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Wayback Machine

Citizenship Scandal?

October 17th, 2008 at 5:41 pm

Just listened to Ian Wishart on Newstalk ZB with Larry Williams. The story seems to be:

  1. A Chinese gentleman has had problems with Australian immigration as he travels under different names, different passports with different dates of births.
  2. This was known to NZ authorities
  3. He applied to be a NZ Citizen
  4. DIA recommended he be turned down due to the multiple aliases
  5. The Minister approved it, despite the dodgy aliases and the recommendation
  6. The gentleman’s application was supported by a Labour MP and is known to a couple of Ministers
  7. He attended a fundraising function for Labour and probably donated to them, but impossible to know for sure as they do not record who donated what - people just throw cash into a hat or something.

This is all off listening to Ian on the radio.

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The big donors this year

October 17th, 2008 at 3:23 pm

The Electoral Commission has updated its register of big donors - those who have given over $20,000 in the last 12 months. The donors in size are:

  1. ACT - Alan Gibbs - $100,000
  2. ACT - John Boscawen - $100,000
  3. Greens - Stuart Bramhall - $57,276
  4. Greens - Christopher Marshall - $44,571
  5. Greens - Jeanette Fitzsimons - $34,611
  6. National - John Key - $30,000
  7. National - Road Transport Trust - $30,000
  8. Greens - Sue Kedgley - $21,792
  9. Greens - Bryan Forde - $24,750

Interesting that along with ACT, the Greens are the party of big money - not just small $50 donations. That is $180,000 they have had in from just five donors. They are fortunate to have such wealthy party members.

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Last chance to register

October 17th, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Tomorrow is the final day people can register to be third parties. From tomorrow it will be too late, and if an issue arises that you want to spend money on advocating for or against, you will be restricted to just $12,000.

Take an example. Think if the Government announced this Monday rather than last Monday their $150 billion bank deposit guarantee. And think if you were in an affected sector and thought the scheme announced would be a disaster because (for example) it includes finance companies. The cost of getting it wrong could be billions. But you would be restricted to spending $12,000 advocating against a $150 billion bank deposit guarantee scheme unless you managed to do it without criticising the parties advocating it in a way that could turn voters off them.

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Coalition Building

October 17th, 2008 at 2:58 pm

Is this photo of Rodney Hide, Josie Pagani and Charles Chauvel at Backbenches the start of the ACT-Progressive-Labour Coalition, or something else?

Enter your captions below. Just keep them clean.

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The left’s plan to win despite getting less votes

October 17th, 2008 at 10:00 am

Laila Harre details how the left plans to win the election, even if they get less party votes.

Union secretary Laila Harre told delegates the Greens and the Maori Party had been “our strongest backers” on key issues such as ending lower pay for young people and keeping shops closed at Easter, with Labour “a very close second” on both issues.

In a closed session with the MPs afterwards, she said the only way to prevent a National-led Government, based on an average of recent polls, was for the Maori Party to win all seven Maori seats, creating an “overhang” above the 120 MPs elected through proportional representation.

But it would then be critical for the Maori Party to use its seats to keep Labour in power.

Under FPP Governments sometimes got formed that had less popular vote than the Opposition. But FPP was not a proportional voting system. It was not meant to reflect a national vote - it was a series of local contests.

MMP is very different. It would be outraegous for a Government to be formed that got less party votes than the Opposition as its main virture is proportionality. I’m not talking just the two big parties here, but the combined vote.

Take this election result based just on party vote:

  • National/ACT/United Future 51% - 62 seats
  • Labour/NZF/Prog/Greens/ - 47% - 56 seats
  • Maori Party 2% - 2 seats

There are 120 seats normally so National/ACT/United would form a Government having got 51% of the vote and 62/120.

But Laila Harre’s plan for the left is for the Maori Party to win all seven seats, despite a party vote that entitles them to just two seats, creating an overhang of five seats. Then you have:

  • National/ACT/United Future 51% - 62 seats
  • Labour/NZF/Prog/Greens/ - 47% - 56 seats
  • Maori Party 2% - 7 seats

Now the Maori Party would have two choices here. Support the parties that got 51% of the vote or go with Labour (as Laila wants) so that they get 63/125 seats despite getting 2% less votes than the Opposition.

