place on the lapel, who was the star. He stepped up to the microphone and exhorted: “Vote for National and John Key.”

The confident seven-year-old was no stranger to accompanying his dad on election campaigns but has not committed yet to becoming a politician.

“I think I might be a pilot,” he told NZPA.

What a sensible chap. A pilot is a far better paying job! 🙂

Roughan on Bridges

September 25th, 2008 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

NZ Herald Assistant Editor John Roughan interviews the next MP for Tauranga – SImon Bridges. Well worth a read.

And the Dom Post reports on Bob Clarkson’s two second valedictory speech.

A 100 person poll in Tauranga

August 29th, 2008 at 11:30 am by David Farrar

Just been e-mailed a story from the Bay of Plenty Times. It is not online. They did a “snapshot survey” of 100 voters in Tauranga. Now 100 gives a 10% or so margin of error and it isn’t strictly scientific as it is of people who happened to be out on the streets. But as the results are so extreme, it is not without some news value. On the electorate vote, the responses were:

  1. Simon Bridges (Nat) 53%
  2. Undecided 18%
  3. Anne Pankhurst (Lab) 16%
  4. Winston Peters (NZF) 12%
  5. Larry Baldock (Kiwi) 1%

And this was done before Owen Glenn revealed Winston Peters solicited the donation from him!

I did not think it was possible to score third behind Anne Pankhurst, who is quite reviled in Tauranga due to her local body career. But he has done it.

And can the Kiwi Party stalwarts now shut up about how Larry may take the seat as a dark horse candidate.

Tauranga Poll Results

August 10th, 2008 at 7:12 pm by David Farrar

For those who missed the poll on One News, I have the results on curiablog.

Obviously the great news is that Simon Bridges is 20% ahead of Winston Peters. Peters is facing a crushing from someone born around the time Peters was first elected to Parliament.

What I also found also of interest is the party vote results with NZ First at only 6%. Last election they got over 13% so this is a loss of over half their support.

HoS on Peters

August 3rd, 2008 at 10:59 am by David Farrar

The Herald on Sunday editorial calls for the winds of change:

New Zealand First leader and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has exceeded even his own characteristically pugnacious standards in the past week as he has continued to deflect questions about the cash donations made either to him or to his party. Promising much but delivering nothing in terms of clearing the air, he has engaged in behaviour which has been at times hard to distinguish from the paranoid and irrational.

Except that Peters is just acting – the whole thing is just a charade to him.

It is difficult not to see Peters’ actions as those of a man committing slow political suicide. His party’s poll ratings (which is to say his; there has never been a significant distinction) are averaging barely 3.5 per cent, a long way from the threshold that would ensure its return to Parliament (he seems beyond unlikely to recapture the Tauranga seat).

National’s Tauranga candidate Simon Bridges is a very happy man. Peters may or may not fool 5% of the electorate into believing his protests he is victim of a media conspiracy, but he will not fool 40% of Tauranga voters.

But what is much more likely is that his behaviour is both shrewdly calculated and tactically astute. Fighting for his political life, Peters is interested in appealing only to the small number of voters – most of them lapsed NZ First loyalists who are making eyes at National – who can push his party over the threshold. If he alienates and exasperates the rest of the country, generous wealthy donors, his political opponents and even his coalition partners in the process, that is neither here nor there.

Spot on. He is not worried about the 90% who will never vote for him. He is just trying to lock in half or more of the 10% who might vote for him.

Until now, the Prime Minister has adopted a legalistic wait-and-see approach, saying she must let matters run their course. It is notable that her endorsements of Peters, never warm, are becoming steadily cooler. But it is intolerable that she should allow one of her ministers the freedom to manipulate the democratic process.

Clark will be laughed at if she tries to campaign on transparency or accountability.

Up to now, she has had to consider the implications for the coalition’s stability of alienating Peters, but this week, as the last of the Budget legislation is passed, represents the last procedural opportunity for NZ First to bring the Government down and force an early election. Come Friday, the PM could, and should, sack the minister and expose him to the chill electoral winds that are blowing his way. It would be a good thing for the country if those winds, once and for all, blew him from the political stage.

