More nastiness from Labour

March 1st, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Trevor Mallard blogs:

Wayne Mapp’s commercial legal experience is limited to three years assisting one John Collinge, former President of the National Party who is better known for activity on the the table at the London High Commission than legal expertise.

He spent thirteen years at the University of Auckland but was unable to obtain a chair or a position in the Law School. He then became an undistinguished MP and a lacklustre Minister.

Mapp got the push from the National caucus but has been given a job at the Law Commission – a role normally reserved for distinguished lawyers.

Cronyism again.

An incredibly nasty and spiteful post by Mallard, who continues to remind people of all that is bad within Labour. He doesn’t just attack the appointment of Dr Mapp, but denigrates his entire career.

I have no issue with people having a go at appointments not made on merit, due primarily to their political links. for example the appointment of Brian Neeson to the Human Rights Review tribunal was rightly criticised by many (including me).

The most outrageous crony appointments was when Mallard’s Government appointed Labour MP Di Yates to four separate boards – to Food Standards Australia New Zealand,  Trust Waikato Community Trust, education book publisher Learning Media’s board and the board of the Waikato Institute of Technology.  The appointment to FSANZ was justified in the press release on the basis Yates was from Waikato which is “arguably the food bowl of New Zealand”. Yes, seriously, that was the only rationale they could come up with..

But anyway back to Dr Mapp, his appointment needs a fairer appraisal than Mallard’s nasty denigration. I’m surprised he has such venom for Mapp, because in fact Wayne was one of the least partisan MPs in Parliament. In fact he was a member of the Labour Party for many years, before he joined National. He even stood against Phil Goff for the Labour nomination for Mt Roskill in 1981 (when Wayne was in his 20s). Most Labour MPs would be far more generous towards Wayne, and probably be mortified by Mallard’s nastiness towards him. However they allow Mallard to remain their public face.

Wayne has always had a great love of policy and the law. I first met him before he was an MP, when he was Northern Region Policy Chair, and I was the Young Nats policy person. He would happily spend hours debating policy and law with me and others. He’s exactly the sort of person you do want on the Law Commission – he won’t be partisan, he has huge intellectual curiosity (which is what you need on the Law Commission) and a passion for good law and policy. I think his appointment is an excellent one – and it is useful to have someone with actual parliamentary experience on the Law Commission, in my opinion.

As for his legal background, so denigrated by Trevor Mallard who has a BCA (and an assault conviction). Wayne has an honours degree in law from Auckland University, a masters from the University of Toronto and a PhD in international law from Cambridge. He spent 12 years as an academic in commercial law, and left as an Associate Professor before he became an MP.

The suggestion he got the push from the National Caucus is also a typical Mallard lie. Wayne’s decision to retire at the last election took everyone by surprise. His primary motivation for leaving Parliament was to open doors for his wife Denese Henare, whose activities as a lawyer had to be somewhat restricted while he was an MP. Denese, incidentally, has served on the Law Commission herself and I am confident that Wayne’s contribution will match her own distinguished record.

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Tim Watkin’s Minister of the Year

January 7th, 2011 at 4:56 pm by David Farrar

Tim Watkin looks at 2010, and annoints his minister of the year:

But it’s Dr Mapp who had the best year of all government ministers, to my mind, capped off with his announcement that he will make a dignified exit at this year’s election.

Mapp handled two crucial reviews in 2010, in defence and science. Neither gave into ideology, nor over-reached. Both showed real nous.

The defence white paper got our future focus about right in terms of naval and regional priorities and didn’t compromise our growing independence in foreign policy while keeping us close to Australia.

And if there’s that the government did in 2010 that will benefit to country in the long-term, it’s the reform of our Crown Research Institutes, which moved their energies away from competing with each other and back to science and ideas. The changes to how we do science here were over-due, could genuinely boost our economy, especially growth and innovation, in the medium-term and were “ambitious for New Zealand”.

Wayne will be getting out on top.

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An instant focus group

January 26th, 2010 at 9:50 pm by David Farrar

I was on the bus today, and across the aisle were half a dozen girls. They were chatting about the usual girlie things until the bus pulled up to the Supreme Court building. One of them suddenly exclaimed how hideous (yes that exact word) it was, and they all agreed.

Then other passengers on the bus joined in, also saying how awful it was, that it was repulsive art etc etc. It was an instant focus group, responding to the ugliness on display. And they were of course right – it looks even uglier every time you look at it.

A reader points out to me, that it is not just Labour that has a fabn of the design in its ranks. Wayne Mapp in his newsletter said:

On Monday I attended the wreath laying by Prince William in honour of our fallen at the National War Memorial in Wellington. Afterwards Denese and I went to the opening of the new Supreme Court building.

The architecture of the building is certainly bold especially with the new Court contained within an orb, modelled on a Kauri Cone. The building makes a statement and I believe New Zealand, can do with more buildings with such a strong design focus.

The only thing NZ should do with buildings with such a strong design focus is use them as target practice for the SAS.

I do hope Wayne isn’t in charge of designing any of the ships for the Navy, with his comments above!

Thinking about the Supreme Court building, it does occur to me that it might be less hideous if one got rid of the barbed wire exterior. Possibly the building itself is not beyond redemption if you scrap the wrap-around.

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National confirms support for VSM bill at first reading

September 11th, 2009 at 4:12 pm by David Farrar

As widely expected, NZPA reports National will vote for Heather Roy’s VSM Bill (now in the name of Sir Roger Douglas) at its first reading:

National has made its first public show of support for a bill to dismantle compulsory student unions.

National would support ACT’s Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill at its first reading this month, associate education minister Wayne Mapp said yesterday.

The bill, originally sponsored by Dr Mapp’s fellow associate education minister Heather Roy of ACT, would require student unions to hold annual membership drives to receive their levies.

Under the current law, unions with compulsory membership can collect levies automatically as part of students’ enrolment fees.

National’s own membership bill in 1998 saw a series of binding referenda on campuses: while around half the polytechnic unions turned voluntary, Auckland and Waikato were the only university unions who opted to do so.

This is not quite correct. National’s VSM bill in the mid to late 1990s was very similar to this bill. However New Zealand First refused to support it beyond select committee, so a compromise was done which was the 1998 law of referenda.

National would listen to the views of submitters before deciding whether to support the bill further, he said.

“Students remain the only group in society forced to join a union,” he said.

“Students should be able to make their own decision about joining a student association — this ensures that their freedom of association is upheld.”

Compulsory membership of student associations means executives have little or no incentives to manage their associations well or responsibly. When your members have the ability to decide not to renew their membership, it encourages the association to focus much more closely on issues their members want them to be involved with rather than the pet issues of a few dozen activists.

Plus of course one should n0ot have to fund political representation you disagree with. The notion of a student association speaking for all students is as absurd as a residents association speaking for all residents.

It is excellent to see National living up to its principles of freedom of association.

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Winston’s diet

October 22nd, 2008 at 6:53 am by David Farrar

Rob Hosking at NBR reported:

At a North Shore candidates’ meeting on Tuesday, one punter asked a question from the floor about general health, gambling, alcoholism and the like. New Zealand First MP Dail Jones stood up and said it was a question of looking after yourself, eating well, and getting some exercise. “An excellent example of this would be Winston Peters,” said Jones. “His health was terrible until he changed his lifestyle and began eating mainly fish …” That was as far as he got before the audience collapsed in laughter and Wayne Mapp cried “scampi.”

Oh if only someone could have captured that on video. Classic.

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