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Corrosive, anti-democratic power of big money

Written By: - Date published: 9:23 am, May 2nd, 2014 - 86 comments
Categories: accountability, business, capitalism, david cunliffe, election 2014, greens, john key, Judith Collins, news, patriarchy, russel norman, same old national, slippery, spin - Tags:

Too many MPs in the NAct government, and some journalists, fail to understand that the negative impacts of the infiltration into politics of the worst ethos of big business: the primary pursuit of profit, power and personal success through deceptive manipulations and cronyist networks,  has a corrosive and anti-democratic impact on politics and government.

Key cabinet

Both the Judith Collins’ Oravida saga, and the Maurice Williamson-Liu connection show how these values are in play.  Many in the media praise John key in his quick action in enabling a quick ministerial resignation from Williamson (how is that not an indirect sacking if they are praising Key’s actions?).  Vernon Small puts a positive gloss on it for John Key:

His pre-sacking resignation was handled cleanly and swiftly by Prime Minister John Key and it was hard not to hark back for comparison to the dog’s breakfast Labour made of Shane Jones’ recent departure.

Really? There is actually no comparison between the Jones’ resignation from choice, and Williamson’s forced resignation under pressure of perceived interference in police operations.  A closer comparison would be Key’s inaction over allegations against Judith Collins of corruption.

Guyon Espiner (and Patrick Gower on 3 News last night) tried to weaken the criticisms by opposition leaders, by turning the spotlight on the way Cunliffe repeated his claims that the Williamson-Liu connection is part of a wider abuse of power by National government ministers. This on Morning Report this morning: 

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Russel Norman put it well in his morning Report interview.

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Norman argued that Key’s response is part of a bigger pattern: one  of constant incursions of (big) money into the political world from the business world.  As Norman explained, John Key doesn’t understand or doesn’t care?) how that impacts negatively on democratic processes.   Norman stated:

Maurice Williamson, in my opinion he seems to be genuinely of the view that if you are a potential big investor in New Zealand then you should get different treatment by the police. That is what the phone call was all about”.

The Green Party has:

released a proposal to introduce a ministerial disclosure regime in New Zealand to improve the transparency and accountability of government.

Russel Norman’s press release yesterday explains further his view on the negative impacts of big money:

“We also need to know when the Prime Minister was first made aware of Williamson’s actions. Was he simply hoping that information wouldn’t come out and has he been involved in covering it up?

“In New Zealand, it’s not ok for people to make big donations to political parties and then receive political influence as a result of that.

“It is particularly distressing that the ministerial intervention related to a case of domestic violence. All MPs should be supporting the elimination of domestic violence and have a zero tolerance policy towards it.

It is also of great concern that “big gay rainbow” Williamson, seems to be most concerned that Liu was treated fairly by the police.  In contrast, he seems to have had little concern for the alleged victims of domestic violence.

More information about the extent of the Liu-Williamson connection is becoming public.

Meanwhile, as Cunliffe and Norman have rightly pointed out, this connection needs to be seen within the wider context: one that includes the corrosive impact of big money on politics and (on occasions) the judicial system, as seen in the continuing case of John Banks (still before the courts) and the on-going Judith Collins-Oravida saga.

john-key-judith-collins-GETTY1200

Judith Collins no cluedo

86 comments on “Corrosive, anti-democratic power of big money”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours,
    With a little understanding,
    You can find the perfect blend.
    Neighbours should be there for one another.
    That’s when good neighbours become good friends.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.1

      Williamson is shitting in Liu’s toilet at his holiday home, yet he doesnt see him as a friend?

      • Richard Christie 2.1.1

        Williamson has gone to extraordinary lengths to help Liu out.

        You have to wonder if Williamson is beholden to Liu in some other way, besides the 22K donations to the party.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.2

        Sometimes it’s hard to know whether your boss is your friend. Maurice was just playing it safe.

      • fender 2.1.3

        The grovelling Williamson is up to his neck in crap due to being a ‘human’ bidet for the neighbour Mr Liu. Can’t help but wonder what the promised paybacks were if he had been successful in getting the police to drop the charges…

        • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.3.1

          A mutually beneficial relationship wouldn’t require anything so overt. The new Construction Minister probably has some mutually beneficial relationships too.

          • fender 2.1.3.1.1

            Can’t wait to see Key get all nasty with the ministers he will blame for losing him the election, he will be a very sore loser.

            That Williamson’s a ‘great’ guy though, wonder if Hooton can give us a phone number, I’d like to ask Williamson to help lay some cabling this weekend..

        • weka 2.1.3.2

          “Can’t help but wonder what the promised paybacks were if he had been successful in getting the police to drop the charges…”

          It is possible that Williamson genuinely didn’t think he was asking the police to drop the charges. Still wouldn’t make what he did right, but from this distance it’s hard to judge one way or the other.

          • fender 2.1.3.2.1

            No he wouldn’t be so blatant to ask for the charges to be dropped, just a little “don’t you know who he is/how rich he is ?” would suffice.

            • weka 2.1.3.2.1.1

              true, I am just saying that either explanation makes sense and we don’t really know which one actually happened.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Well, he really actually did tell the police how rich and important Liu is and he did suggest that they make sure that their case was rock solid. This did result in the police reviewing the case.