She made pretty clear on Agenda this morning, she would not be doing that.

Winston confirms candidacy for Tauranga

June 22nd, 2008 at 7:58 pm by David Farrar

Winston has finally confirmed what we all know – he is standing for Tauranga:

… today we are talking about a comeback.

Not a comeback aimed at personal glory but a comeback aimed at righting the wrongs of the last three years of an incompetent incumbent.

An incumbent frightened of a rematch – he has run scared.

He has embarrassed the people of Tauranga for three years and has delivered nothing.

This is a comeback which will bring hope to Tauranga again.

This will be very interesting. He seems to still be campaigning against Bob Clarkson rather than his actual opponent of Simon Bridges.

Now you have to ask yourselves one simple question – who has been the real MP for Tauranga over the past three years.

Who has delivered – just as he said he would?

In many ways I have never stopped being the MP for Tauranga.

Well yes he has apart from the fact he moved out of the electorate, now lives in Auckland and also closed down his Tauranga office. Minor details the good people of Tauranga may recall.

Who will deal with the revolting scourge of gangs – wrecking their p-crazed violence and havoc on innocent New Zealanders?

Tauranga is not immune from this scourge. We need a voice of experience and strength.

We need a leader who can look these criminals in the eye and not flinch.

Wow, sounds like we need someone who say has been a crown prosecutor!

Ralston on Peters

June 15th, 2008 at 8:43 am by David Farrar

Bill Ralston sees an end:

You can never write off Winston Peters. That well worn cliche is trotted out by commentators at every election. Except, this election, I believe at last we can write off Peters. I suspect even he is no longer confident of ever again being “happy as the MP for Tauranga” and at age 63, he is wistfully eyeing the prospect of retirement from politics in October.

I would just make the point that not winning Tauranga does not mean retirement for Peters if his party makes 5%.

National has just selected its candidate for Tauranga, Simon Bridges, the party’s electorate chairman and a Crown prosecutor. He is half Peters’ age.

Bridges’ youth neatly underlines the fact that Peters is a political dinosaur, a throw-back to the era of his mentor and role model, Rob Muldoon. Bridges was barely born when Muldoon was Prime Minister and Winston was first on the hustings.

That National is willing to put up someone more than just a lame stooge means it is serious about winning the electorate and it is confident Peters and New Zealand First are dog tucker.

National certainly is serious about winning the electorate. The outcome is of course up to the voters.

There is an air of desperation about the New Zealand First leader these days, as if he senses his old magic is no longer working. He and his party have repeatedly tried to pull the race card, particularly on immigration, but for once have found little response from the electorate.

However, it does not stop Peters having a knee-jerk reaction any time anyone mentions foreigners in a positive way.


Peters seems unable to comprehend the statistics that show migrants have a higher rate of employment, higher incomes, pay more tax and are less likely to go to prison or get a social services benefit than the average Kiwi.

His anti-Asian rhetoric, which was so politically advantageous in the 1990s, is increasingly falling on deaf ears. Over the past couple of decades, New Zealanders have come into much greater contact with their Asian neighbours and no longer fear them.

This is true, but remember unlike the big parties Peters is not worried by how much he offends 90% of NZ. He is targeting just 10% and needs half of them.

Simon says

June 14th, 2008 at 9:32 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports of the selection of Simon Bridges as National candidate for Tauranga last night:

National’s new Tauranga candidate wants to avoid getting personal in his election campaign.

Simon Bridges, who won selection last night, told the Weekend Herald he did not want a battle with his likely foe, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters.

“I want to earn votes from Tauranga by presenting a positive, ambitious case, not getting into a slanging match,” Mr Bridges said. …

“I think people want more dignity from their politicians, and I’m not going to be playing in the gutter.”

Mr Bridges said Tauranga residents had voted for change three years ago when they elected Mr Clarkson after 21 years of Mr Peters as their MP.