This would give Labour a fourth term. It would also spark such a backlash that I suspect both MMP and the Maori seats would disappear within a decade.

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Billions at NBR

October 17th, 2008 at 8:56 am

My NBR column is online now, titled Billions and Billions:

Have you noticed how the numbers our politicians are playing with, are now in the billions not millions?

Michael Cullen unilaterally announces a $150 billion deposit guarantee scheme - more than twice the size of the actual Government. Not to be outdone John Key announces that 40% of the NZ Super Fund will be invested in New Zealand on his watch - that is 40% of a fund which will be worth $100 billion one day.

I miss the days when an expensive policy was anything more than $10 million. Now that is chicken feed as our MPs play around with billions.

In the normal ratings, the summary is:

  • Best Play of the Week: Act’s tax policy gets an A
  • Worst Play of the Week: I could not settle on one - Labour get a D- for not consulting on the bank deposit guarantee, National a D+ for the NZ Super Fund intervention and Labour a D for their universal student allowances policy.
  • EFA Breach of the Week: Shane Jones and the Radio Network have a B+ breach and I wonder how John Banks on talkback as an MP would have survived under the EFA!
  • Scandal of the Week: The PM’s bizarre behaviour the day after the Leaders’ Debate.
  • Blog Analysis of the Week: Bernard Hickey on the bank deposit guarantee scheme. A must read.

You can comment on the column at NBR.

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General Debate 17 October 2008

October 17th, 2008 at 7:29 am

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Think about this

October 17th, 2008 at 7:28 am

The NZ Herald fact checks John Key and finds carbon emissions in NZ have grown even faster than what he said in the debate (mind you I think he was referring to emissions under Clark’s Government while the Herald is referring to since 1990).

Peter Neilson of the NZ Business Council for Sustainable Development defends his former Caucus colleague Helen saying:

As the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development points out it is all a bit more complicated than it seems.

Chief executive Peter Neilson said that while the reality was that New Zealand emissions had been increasing, that was because our economy had been growing.

Many of the countries with reduced emissions were in recession .

So this means that the Government is now sucessfuly reducing emissions, by having the economy go into recession. Hey if we turn the recession into a depression, then we’ll make our 1990 target easily!

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Maori Seats policy not a bottom line for National

October 17th, 2008 at 7:18 am

The media are reporting that John Key has “conceded” that the Maori seats policy is not a non negotiable bottom line for National.

This will only come as a suprise to people who think Austria is the home of the Wallabies.

It has been obvious for months if not years that the abolish the Maori Seats policy after 2014 would be up for negotiation should the outcome of an MMP election mean National and Maori Party need to negotiate. National has never ever ever even hinted its policy is a bottom line that is non negotiable - in MMP you can have very few bottom lines.

Smart observers of the body politic would have noted that Pita Sharples some weeks ago said that John Key had told him in advance what National’s policy on the Maori Seats would be. I remarked at the time to a number of people that there was probably a conversation like this:

JK: So that is what we will be announcing this week
PS: Okay, and you understand we do not like that
JK: Yes, we understand how important this is for you, and that you will want to discuss this after the election should we be negotiating
PS: Yes, so you are saying you will agree to negotiate on this policy
JK: Of course - that would be a matter for after the election, but we understand you do not want this to happen.
PS: Our position is the seats can go, but only when Maori agree to that
JK: Yes, we understand that is what you would like

I am amazed anyone at all is surpised such a conversation is held. Now Pita Sharples and his Chief of Staff seem to have not appreciated the difference (which is important) between agreeing a policy will be negotiated post-election and agreeing the outcome of that negotiation. I don’t believe the outcome could or would have been agreed because it would be madness for National to do so - a negotiation is about concessions on both sides and the overall package - why give away a trump card for free?

From what has been said it seems Sharples suggested a possible outcome, and Key agreed that was a possible outcome and that has been taken as a more firm indication than was intended. People will paint all sorts of conspiracy theories around this, but I doubt few people can sincerely say they think National would actually agree to something without getting something in return. Why would you?

For those who don’t like the fact that parties have policies that they negotiate away, well that is called MMP.

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Ikaroa-Rawhiti debate tonight on TVNZ7

October 16th, 2008 at 5:31 pm

I’m up in Gisborne for the Ikaroa-Rawhiti televised debate between Parekura Horomia and Derek Fox tonight.