                All of which does seem to be a case of him trying to influence the course of justice.

              • fender

                What actually happened was Williamson misused his power in an attempt to pervert the course of justice. Getting the police to review the case is evidence of this.

          • blue leopard 2.1.3.2.2

            It begs the question, though, why was Maurice Williamson so very uninformed about the proper behaviour for an MP with regard to the police?

            There is a flavour of ‘I didn’t know, I wasn’t there, I forgot’ ; standard butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth type excuses. Yes, it is rather easy to believe such statement (which is why they are used so often), but are Williamson’s excuses genuine? Saying ‘I didn’t know any better’ is the quickest path toward getting people on your side.

          • Clemgeopin 2.1.3.2.3

            That makes no difference because he is a MINISTER and is supposed to know the ministerial code of conduct rules!

      • Tracey 2.1.4

        judith collins can have friends who dont understand her and who she doesnt understand… see her aides comments, but mw cant.

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    Aaron Gilmore to Joe Public: “Don’t you know who I am?”

    Maurice Williamson to Joe Police: “Don’t you know who he is?”

    The only person whose identity must remain a secret is a Chinese border official. But he sure as hell knows who Judith Collins is.

    Swamp kauri too eh. Busy little Ministers.

  3. framu 4

    I also found it funny that on the news this morning key (in regards to standards) was claiming that NZers wanted him to uphold the values he believed in.

    pretty sure his personal values compass isnt part of the job when it come to ministerial behaviour – thats why theres a cabinet manual

    it speaks volumes about how key views politics, power and democracy – everything starts and ends with his opinion – rules and conventions dont matter

    • veutoviper 4.1

      Spot on, framu.

      And re your “… everything starts and ends with his opinion …”, what stood out for me yesterday when Key made his statement re Williamson’s resignation was the number of times Key said ‘in my opinion’ or ‘in my view’. Totally overdone – and supports your comments above.

      .

      • RedLogix 4.1.1

        Which is just instinctive with Key – and goes right back to his money trading training; always have a plan B or some wriggle room.

        By framing it as ‘my opinion or view’ he’s leaving space to change his mind in the light of new facts or changed circumstances.

        As contrasted to an unequivocal ‘this is wrong on principle and I’m not going to brook any compromise on it’. That would paint Key into a position he can’t back out of.

    • Bearded Git 4.2

      I noticed that on TV3 news last night framu.

      Key said something like “in my opinion he has crossed the line” rather than “according to cabinet guidlines he has crossed the line” or better still “according to cabinet guidlines this is a very serious offence that threatens the separation of powers and how could someone who has been an MP for 27 years not realise this”.

    • Weepu's beard 4.3

      Pretty sure he referred the other day to the GCSB being “his” agency.

  4. Vic 5

    Collins needs to be gone over with a microscope .

  5. Sanctuary 6

    My favoured model of funding is a complete ban on all donations with political parties funded solely by capped membership fees topped up by the state using a set formula. So let’s say that for every financial member you get a $25-35 top up. A party with 10,000 members would get an annual grant of $250-350,000 of taxpayers money. there would be an upper limit PA of around $600-750,000. I like this model for two reasons:

    1/ I am strongly of the view that democracy thrives on participation at the grass roots. Funding based on membership means attracting and retaining party members will matter – parties will have to work to create broad-based memberships to qualify for cash. it would probably mean the end to astro-turf parties like ACT and vanity projects like CCCP.

    2/ Because members count such a funding model acts as a powerful handbrake on the palace politics of the party machinery that things like the centralised control of the party list has created that is an unwanted unintended consequence of MMP.

    Individuals contesting constituency seats would have a cap on their spending of say 20k in the three months before the election, and no more than $60,000 in the three years before the election.

    PS there is no reason why this model can’t be adjusted to include such things as polling performance…

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Not bad but you need a system which prevents the legalised bribery which is MPs and Ministers being offered high paying corporate jobs and consulting contracts straight after leaving Parliament.

      Next to that, a few donations here and there are nothing in terms of screwing with a citizen’s democracy.

      • Paul 6.1.1

        From wiki

        Jenny Shipley has business interests in China and is currently on the board of the China Construction Bank.In 2010 the China Construction Bank agreed to help finance a proposal by May Wang [also known as Hao May] and Jack Chen [also known as Chen Keen] to invest in the New Zealand dairy industry by taking over the Crafar Farms.
        Since 2009, Shipley has chaired the Genesis Energy Limited board.
        In December 2012 Shipley resigned from the board of directors of Mainzeal Property & Construction which later went into receivership on 6 February 2013. At mid-day on 5 February 2013 she was one of four independent directors who resigned from the board of Mainzeal Group Limited Both Mainzeal Property & Construction (MPCL), and Mainzeal Group Limited are part of the Richina group, controlled and majority owned by Yan Ci Lang (Richard Yan).

      • Sanctuary 6.1.2

        That would mean putting in place extensive prohibitions on who you can work for once you leave parliament for three – six years. That therefore implies a generous post-parliament pension scheme to compensate for the restrictions on trade.

