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Epsom’s “choice” – first crook, now nutter

Written By: - Date published: 9:34 pm, July 31st, 2014 - 207 comments

whyte

John Key says he wants to “give Epsom voters a choice.” Some choice. First a crook, now a nutter.  Colin Craig was a bridge too far for Key, but Jamie Whyte sounds just as bad. I think this reliance on the unwanted parties will hurt Key; it’s beginning to feel like 1984 and 1990, where the governing party betrayed the voters’ choice.  Covert or overt, before the election or after, it’s still a rort. People don’t like it.

Wages up – Work secure – Labour policy

Written By: - Date published: 1:03 pm, July 30th, 2014 - 165 comments

fair wages

Labour has today released its Work and Wages policy. An immediate lift to $15 in the minimum wage, and a raise to $16.25 in April next year. 90 day free sacking option for employers to go in first 100 days. Core public service to get the Living Wage first, others to follow. That’ll put some money where it’s most needed.

Voters Dunne over in Ohariu

Written By: - Date published: 4:32 pm, July 29th, 2014 - 31 comments

dunnebrash

Peter Dunne has been thrown the lifeline he has been begging for – National voters have been given the nod by Key to keep him on. One has to ask why would they bother – I can’t see him going back as a Minister after so many stuff ups and a resignation that leaves too many questions unanswered. Ohariu has  a much better option in Labour’s Ginny Andersen – if she’d been there a truly independent Parliament would have delivered mothers 26 weeks parental leave for example. Dunne supported it initially but backed down when it came to the crunch.

Positive Labour policy for meat industry

Written By: - Date published: 10:57 pm, July 27th, 2014 - 4 comments

meat

In the late 1980′s I worked on the establishment of the Meat Industry Tradesmens Agreement, bringing eight  awards into one. My lasting memory is how the meat companies hated each other more than they hated the unions, and they were no union-lovers. 25 years later, the companies still can’t get their act together, and it is the country as well as the farmers who are hurting. It may surprise some, but it’s the Labour party who is putting forward policy to bring in the necessary change to the $8billion industry. Good work from Damien O’Connor and the Labour leadership.

Implausible denials

Written By: - Date published: 8:47 pm, July 25th, 2014 - 56 comments

fbidotcom

From the Herald today: What Jonathan Coleman said on Monday: “Ministers had absolutely no knowledge of any pending FBI-NZ Police investigation.” What Immigration NZ said on Wednesday: “The general information about the FBI was passed to Mr Bickle who then passed it to the Minister.” Grant Robertson is absolutely right: Former Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman must come clean about when he was told the FBI was investigating Kim Dotcom.

A worker’s voice

Written By: - Date published: 11:43 am, July 25th, 2014 - 10 comments

Darien

The Standard promotes itself as the voice of the New Zealand labour movement. We certainly heard one such voice in Parliament last night, with Darien Fenton’s powerful valedictory speech, followed by the waiata “There is power in the union” from the Speaker’s Gallery. Darien was inspiring: her speech is  well worth a read or a look.

Labour’s ICT Connectivity Policy

Written By: - Date published: 11:31 am, July 24th, 2014 - 21 comments

DC & CC ICT

David Cunliffe has announced Labour’s ICT Connectivity policy. The digital revolution presents huge economic opportunities for New Zealand, but  too many New Zealanders are being left behind. One in five Kiwis doesn’t have regular access to the internet. That’s not good enough for  the 21st Century. The next Labour Government will put internet connectivity at the heart of its agenda.

What does Westpac want to hide?

Written By: - Date published: 5:59 pm, July 23rd, 2014 - 12 comments

westpac

The Silveroaks v Westpac test case on mis-selling of interest rate swaps in 2008 is going under cover after a judge granted Westpac’s request to “prevent public access to the court file, attendance at hearings and any reporting of interlocutory decisions.” A senior legal source said that the blackout was unusual but part of “a trend where parties sought to move away from open justice.”  One can imagine why Westpac doesn’t want any public discussion of the case – banks in England have already paid out L600million and are said to be possibly liable for billions.

Russian blameshift backfire

Written By: - Date published: 1:50 pm, July 23rd, 2014 - 194 comments

frogfoot

Today’s DomPost carries a story showing Russian Air Force generals claiming that a Ukrainian fighter was close to Malaysian MF17 flying at 32,000ft. It was described as a “SU-25 fighter jet, which is typically equipped with air-to-air missiles.” They said it could reach 10,000 metres “for a short time”. It can’t; but its Wiki specification was recently edited from a Russian source to back up the story.

Something amazing has happened to the Labour Party

Written By: - Date published: 9:58 pm, July 22nd, 2014 - 24 comments

NPF-report-e1340109329582

“The amazing occurrence is the sustained achievement of party unity, not just for a season or a year but for an entire parliamentary term.”