“People are tired of the politics of the past. Tauranga is now a modern and vibrant city and it wants an MP to match.”

Indeed. It is about the future vs the past.

Rising living costs were a major issue for young families and seniors in his electorate, and Tauranga residents had told him they wanted firm action on law and order.

Mr Bridges said he had a strong understanding of the latter after working as a Crown prosecutor in the city for the past few years.

He holds a law and arts degree from the University of Auckland, and a Masters in Law from Oxford University.

He plans to resign from his job and work full time on his campaign.

Winston Peters is on Agenda tomorrow and he may confirm his candidacy then.

Audrey Young blogs on Tauranga also:

In Simon Bridges, Peters faces a young, new face, someone who more represents the sort of change National is projecting nationally through leader John Key.

That will be a tougher contest for Peters. The mood for change has stubbornly persisted in the polls for almost two years in nationwide polls and there are perhaps as few as four months to go to the election.

Bridges wins Tauranga nomination

June 13th, 2008 at 9:33 pm by David Farrar

Congratulations to Simon Bridges who won a four way contest tonight to be National’s candidate for Tauranga. He won on the first ballot which is a good sign of the respect he holds.

Simon will be an excellent candidate, and work hard for Tauranga.

Clarkson stepping down

May 9th, 2008 at 5:12 pm by David Farrar

I’ve been busy in Auckland all day, so only now got online to blog the announcement by Bob Clarkson that he has decided not to stand for Tauranga again.

I think NZ owes Bob a great deal of thanks for getting Winston out of Tauranga. Labour should thank him also because Winston would have caused far more trouble if he still held his seat and knew no matter what he and NZ First was safe. Having lost Tauranga, he has to worry about making 5% or face oblivion, so this has lessened the chance he’ll try and bring the Government down.

Simon Bridges has announced he is putting himself as the new candidate. Simon is one of the local Crown prosecutors, and in his own words:

Mr Bridges has been a prominent criminal lawyer in Tauranga for the past several years, specialising in jury trials.

Mr Bridges was educated in Law and Arts at the University of Auckland before completing a Masters in Law at Oxford University. He has been a long term National Party member and has held positions at senior levels in the Party. He lives in Mount Maunganui and is married to Natalie.

Simon is around 30 and highly respected and liked within National. He would be a long-term MP for Tauranga, rather than someone wanting just one final term before he becomes Ambassador to somewhere.

This gives Winston a dilemma. He has not yet announced where he is standing yet. Just as he hasn’t yet paid back the $158,000. Or explained where the money Dail Jones referred to last year came from. Or filed his donations return which was due on 30 April. But Winston claims Bob used his wealth to defeat him last election. Never mind a Court disagreed.

How bad a look will it be, for Winston to stand against Simon Bridges and lose? There would be no way to sugar coat that one.

It will be an interesting seat to watch. Simon may face others wanting the National nomination – but I would be surprised if he is not the candidate. He has been seen as a future MP since the conference in the late 90s where he stood for Youth Vice-President and gave a speech which one senior Minister labelled the best speech he had ever heard at a conference. People still talk about that speech today.

Dad stole my girlfriend

February 27th, 2008 at 11:41 am by David Farrar


The Dominion Post reports on an unhappy Tauranga family.

18 year old Jacob Bowring was dating 18 year old Krystal Clark (above).  All fine.

But then Krystal traded Jacob in for his 45 year old father James (above). She is now expecting his child.

Jacob, understandably, was not too happy about this. So as his Dad drove by with Krystal (and Krystal’s 14 year old  female friend), Jacob yelled out that he was a paedophile.

Father James was not too happy about this, and as Jacob is too old to be smacked, chose instead to try and run him over. He chased Jacob down the street until Jacob hid behind a lamp-post.

Jacob got his father, James, arrested.  Now James already has four disqualified- driving convictions, so the Judge sentenced him to five months’ home detention, drug and alcohol counselling and 12 months’ loss of licence.

Only one small problem – his home detention is to be served out on his house-bus!!

So he can drive his house bus over his son, without breaching his home detention 🙂