        • Murray Olsen 6.1.2.1

          Why would it mean a generous pension scheme? They all make speeches about how they don’t do it for the money, they want to make New Zealand a better place, etc etc. Given their charitable instincts, I’m sure they would be willing to forego directorships and overly well paid consultancy positions for a few years.

    • Watching 6.2

      A party with 10,000 members

      Your model based on membership is something from the 1960’s. Although you may believe that democracy grassroots is a goer the public is not interested in officially joining anything. It’s so last century

      This is not only impacting political parties but all organisations are struggling with membership numbers, be that sport club or the numbers who turn up to Hurricanes or Phoenix game in Wellington. People are so busy, not only with work but family time and activities. There is a perception that more people are doing their own thing rather than belonging to a club/organisation.

      a 2008 article by Bryce Edwards on party membership – couldn’t find anything more up todate

      Sanctury, is you have a solution to get people involved (which means giving their time) then you may a solve a bigger problem in society. I think your solution is fighting against how we now live.

      Maybe the flaw is political parties.

      • Colonial Viper 6.2.1

        People are so busy, not only with work but family time and activities. There is a perception that more people are doing their own thing rather than belonging to a club/organisation..

        Membership of pentecostal/evangelical churches grew strongly over the last 20 years. So if you are meeting a psychological or social need, you’ll do well.

        Also, there are at least half a million unemployed, underemployed, semi-retired, retired folk out there who have a lot of spare time and energy that they would give if they saw something worthwhile.

      • weka 6.2.2

        One of the things the GP has done is offer an alternative to formal party membership. It’s a list of people who want to support GP initiatives without becoming an actual member. Seems to be working pretty well. They also do well fundraising this way too (targeting well beyond the formal membership).

      • Sanctuary 6.2.3

        The Labour party had 80,000+ members as recently as 1985. Hardly the 1960s. Membership of political parties collapsed when neo-liberal vanguard cadres captured both main political parties and they stopped representing sections of the community and instead became the tweedle-dum and tweedle-dee to an entrenched global corporate elite.

        But you are right – high membership of political parties implies a number of other things, like a much less atomised society with less emphasis on the centrality of the individual, stronger political and community engagement in politics big and small and that sort of thing. But if the desire to increase membership sees our political parties all seeking to strengthen grassroots democracy, isn’t that a good thing? It seems to me you assume what is now is how it always is and should and shall be. But it isn’t. We have the power to make choices that make our own society.

        “…Maybe the flaw is political parties…”

        this is just more of the sort of wishy washy air-head headed nonsense that doomed the occupy movement. Without decisive leadership and a political change agent, how on earth do you propose any sort of change gets done? We all sit around a campfire, talk it through, take a vote then winners and losers have a big hug and sing kumbaya?

        • Colonial Viper 6.2.3.1

          “…Maybe the flaw is political parties…”

          this is just more of the sort of wishy washy air-head headed nonsense that doomed the occupy movement.

          Sorry, but that’s utter bullshit.

          Occupy was destroyed by a co-ordinated and violent Federal operation ordered from the White House and which shut Occupy down across all US states, in concert with villification from the corporate mainstream media. Occupy encampments across the USA were infiltrated by undercover agents who disrupted meetings and stalled democratic decision making processes.

          Further you need to relook at history and examine the deep controversy around the beginnings of political party based democracy: many opponents clearly understood that party based politics could be a threat to true democracy via the stifling of individual voices and individual perspectives in favour. And so it has come to be – political parties to day are often large unwieldy organisational structures which seek first and foremost to perpetuate themselves and their own entrenched power base, rather than represent the constituencies and values that they were once founded on.

          Without decisive leadership and a political change agent, how on earth do you propose any sort of change gets done? We all sit around a campfire, talk it through, take a vote then winners and losers have a big hug and sing kumbaya?

          Sorry, but that’s utter bullshit.

          If you think that old fashioned, authoritarian and undemocratic leadership styles which rely on a small number of charismatic leaders is going to work, you are very wrong.

          Have you seen how the Greens operate? Would you call them an ineffective bunch of tree hugging kumbaya singers who cannot make decisions?

          Methinks it is time for you to recalibrate what shape a peoples’ movement might actually take in the 21st Century, and it might not necessarily be one based on an authority driven top down focused formal hierarchy.

  6. felix 8

    “:(how is that not an indirect sacking if they are praising Key’s actions?)

    Nah it was a direct sacking. Maurice let slip on nine to noon that Key instructed him to resign.

    • Tracey 8.1

      along with all other resignations except power. imo.

      a true leader would sack. a true leader would back his 2008 statements with his own resignation for failing to adequately lead with the high standards others needed to follow.

      the rot starts at the fish head.

      • felix 8.1.1

        In the case of Worth, Key said he resigned.

        Then he said he sacked him.

        Then he said he resigned.

    • Anne 8.2

      Key told Williamson Wed. night he wanted him to resign his portfolios. Willaimson acquieced Thrsday morning.

    • toad 8.3

      What interests me is the disparity between how Williamson was treated and how Collins was treated by Key.

      The apparent extent of Collins’ corruption is far worse than that of Williamson, who was just “helping a mate” and doesn’t appear to have gained or had the potential to gain anything pecuniary, either personally or for those close to him, from his transgression.