In Britain.

Exchange rate hikes killing NZ industry and jobs

Written By: - Date published: 2:48 pm, July 22nd, 2014 - 42 comments

interest rates

Bank-paid economists are predicting the Reserve Bank will again raise benchmark interest rates on Thursday. This may be good for the banks and the currency markets but it is bad news for New Zealand farming exporters and for high-end manufacturing jobs. Our interest rates are among the highest in a world awash with money after quantitative easing in Europe and the US. The CTU has called for a pause, and listed manufacturing jobs lost in the past couple of years because of the exchange rate.

Kick-starting Regional Development

Written By: - Date published: 11:02 am, July 22nd, 2014 - 35 comments

regdev

David Cunliffe has announced Labour’s Regional Development policy today. Labour will work in partnership with regions and put $200 million into a Regional Growth Fund fund to resource regional projects that will create jobs and drive local initiative. Labour’s policy is timely; it  offers real hope to the regions, and in the best development tradition of building on local initiative. Update: LGNZ welcomes Labour policy

The FBI also wanted DotCom to stay in New Zealand

Written By: - Date published: 6:25 pm, July 15th, 2014 - 38 comments

obama-fbi-hat

The FBI had been working with the New Zealand authorities for a year before he was arrested. They wanted to arrest him on his birthday “because it would be a big party and all the assets would be there.”A Department of Justice official revealed this to ex-Senator Dodd, chief lobbyist for the Motion Picture Association of America.  The FBI is a Justice Department agency. The “party assets” were why he had to be kept here.

Clear choices in Labour’s mini-Manifesto

Written By: - Date published: 8:53 pm, July 8th, 2014 - 35 comments

hashtag

Kiwi voters are going to be offered clear election choices across a wide range of policies that matter. This is clear from Labour’s mini-Manifesto, released at the weekend Congress. As promised Labour’s offerings are positive and forward-looking.  Besides education, there are policies on work, economy, schools, children, jobs, homes, environment, democracy, health, living costs and budget – put the commitments together and it’s a recipe for positive change.

Parker’s egalitarian passion

Written By: - Date published: 1:39 pm, July 5th, 2014 - 51 comments

2014-07-05 11.48.56

David Parker’s speech at Labour’s Congress today was passionate, comprehensive, and fully thought through. Respected for his intellect, Parker also said “My political heart lies in what has become something of a quaint  notion these days, the notion of an egalitarian society. Perhaps it’s because of my Southern Presbyterian roots. It’s not just about equality of opportunity. It’s about decent outcomes as well.” Amen to that.

Labour plans to win

Written By: - Date published: 1:11 pm, July 4th, 2014 - 122 comments

2014-07-04 11.17.30

It’s true, Labour does have a plan to win this election. And the plan’s a good one. Campaign Manager David Talbot and Polity’s Rob Salmond presented it to members and media this morning at the Loaves and Fishes in Wellington, so it is out in the open. And it doesn’t depend on miracles.

The Purpose of Government

Written By: - Date published: 9:40 pm, June 21st, 2014 - 7 comments

logo_white_bp

Bryan Gould writes on this in the latest post on the AUT Briefing Papers website. Gould quotes from Senator Elizabeth Warren’s classic speech “Nobody got rich on their own. Nobody.” Gould’s conclusion – A renewed debate about the purpose of government is well overdue – amen to that.

Communication upgrade needed

Written By: - Date published: 9:24 am, June 9th, 2014 - 49 comments

upgrade

David Cunliffe badly needs a new stump speech. On Thursday in Whanganui I heard him depress a large and sympathetic audience for ten minutes with tales of national woe, then promise a positive campaign but give no details. It is good to know that a positive campaign is proposed. Labour has promised an economic upgrade; it also needs a communications upgrade, and besides being positive it must be relevant. That could shift the polls.

Too many hedgehogs

Written By: - Date published: 8:32 pm, June 7th, 2014 - 220 comments

140319_BB_HedgehogandtheFox.jpeg.CROP.promovar-mediumlarge

Nate Silver (The Signal and the Noise – the art and science of prediction) uses an old idea to distinguish pundits as hedgehogs or foxes. Originating with Archilochus  through Isaiah Berlin to it can be summed up as “the fox knows many little things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” The test for hedgehogs is “Do your predictions improve when you have more information?” Foxes do – hedgehogs’ don’t. The polls should be a wake-up call for Labour.

President Abbott goes viral

Written By: - Date published: 12:19 pm, June 6th, 2014 - 7 comments

winker

Meet Australia’s President of the United States, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, the instigator of a wink-related scandal. He sometimes puts his foot in his mouth and other times chooses to say nothing at all. 665,777 page views.