It is a highly symbolic debate. If the Maori Party can win additional seats they are very likely to hold the balance of power.

The debate start at 9.30 pm tonight and if you don’t have Freeview can watch it online. It will also be on TVNZondemand after it finishes.

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From weak showers to cold showers

October 16th, 2008 at 5:05 pm

Labour have done a temporary retreat on their weak showers policy of a maximum rate flow of six litres a minute. But they still have an even worse policy lurking - to limit the size of hot water cylinders in small homes to 180 litres. So your shower won’t be weak, but it may turn cold! This is to come into force in February 2009.

How is this for a policy - you can have as big or as fast a shower as you fucking want to - so long as you pay for the water and power. If you want to put in a 400 litre hot water cylinder and have a 15 litre per minute shower you should be able to. The Government should get the hell out of the way.

What next you need to get permission to have a spa pool?

A maximum depth for baths?

Is there no end to nanny state?

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Aro Valley Candidates Photos on You Tube

October 16th, 2008 at 5:00 pm

Matthew Plummer has taken some great photos of the Aro Valley Candidates Meeting and put them on You Tube with a voice over. I’m so gutted to have missed it, but the photos were great to see.

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TGIF

October 16th, 2008 at 4:00 pm

Just received this e-mal from Ian Wishart:

TGIF EDITION this weekend will be breaking a massive story, implicating two current cabinet ministers and a former Labour cabinet minister, in an unprecedented political scandal.

We have the documents and the bodies. Read the burial notice on the front page of TGIF EDITION, out this weekend, and exclusively available to subscribers via http://www.tgifedition.com

Sounds interesting, to say the least!

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Infos now free

October 16th, 2008 at 3:00 pm

Most people won’t know what Infos is. It was a database supplied by Stats NZ that had all their major data series in and allowed you to query different data series over time etc.

When I worked at Parliament I was a major user of Infos - one of the few that had it installed on my PC. Most people just asked the Parliamentary Library to dig the data up for them. I have missed Infos (and the Library) since I left.

Stats NZ has now made Infos free to the public, as Infoshare. This was actually due to happen in July - it is a pity it has been delayed, but better late than never. Information the Government holds should generally be made freely available to the public (who do not get paid for filling in the surveys in the first place), and it is good to see this happen. I will be using it often.

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Winston’s plan to grow the economy

October 16th, 2008 at 2:25 pm

It’s to keep foreigners out. Yes, seriously.

“New Zealand First is announcing today that immigration numbers will be cut to ensure Kiwis do not have to compete with immigrants for jobs as our economy goes into decline,” Mr Peters said.

So will Labour First adopt this as coalition policy?

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ACT tax policy

October 16th, 2008 at 2:00 pm

ACT is campaigning on restricting future increases in Government expenditure to inflation and population growth. This means only increase spending by 3.6% a year instead of 6.0% a year. An admirable goal.

Their tax policy, released today, means that in ten years, tax rates will be:

  1. 12.5% personal tax up to $20,000
  2. 15% personal tax over $20,000
  3. 15% company tax
  4. 10% GST

If that was possible (and I have real doubts that you can restrict Government spending to inflation/population as it means no new initiatives for ten years - but it is a laudable goal), then we would have a superb low tax environment which would grow much much faster, closing the gap with Australia and the world. And households would have much much more after tax income.

Well done ACT on a great policy.

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The Hive on the Deposit Scheme

October 16th, 2008 at 1:00 pm

The Hive is very worried about the flaws in the Government’s deposit scheme:

Why, if our hand was forced by the Aussies did we not adopt the same policy as the Aussies?

In particular - why did we not match Australia’s guarantee for bank lending in the international wholesale market?

Those countries that are running large current account deficits - NZ, Australia, US etc are in competition for an increasingly scarce amount of funds on the international wholesale markets. Most of the money on offer is from Asia. Now if you were an Asian investor with $100 million to invest who would you invest it with? An Australian bank which has this loan guaranteed by the Australian Government, or a New Zealand bank that has no guarantee from the New Zealand or any other government? The answer is obvious. The money will be loaned to Australia. Why would you take a risk on New Zealand when there is no risk in lending to Australia.

I imagine we could still get some credit, but have to pay more for it.