      All I can presume is that Collins is privy to some very serious shit on Key himself, and is therefore resignation/sacking-proofed.

      • Anne 8.3.1

        Interesting response toad. They mirror my thoughts too. My conclusion is that Key is scared of her because she knows plenty about him and could roll him if any of it became public knowledge.

  7. blue leopard 9

    Two thoughts;

    The whole logic behind the neoliberal approach corrupts. It is quite clever that it aims to harness selfishness and aggressive competitiveness, which seem to be qualities we humans have, however it ends up multiplying these qualities by the emphasis it places on them – and shoves other important qualities out of the way.

    We actually depend on cooperation, ethical behaviour; thoughtfulness toward others in our society. We absolutely need these qualities.

    The neoliberalist approach is turning us all into types of ‘commodities’ (or ‘resources’) for other people’s benefit and encouraging us to think along these lines. It is all screwed up and screwing things up.

    Secondly, I believe that there needs to be a connection made regarding the leadership style of Mr Key, coming directly from the most corrupt and screwed up sector of society – financial affairs – and the degeneration of ethical standards of our politicians. He appears to be spreading the worst excesses of his previous careers’ culture to NZ.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      The original markets from the first millennium back around the Fertile Crescent were seen as means of mutual support. Today’s markets are a war of all against all.

      Oh, and the risks that those merchants took were, quite literally, life threatening.

      • blue leopard 9.1.1

        +1 DTB,

        Your comment shows how all very topsy -turvy our system has become.

    • RedLogix 9.2

      The whole logic behind the neoliberal approach corrupts.

      There is an additional way in which neo-liberalism corrupts. While it talks up the virtues of competition, the players in the ‘big club’ don’t actually believe in it. In fact they do everything in their power to avoid it for themselves. Competition is only for us disposable workers (and small businesses) who have to face that.

      That’s why National party people cut deals behind out backs – always seeking ways to collude and conspire for an edge they can exploit for themselves.

      It is this festering hypocrisy at the heart of the system which will eventually mean people will stop believing in it. And will no longer sacrifice themselves to it.

      • blue leopard 9.2.1

        +1 I hadn’t noticed that and you are quite correct RedLogix, they are right into monopolies up there in the dizzy heights.

        Its like that whole thing about ‘individualism’ and ‘paying your way’ too, those at the top just don’t at all…privatising profits and socialising costs….

      • Draco T Bastard 9.2.2

        +1

        I noticed a long time ago that the big companies don’t like competition. It comes through time and time again. Restaurant Brands buying up Eagle Boyz and closing it down. When you look behind all the names in the construction industry in NZ you find that it’s far closer to a duopoly between Fletchers and Carters.

        No, capitalism and the ‘free-market’ has very little to do with competition except at the bottom where the little people get to compete for who they work for so that wages can be lowered.

  8. Penny Bright 10

    OK – how about focusing on some BIG picture anti-corruption stuff?

    Which political parties are going to pick up the ball on THIS one, and make it a stated election priority to get New Zealand’s domestic anti-corruption legislative framework in place and :

    1) RATIFY the UN Convention Against Corruption.

    2) Set up a genuinely Independent Commission Against Corruption tasked with the prevention,
    education, detection and prosecution of corruption in New Zealand..

    3) Legislate for an ENFORCEABLE ‘Code of Conduct’ for all New Zealand MPs.

    (For starters ……)

    High time for New Zealand’s domestic anti-corruption legislative framework to be put in place so New Zealand (perceived to be the least corrupt country in the world – along with Denmark, according to Transparency International’s 2013 Corruption Perception Index)

    http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2013/results/

    can RATIFY the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC)?

    https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CAC/

    On the ‘watch’ of Minister for Justice Judith Collins, New Zealand has STILL not ratified the UN Convention Against Corruption.

    https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CAC/signatories.html

    The promise made by Minister for Justice Judith Collins to Transparency International New Zealand has proven to be another load of hot air.

    http://www.transparency.org.nz/docs/2013/Hon-Judith-Collins-Minister-of-Justice-Letter-to-TINZ.pdf

    Minister for Justice Judith Collins’ ‘Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Legislation Bill’ has not yet surfaced in the House.

    In my considered opinion, Judith Collins is simply NOT ‘fit for duty’, particularly as a Minister for Justice.

    She is a disgrace, and must go.

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption /anti-privatisation Public Watchdog’

  9. MaxFletcher 11

    Just need to look at the US to see what big money/corporate does to politics

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      And big money is the inevitable result of capitalism as more and more of societies wealth is channelled into private ownership.

  10. vto 12

    The time has come for New Zealand to prohibit private donations of all kinds to all political parties.

    The current system has come to its end point.

    It would also mean saving money for big business so I imagine they would be happy with such a change …………….. you think?

  11. Penny Bright 13

    It’s not complicated.

    Private sector businesspeople do not tend to make competent PUBLIC SERVANTS who get into public office to serve the public and the public interest.

    They’re from a different CORPORATE planet, used to making money and looking after themselves and their mates ….

    Penny Bright

  12. anker 14

    And here is Audrey (still spinning it for the right or is that just John) Young!