Watch Whanganui

Written By: - Date published: 9:43 pm, June 5th, 2014 - 15 comments

2014-06-05 17.20.50

It was standing room only at a packed Grand Hotel this evening for Hamish McDouall’s campaign launch – “the biggest crowd they’d ever had at the Grand.” One local told me of very good canvassing reports as well. Hamish gave a great speech – as the city’s Deputy Mayor there’s no doubt about his commitment to the local community and name recognition will not be a problem. Watch this space.

Saving Peppa’s bacon

Written By: - Date published: 5:09 pm, May 29th, 2014 - 5 comments

art-353-peppapig-300x0

Could the Australian budget sink any lower? – the answer is yes, apparently, with the shock news in answer to a question in he Senate that the ABC may cut Peppa Pig due to budget restrictions.  The outcry was such that Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull had to declare that Peppa Pig is safe.

Poisoned Pasture

Written By: - Date published: 2:04 am, May 29th, 2014 - 86 comments

pisstake

“The New Zealand dairy industry will be dead in fifteen years.” Coming from a well-informed and highly placed investor source met recently in China, these words made me sit up. His reason – nitrate-poisoned pasture product will be increasingly unacceptable to environmentally conscious customers. Here at home corporate farmers and the National government seem to want to accelerate the process. It’s a recipe for disaster.

 

EPMU wins for Tiwai workers

Written By: - Date published: 6:55 pm, May 17th, 2014 - 33 comments

Tiwai

News today that NZAS appeal against the EPMU’s claim for contract shift payments at Tiwai Point has failed is another well-deserved win for workers. True to form, the company is bleating that it might cost it $20million. That would be a drop in the bucket compared to what workers have lost there since Rio Tinto moved aggressively to de-unionise the site in 1990 after the introduction of the Employment Contracts Act.

Briefing Papers

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, May 16th, 2014 - 11 comments

logo_white_bp

New website “Briefing Papers” offers alternative briefing papers for incoming governments. The first is by Brian Easton, on the purpose of Budgets. Easton says that while all the debate is about economic growth, governments in fact can do little to influence it positively. What they can do is focus on quality of output, measures to combat inequality and provide employment, and invest in children. Worth a read.

Ginny Andersen a rising star

Written By: - Date published: 2:28 pm, May 11th, 2014 - 38 comments

GinnyA

The very impressive Ginny Andersen topped a strong group of candidates at yesterday’s Wellington list conference. She’s worked for the police for the past eight years in policy and community work, is married with four children, one very new. She is also Labour’s candidate for Ohariu, and her  awareness of the pressures families are facing allied to her energy and experience will offer the voters of that electorate a very fresh alternative to the tired and lack-lustre Peter Dunne.

Most Valuable Person

Written By: - Date published: 12:44 pm, May 9th, 2014 - 4 comments

mvp2

Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder was voted NBA MVP by 119 votes to 6 for LeBron James. If you want a lift, his acceptance speech is well worth a watch – what a man! With his hugely generous spirit, it also shows how much a team means to the man carrying the main load. He gives New Zealand’s Steven Adams a very good rap among many others.

 

Perfect time for a positive programme

Written By: - Date published: 3:56 pm, May 8th, 2014 - 35 comments

Young Labour chance the Government

With the government increasingly on the back foot , and one good Morgan poll out, now is the perfect time for Labour to come out with a positive programme for its approach to alternative government in the interests of all New Zealanders. Labour has a lot of great policy, and four months out from an election people want to hear it – all in one place, all the dots connected up, and clearly presented as relevant to regular Kiwis’ interest.

The Fields of Anfield Road

Written By: - Date published: 8:05 am, April 14th, 2014 - 38 comments

Steven Gerrard

Another great day at the Goose, watching Liverpool come back to beat Manchester City in one of the crucial derby matches that will decide the Premier League winner.  The thing I like most at the minute about Liverpool is their purpose-driven directness – no pusillanimous reliance on permutation for the Reds.

You’ll never walk alone

Written By: - Date published: 8:57 am, March 31st, 2014 - 32 comments

European Football - UEFA Champions League - Semi-Final 2nd Leg MD12 - Liverpool FC v Chelsea FC

Just spent a couple of hours in “The Goose” in Walthamstow watching Liverpool outclass Spurs 4-0 to go top of the Premier League table. Nobody gave them a chance at season’s start, but what a difference good strategy and management can make – belief, commitment, determination and the willingness to work for each other.

Officials’ dinners off in China

Written By: - Date published: 4:50 am, March 16th, 2014 - 36 comments

Chinese President Xi meets with Ukraine's President Yanukovich at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing

Fran O’Sullivan thinks that the only reason why Collins is still a Minister was Key’s need to save face in his impending visit to China. I think Key may have got a better reception from Xi Jinping if he had followed the Chinese leader’s example of taking a hard line on  dinner-table corruption and sacked Collins.

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