… we are a nett borrower economy. We are not at present (maybe Key’s 40% plan for the NZSF will help right this) able to generate the funds we need to keep our economy working from domestic savings. So we are dependent on a funding stream that looks as though it is about to dry up. Before too long the banks are going to have to literally stop lending. And this will mean chaos across the economy. New activity will stop and existing loans will be affected also. Don’t expect your fixed term loan to be rolled over when it expires, even on your house.

Does Cullen know what to do? He’s done okay when faced with the best economic weather since WWII, but does he have the answers now? The fact he has reversed his stance of increased borrowing for infrastructure suggests an element of making it up on the hoof.

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Key up in the polls

October 16th, 2008 at 12:37 pm

The dog toy poll that is. Since the win in the debate, the number of Key dog toys has started to rise. is this linked?

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Electorates contested

October 16th, 2008 at 12:00 pm

The Chief Electoral officer has released figures on parties and candidates. I find it interesting to look at how many seats a party is contesting as that gives some idea of their strength:

  1. Labour - 70
  2. National - 63 - all bar the Maori seats
  3. Green - 60
  4. ACT - 59
  5. United Future - 51
  6. Kiwi - 36
  7. Progressive - 26
  8. NZ First - 22

I think it says something that NZ First can’t find more candidates than than the Cult of Jim and the Kiwi Party.

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Poneke on South Park

October 16th, 2008 at 11:47 am

Poneke blogs:

The 12th season of the riotously irreverent animated comedy series South Park begins its run on C4 tomorrow (Thursday) night at 9pm.

This season began in the US in March, and after an interval is still running. As there are only some 14 episodes a year, this show is a treat.

Just why it is buried on C4 is as big a mystery as why Flight of the Conchords was buried on Prime at 10pm on Monday nights. When South Park began here a decade ago, at least it was on TV3 which is accessible to far more viewers than C4.

I am a huge fan of South Park and it also puzzles me why it is only played on C4, and why they delay showing it so long after it shows in the US.

While my daughter, 15, loves South Park, having watched it since she was five, it is neither a children’s show nor a music show

Good God Poneke, you’ll have CYFS knocking on your door for that admission :-)

South Park, which was created by the geniuses Trey Parker and Matt Stone and became Comedy Central’s first big hit, gets stuck into every sacred cow going, from global warming to gay rights, Tom Cruise to child sexual abuse, religion to charity.

It is truly offensive to everyone, but in such a clever way you love it, instead of get offended.

Series 12 starts with Cartman getting AIDS after a tonsils operation and trying to infect Kyle with it before subsequent episodes move on to trash Brittney Spears and Mrs Garrison, the teacher who used to be Mr Garrison but now wants a penis back. Don’t ask, just watch.

The best 22 minutes of the week! :-)

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The Canadian Election Results

October 16th, 2008 at 11:00 am

Stephen Harper has won re-election for Canada’s Conservative Party, picking up some seats but still falling short of the 155 seats needed to be a majority Government.

The Conservatives were almost wiped out in 1993, being reduced to two seats, so to win two elections in a row shows how far they have come.

The seats are:

  1. Conservatives 143 (+19)
  2. Liberals 76 (-27)
  3. Bloc Québécois 50 (-1)
  4. NDP 37 (+8)
  5. Independents (+1)

The Greens lost the one seat they had picked up at a by-election and got 7% nationally. On the popular vote the Conservatives only went up 1.4% from 2006,l but the Liberals dropped 4.0%. The election was partly called to capitalise on the weak Liberal leadership. Their result of 26% is the lowest for them in the history of Canada and Stéphane Dion is likely to be rolled. I would watch Gerard Kennedy as the possible new leader.

Interestingly, compared to NZ, Dion lobbied for the Greens leader to be included in the Leader’s Debate in Canada, and her (Elizabeth May’s) performance in the debate is cited as bleeding support from the Liberals. Clark and Key may look at that with satisfaction.

Canada does have a rural/urban split. And a provincial split. In Alberta the Conservatives won all 27 seats I think. But they did not win a single seat in Toronto or Montreal and only one seat in Vancouver. Their lack of appeal in the three big cities is what stopped them getting a majority.