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11247888

  13. captain hook 15

    Its pretty sad allright.
    The government seems to have become an overt arm of the business cartel without any pretence whatsoever of being there to regulate social beahviour and outcomes.
    It has all come down to money now and with a whole phalanx of screamers like espinah and paul henry they are just walking over everything and everybody.
    What is worse is that business in |New Zealand does not seem to be capable of doing anything by itself without some form of governmental asssistance so that all this talk of rugged individualism is exposed as just so much nonsense.
    when you get nitwits like jamie white from ACT talking about not being able to make a decision about anything until it has been discussed by the |Board then you must know that government has just become a contestable arm of management and not a very good one either.
    Business in New Zealand is either run by inheritors or accountants with no imagination and the thing is they are all lowbrow neanderthals backed up by drongo thugs.
    Its fucking horrible.

    • Draco T Bastard 15.1

      What is worse is that business in |New Zealand does not seem to be capable of doing anything by itself without some form of governmental asssistance so that all this talk of rugged individualism is exposed as just so much nonsense.

      That’s pretty much true of businesses all over the world. They’ve just taken to hiding the fact that they get government assistance and pointing out all the mistakes that government make while hiding their own. Go read The Entrepreneurial State and you’ll come away with a much better understanding of just how dynamic the private sector isn’t.

      • Colonial Viper 15.1.1

        small and medium sized enterprises is where the entrepreneurial drive exists; big corporates and industries like Hollywood looking to own toll gates as rentiers ain’t it.

        • Draco T Bastard 15.1.1.1

          small and medium sized enterprises is where the entrepreneurial drive exists;

          That’s one of the myths that she takes to task. The simple fact of the matter is that a small organisation simply doesn’t have the resources to do the decades long research for true innovation. Apple and Hewlett Packard started in garages but only after the government had done, either directly or through funding, the research that developed the CPU and other components needed to produce a PC. And, yes, some of that funding went to small businesses, some went to large corporations and some to public universities.

  14. Mr O Well 16

    Your spot on Mr D T B

    OIA the lot of them + perform a simple social network analysis (CIA use it) to see who else has been ‘helped’ (i.e. phones call, e-mail, GPS tracking on phones/cars, club affiliations, business connections etc)

    Just ask the GCSB, opps you cant John owns that
    Just ask the SIS, opps, you cant John owns that to

  15. captain hook 17

    anyway the thing is that National is supposed to be the party of business but where is th ebusiness.GNP is down not up so they are not making anything new but simply siphoning off more of the pie for themselves. nice guys.

  16. Clemgeopin 18

    National with its dodgy dealings has become an exploding rotten whale of a party, fouling the land around with its dirty offal and shameful stink. Watch the video, if you are not eating. You might get a sick feeling.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/oddstuff/10001605/When-whales-explode

  17. Bearded Git 19

    This good on Williamson from Danyl Mclaughlan:

    “Williamson looks like a horrible, hateful crooked scumbag who obviously doesn’t accept that he’s done anything wrong: he’s given a ‘sorry if I caused a perception of wrongdoing’ non-apology and insists he’s going to stand again in September”.

    Whole short article well worth a read. See:

    http://dimpost.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/nationals-week/

    • Tracey 19.1

      and not a word from williamson on the two victims of domestic violence … complete silence from the sensible sentencing trust.

      • Anne 19.1.1

        Been pondering on that all day Tracey. Not a word anywhere. Where are they? Are they still in NZ? Are they being looked after? Does anyone care? Did Maurice W care?

  18. coolas 20

    This story is getting better ‘Corrupt Nats’ as another Minister totters

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10002149/Mfat-briefing-requested-before-Oravida-dinner

    ‘An October 15 email from her office noted:

    “On Sunday, October 20, the minister will be having a dinner that will include (redacted name). He has agreed to meet with the minister arranged by Mr Stone Shi, Oravida. The minister would like ambassador Carl Worker and his wife to attend this dinner. A briefing from Mfat will be required.”

    All along Collin’s has said the dinner was private. If so, this shows she abused power by involving Mfat, and trying to hook the Ambassador, who obviously knew what she was up to – softening the undisclosed Chinese official to her husband’s business interest in Orivada. He declined to attend.

    Not looking good for Collins in the light of Williamson’s resignation.

  19. freedom 21

    yes it’s a repost, but a relevant one

    Time for an Election Donation Register of New Zealand ?

    Want to get some transparency back into politics funding in New Zealand?

    Tired of electoral funding skullduggery?

    I suggest NZ creates the Electoral Donation Register of New Zealand.

    THE EDRNZ:
    The EDRNZ is an escrow body which collects and distributes donations for all local and central government election candidates and or political parties.

    Any party or individual standing in local or central government elections registers with the EFRNZ and is paid donated monies minus an administrative tax.

    A small fee of perhaps 0.01% is taxed on all donations for administration of the EDRNZ.

    KiwiBank is an obvious choice to administrate the fund.

    All donations are deposited and logged with the EDRNZ then distributed to the relevant party or individual. With modern banking on-line processes this would be an efficient near instantaneous transaction from donation to EDRNZ to candidate. (especially quick if the candidate banked with KiwiBank)

    DONATIONS:
    Any individual donation over $1000 is not anonymous and is declared on a public register.

    Donations below $1,000 can be anonymous but are still declared on a public register.

    Any donations from a business or a trust for example, of any amount, would not be anonymous and must be declared on the register. (Trusts are and will continue to be a major thorn in the paw of NZ politics, until they are extracted) Occassional audits of the anonymous deposits should show up attempts to circumvent this.

    Any donation of any amount not made in the name of a NZ citizen or resident of NZ would not be anonymous and must be declared on the public register.

    All cash donations, electoral office collections and ‘raffle’ sales etc are processed/declared as per origin of funds. -this is an obvious grey area for cases where this total exceeds $1000 but it is hardly an insurmountable obstacle. The circumstances of its collection would show the totals were legitimate. E.g. the deposit slip from bucket collections. Large single donations (over the $1000 limit) are very rare from a bucket day, i am confident dodo eggs would be more common, but a donor’s details could easily be logged by the collector or alternatively the donation can be made using any number of modern technical services such as Square, for one example.

    THE PUBLIC REGISTER

    Your vote is your vote and that should always be private information between you and the relevant electoral body. When it comes to political donations however, I strongly feel if you don’t want people to know you donated to a particular party then why are you donating to that party?

    I am sure there are plenty of clever folk out there who could shape a register with the suitable oversights which also provides the necessary social protections.

    Despite the disasters in information sharing from recent years, I am confident NZ could produce a public register detailing the donated amount with an associated donor identity that does so without signing away excessive amounts of private data. The Addresses or locality of the donor for example need not be specific or even public, you might live in Tawa but that does not mean you don’t want to support a candidate in Taupo.

    The transfer of data to the EDRNZ Public Register would not need to be instantaneous and a weekly update would most likely suffice.

    In conclusion, there are numerous opportunities to massively overcomplicate the environment of a body like EDRNZ, and despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth from some heavily invested interest groups, the actual mechanics of its operation are incredibly straightforward and there is no reason for it not to operate efficiently and most importantly transparently.

  20. yeshe 22

    My chin hit the floor at this outrage … hidden until now it seems — from Bryce Edwards round up on cronyism this afternoon:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11248389

    “The NBR’s Matthew Hooton (paywalled) is now running an on going campaign against ‘corporate welfare’ …..and Hooton focuses on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), which he says has become ‘a socialist monstrosity, the likes of which Mr Anderton could only dream’. Hooton draws attention to numerous subsidizing roles that MBIE undertakes, focusing particular attention on a golf tournament example:

    “Mr Joyce personally decided that Sir Michael Hill’s annual golf tournament – some call it a private party – should receive $2 million of taxpayers’ money. Mr Joyce knew the tournament was certain to make a loss. Therefore, he decided, taxpayers should reduce the losses of its promoters, who have close links to the government. The golf tournament’s backers even got to present their case directly to senior ministers, after the Major Events Investment Panel – chaired by a close personal friend of the prime minister’s chief of staff – couldn’t make up its mind”.

    When Matthew Hooton is writing like this .. my goodness ! Whatever next ? Thanks for highlighting it.

    • Paul 22.1

      Add it to the list of the government’s rich mates.
      Just waiting for a blip list soon.

  21. Ben Adam 23

    I am trying to see how many ministers in this government during the last six years have resigned, were asked to resign, demoted or have been sacked for inefficiency, conflict of interest, corruption or dodgy behaviour or practices.

    These are the names I remember from memory:

    (1) Richard Worth
    (2) Pansy Wong
    (3) Phil Heatley
    (4) Maurice Williamson.
    (5) Banks
    (6) ?

    Any others that I have missed out? I am sure there are more! (and others that deserve to resign or to be sacked). I would like to see the full list. Please add on if you know.

    • karol 23.1

      Nick Smith

    • Hayden 23.2

      Would David Garrett count?

      • Ben Adam 23.2.1

        Yes, he would, in a way! He was part of this right wing coalition government, though not a minister I think. Google says tjis :”Garrett is the author of the “three strikes” legislation which was supported by the National Party and incorporated into the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill which became law in May 2010. He was ranked fifth on the ACT party list. He resigned from the ACT party on 17 September 2010 less than 48 hours after it was revealed he had used the identity of a dead child to obtain a false passport.[1] He was formally confirmed as an independent MP at the beginning of the following week but resigned from Parliament in disgrace shortly thereafter.

    • karol 23.3

      Dunne?

  22. Tracey 24

    I wonder how that compares to previous 2 term governments.

    simon power resigned too

    • srylands 24.1

      You are getting all frothy about Ministerial conduct. The Collins thing is such a beat up. Maurice was a fool and he paid the price. But he was always a loose unit.

      From memory this is a list of Ministers who resigned or were sacked in the 5th Labour Government. There is nothing here. Focus on the big policy issues.

      Dover Samuels
      Ruth Dyson.
      Marian Hobbs
      Phillida Bunkle
      Harry Duynhoven.
      Lianne Dalziel.
      John Tamihere
      David Benson-Pope.
      Taito Phillip Field
      David Parker.
      David Benson-Pope.
      Winston Peters

      • McFlock 24.1.1

        lol
        Several of those cases you mention were while an independent investigation took place, and they were subsequently reinstated after no case was found to answer.