Pleased to see my friend Patrick Brown in Barrie increase his majority from 1,523 in 2006 to a massive 15,195. He is one of the hardest working politicians I have come across. During the 2006 campaign, in the middle of winter, he would be the most enthused about getting out door knocking every day, and keeping going until it was dark. And this was trudging through snow with the temperature 30 degrees below zero.

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Press on Clark

October 16th, 2008 at 10:00 am

The Press editorial lambasts Helen Clark for her partisan politics over the deposit guarantee scheme:

More worrying was the way the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, chose to play politics with the announcement of the scheme. She failed to brief the National Party, or anyone else, beforehand and made the announcement at the launch of Labour’s election campaign. This was unforgivable. It makes the scheme look like merely another device to make Clark appear decisive and on top of the situation. In fact, that kind of chicanery does the opposite. It makes her look shifty and manipulative. The present crisis is too serious a matter for anyone to be using it to engage in political posturing.

She did it of course, because certain lemmings were predictable enough to write articles declaring her decisive for doing so.

There are nonetheless concerns attached to the package. For one thing, it shows all the signs of having been cobbled together in considerable haste. There are huge problems associated with such schemes at the best of times, but this one has more than most. The breadth of it down to deposit taking finance companies and the fact that the smaller, perhaps shakier entities do not have to pay, risk distorting markets badly. These, and other problems, will have to be ironed out.

Someof these details are not minor. The more one gets into it, the more it does appear to have been done on the back of an envelope. The supllementary details yesterday by the Reserve Bank and Treasury helped.

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Sacked for telling the truth

October 16th, 2008 at 8:21 am

Dail Jones was elected President of NZ First on several occassions - he even won on a contested ballot, so obviously has some popular support in NZ First.

But he did a terrible thing this year. He told the truth, and by telling the truth exposed how NZ First had been breaking the electoral laws of this country. This of course means he got demoted by Winston on the party list.

Seven new candidates have all been ranked higher than Jones at No 14.

What is especially shameful, if that they did not even tell Jones to his face - he found out from the party’s website.

It is ironic that WInston pressured other candidates to stand aside to let Dail Jones back into Parliament in 2007.

Jones makes the point:

“If they had followed what I had said in February and disclosed the donation, there would never have been a problem.”

Exactly.

Mr Peters said the demotion was a party decision, and he did not have a vote or any involvement in the low placing.

Of course, and you never knew about the Owen Glenn donation also.

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What a sore loser

October 16th, 2008 at 8:11 am

I can’t believe Helen Clark’s antics since she lost the Leader’s Debate - her nasty side has been out for all to see.

First we had that comment during the debate:

“You might be used to shouting people down at home, but you’re not shouting me down”

Now I hadn’t even blogged on this previously, as everyone says something they regret. But it was very bad taste to imply that Key shouts his wife down, with all the implications that carries. The more you think about that comment, the more nasty you realise it was. Now if she had just left it alone, I’d be inclined to give her a pass and say it was just an unfortunate turn of phrase she used. But then yesterday her justifications were appalling:

“What I meant was he was having a tantrum. He was completely out of control trying to shout me down when I was telling the truth about our policy and he was telling fibs about it and I said you’re not going to carry on like that.”

A tantrum? Completely out of control? You mean like the implicit wife beater you were suggesting? And of course anyone watching the debate saw a smiling relaxed John Key, not a man having a tantrum. Really Clark needs to just accept she did not perform that well, and Key did.

Then we have the further bizarre stuff about how he only got given credit for not collapsing:

THEN AND NOW

Helen Clark, immediately after the debate:
It was a good old-fashioned debate on the issues. I hope that means we’ve banished any idea that this is a bitter kind of election debate. I think people want to hear us being up front, straight on.

Helen Clark, yesterday afternoon:
Expectations were low, firstly because people hadn’t seen him in a debate before and secondly because he had a disastrous start to the campaign. So the fact he didn’t collapse with a stress attack on the set probably gave him marks.

If anyone is stressed it seems to be Helen. She also said:

“The fact he didn’t burst out crying on the set probably counted for him,” she said during a Radio Live question and answer session this morning.

I can’t recall a PM ever reacting so badly to losing a debate before. But get this last comment:

Last night Miss Clark said she did not think the campaign was bitter and today said she was just offering a professional analysis of how it went.

A professional analysis? Someone needs to get out the pills.

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General Debate 16 October 2008

October 16th, 2008 at 7:40 am

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