        That’s called “accountability”.

        If Key applied the same standards of integrity as Helen Clark, many of his ministers would be goneburger – himself and Collins included.

        But that’s an ethical matter, I wouldn’t expect you to understand.

      • freedom 24.1.2

        “From memory this is a list of Ministers who resigned or were sacked in the 5th Labour Government. ”

        Q: Why is Duynhoven on the list then?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Duynhoven

        Harry Duynhoven.

        In 2003, it was alleged that Duynhoven might have accidentally violated an electoral regulation, thus depriving him of his seat. This claim arose after Duynhoven applied to resume his citizenship of the Netherlands. His father was from the Netherlands, and Duynhoven had possessed citizenship from birth, but had temporarily lost it due to a change of Netherlands law. According to electoral law, applying for foreign citizenship would require Duynhoven to vacate his seat. The law was seen by many as misguided, however, and Duynhoven, with his huge majority, was almost certain to re-enter Parliament in the event of a by-election. As such, the government passed an act retroactively amending the law.

        Duynhoven served as a Minister outside Cabinet of Helen Clark’s Labour Government with the portfolio of Associate Minister of Transport, and later, Minister for Transport Safety and Associate Minister of Energy until his government’s defeat. He did not stand as a party list candidate in the 2008 general election.

        Duynhoven was made a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order in the 2012 New Year Honours, for services as a Member of Parliament.[4]

    • Wayne 24.2

      Tracey,

      As well you know, that was because he was retiring in 2011, (as was the case with myself). Nothing to do with our actions as Ministers. On your analysis you would include Steve Mahery. But you know that would be ridiculous.

      • Tracey 24.2.1

        I responded to a post which asked who had resigned and then listed other variations. had I recalled you had resigned I would have included you. however deep down I believe simon had ideological reasons for going, unlike the feeling I have about your departure or steve mahareys.

        you must be giddy with excitement over mr bollards prediction today.

  23. Ad 25

    You can however draw a distinction between taking money that you know will affect your Ministerial decision (which I would term corruption), and engaging with business towards an economic development goal.

    Hooten and Whaleoil’s view of government engagement with business is precisely the same as many commentators here from the hard left: do not engage with business. Be pure. Pure for whole lot of reasons, including those that both left and right can agree on:
    – Countries and industries, not individual companies, should benefit from government intervention
    – WTO rules limit the state colluding with exporters
    – Business is inherently self-interested and not about being good to people
    – It’s wrong to prop up capitalism and those businesses that fail should be left to fail

    Overall I don’t agree with any of those reasons. Helen Clark certainly viewed business engagement with a significant hygiene factor; big corporates were too powerful not to distort your decisions.

    But there are no pure decisions in government. Government is there to change things. Government should engage with business more, not less.

    It’s not a question of degree of engagement for me, and certainly not a matter of scale; it’s a matter of openly scrutinisable process when deploying taxpayer or ratepayer dollars, and when using parliamentary process.

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    Greens | 29-10
  • Labour urges iwi leaders to meet with National
    Labour’s Māori Caucus has called on iwi leaders and national Māori organisations to seek urgent meetings with the National Government to directly express their concerns about employment law changes which will harm Māori workers. In an open letter sent today...
    Labour | 29-10
  • ACC’s reputation needs fix, not glitz
    Restoring public trust and confidence in ACC will take a lot more than a new communications strategy or social media blitz, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Under National, ACC has come to be perceived as insensitive, difficult to deal...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Lessons to be learned from police investigation
    The outcome of the so-called Roast Busters case should not put victims off reporting sexual crimes, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “This case has been mishandled from the start. Within days of police initially saying no charges had...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Anti-worker legislation is anti-Pacifica
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Pacific people are among...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • The Final Fifth: The Last Great Task for Progressive New Zealand.
    MOST OF NEW ZEALAND’S social problems are concentrated among those living at the margins of what is otherwise a relatively wealthy society. Recently released international data on child poverty has exposed an acutely stressed social strata encompassing roughly 20 percent...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • Myth Busting Rape Boasters
    In just one week a case that galvanised a nation into discussing rape culture is now being reframed as mischievous teen hi-jinx. One year ago the Roast Busters case came to the attention of the media and the public. This...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • Workers rights weakened by new laws – fightback needed
    The government’s changes to the employment laws are designed to weaken workers bargaining power – at both the individual and collective level.   30-day rule The old law required an employer with a collective agreement in place to employ new...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – Where are Labour Candidates on disability?
    For the few people who know me (hello Mum), I am proudly New Zealand’s first Autistic Spectrum Lawyer, as well as being the very bottom Candidate on the Labour Party List. (64 out of 64). Being honoured like this is...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Blockade the Budget
    The ‘Independent’ Police Conduct Authority’s report into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash The report released by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash riddled with inaccuracies....
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • When National claim new anti worker laws provide ‘flexibility’ they mea...
    And so it comes to pass. The first law National ram through as part of their victory march are new anti worker laws they pretend will generate ‘flexibility’. The new law denigrate the unions ability to protect workers and provide...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • City Transport: A Taxing Matter
    This week the prospect of paying tolls on Auckland motorways became a hot topic. (See Mathew Dearnaley:Motorway tolling could hit some hard, NZ Herald, 30 Oct 2014.) As we might expect, the kneejerk response has been quite negative. But, as with...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Open Letter to Amy Adams: Please Reopen The Review Into Sexual Violence Cou...
    Ms Amy Adams, Justice and Courts Minister, Right now in this country it seems that although rape is illegal, it is not being prevented by the agents who uphold the law. It almost feels like rape is only illegal on paper,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
    Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”. We’re accustomed to this from certain quarters – by mid point through the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • David Parker event – the future of work, Sun 2 Nov
    Labour leadership candidate David Parker, an experienced lawyer and businessman as well as a former senior government cabinet minister in the Helen Clark Government, will join three prominent New Zealanders in a panel discussion on Sunday to address...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Roast Busters: Turn Indignation into Action
    People raged about the Roast Buster case. The indignation was justified – it was horrible. “Where were their parents!?” Fair question. I am sure the Roast Busters’ parents and the victims’ parents all wish they had been more proactive in...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Stats NZ only have themselves to blame for postponement
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ only have themselves to blame for the indefinite postponement of the release of the Food Price Index: November 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • NZ Diversity Survey – benchmarking workplace diversity
    AUT University’s New Zealand Work Research Institute (NZWRI) has released a report on diversity in New Zealand workplaces....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill
    Tutehounuku Korako, Chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, is inviting further public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 5 December 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • ERA amendments a mixed bag
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act has the potential to put vulnerable workers in a more precarious position, says Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue. However, the commissioner says the right for all to request flexible work hours is...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Sensible Sentencing calls for appeal of judicial activivism
    The Sensible Sentencing Trust is appalled that Justice Jill Mallon has today refused to apply the Life without Parole (LWOP) provisions of the Three Strikes law as enacted by Parliament....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity, Nov 1
    The New Zealand Kurdish Community will march in solidarity with Kurdistan as part of the “GLOBAL RALLY AGAINST ISIS – FOR KOBANÊ – FOR HUMANITY” on 1 November 2014, 2pm....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Safer roads are better for everyone
    Recent pedestrian versus vehicle incidents highlight the real issues being addressed by delegates as the 2Walk and Cycle conference concludes....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Law change creates more flexible labour market
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act, passed yesterday, will bring new flexibility to the labour market and will reduce the ability of unions to organise and to recruit....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Bumper ANZ profits mean no excuse for insecure hours
    A big rise in profits at New Zealand's largest bank needs to be reflected in a better pay offer and more security around hours of work, the bank workers’ union said today....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Count down to lowered alcohol limit
    With just a month to go until a new lower alcohol limit for adult drivers comes into effect, Police and road safety agencies are reminding drivers of the impending change....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • WorkSafe Supports Forestry Review Findings
    WorkSafe NZ says the Independent Forestry Safety Review has clearly identified the problems facing an industry in which ten workers were killed last year. “The Review’s analysis matches our own view and leaves no doubt about the need for comprehensive,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU welcomes forestry review recommendations
    The CTU is welcoming the today's release of the independent forestry safety review panel findings. "These recommendations must be implemented to ensure that everything possible is done to make forestry safer." CTU President, Helen Kelly said....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Activists will confront animal abusers
    Today animal rights activists will confront a group of wealth advisers who want to build the biggest egg factory-farm in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Turia: Women’s Refuge Conference 2014
    This is a milestone moment in my life. This will be my last official address as Co-leader of the Maori Party. On Saturday night at our Hui-a-Tau, I will be standing down from that role and enabling a new co-leader,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rodeo Code of Welfare ‘Sick Joke’
    Animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the revised Code of Welfare for Rodeos just released is nothing but a sick joke. “Rodeo animals are goaded, tormented and forced to endure needless suffering and gross mistreatment, all for the sake of so-called...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Conservative Party applauds binding referenda on flag
    The Conservative Party are congratulating the Government on the decision to hold two binding referendums to decide the fate of New Zealand’s flag – and believes it will pave the way for binding referenda to form part of New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Walk the Talk – Opposing violence against women
    Soroptimist International of Auckland have organised a walk on 22 November from Silo Park at the Wynyard Quarter through the Viaduct and back to Silo Park, to show their opposition to violence against women. This event hopes to raise awareness...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Recommendations on the Design of Pecuniary Penalties
    The Law Commission has reviewed the use of pecuniary penalties as a regulatory tool. Pecuniary penalties are financial penalties that policymakers are increasingly opting to use in place of criminal sanctions in order to punish and deter misconduct in...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Every worker will be affected by employment law changes
    Every worker will feel the effects of the government’s new employment laws and should join a union if they want to maintain and increase their wages and conditions, says New Zealand’s largest private sector union, the EPMU....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD. It is embarrassing that a country which...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Unnecessary law changes more to do with ideology
    The government’s employment law changes are simply ideological and are at odds with its approach in the related areas of health and safety and immigration law, FIRST Union said tonight....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
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