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Archive for May, 2008

Cullen to speak at Drinking Liberally

Written By: - Date published: 3:50 pm, May 30th, 2008 - 100 comments

Drinking Liberally’s Facebook group has just sent out the invitation to their second event. I don’t know how they’ve swung it, but they’ve got Michael Cullen speaking. It’s not every day the Deputy Prime Minister agrees to talk to your drinking club/politics forum. It will be on Wednesday again to fit Cullen’s schedule. So, details: […]

Butting out

Written By: - Date published: 2:43 pm, May 30th, 2008 - 16 comments

The Government has announced that the percentage of kiwi adults who smoke has fallen to 19.9%. The number of daily smokers is down from 25.2% of the adult population in 1996 to 18.7%. 150,000 people have given up in the last four years alone. The really good news is that the number of teenagers who are […]

Ryall: disgraceful

Written By: - Date published: 1:28 pm, May 30th, 2008 - 34 comments

National’s Tony Ryall has made a disgrace of himself, yet again. This time, by labelling a Government initiative to hasten improvements in the detection of colon cancer (which kills 1200 people a year) ‘a political stunt’. Here is Health Minister David Cunliffe and Ryall on National Radio: CUNLIFFE: I’m not doing this because of votes, […]

Policy releases

Written By: - Date published: 12:05 pm, May 30th, 2008 - 3 comments

On the perils of polls

Written By: - Date published: 11:28 am, May 30th, 2008 - 43 comments

We’re used to hearing that a poll has a margin of error but what does it mean? A margin of error of 3% doesn’t mean the poll’s numbers are definitely within 3% of the ‘real’ numbers, it means there is a 95% chance they are within 3% of those numbers; that is, one in 20 […]

Free doco screening, 6pm tonight, Wellington

Written By: - Date published: 11:10 am, May 30th, 2008 - Comments Off on Free doco screening, 6pm tonight, Wellington

If you’re in Wellington, head along to the City Gallery tonight at 6pm to check out the free screening of a documentary on homelessness by Kate Amore and Charlie Bleakley. It was featured on Close Up last night:

Herald Digipoll

Written By: - Date published: 10:41 am, May 30th, 2008 - 22 comments

Another Herald Digipoll is out today, with a sample taken both before and directly after the Budget. The poll pretty much confirms what Roy Morgan showed us last week – the gap between the two main parties remains about fifteen percent and the controversial and highly publicised Fairfax poll was probably a rogue. Of course, […]

Yet more government waste

Written By: - Date published: 9:27 am, May 30th, 2008 - 57 comments

Following a series of National Party questions to the house the Herald has discovered the Labour government has spent nearly $27K on sausage rolls since taking power in 1999. Sources inside the public service reveal that in many cases morning teas would be provided with nearly two sausage rolls per person in attendance and some […]

Notional Policy: Kiwisaver

Written By: - Date published: 7:24 am, May 30th, 2008 - 24 comments

Tracy Watkins reported yesterday that National’s weakening of the employer contribution to Kiwisaver may take a different path to the one we envisaged. Rather than limiting employer contributions to a lower level Watkins reports businesses want to be able to dock or cut wages to compensate for the Kiwisaver contributions they make. This is currently […]

Gosche to retire

Written By: - Date published: 3:15 pm, May 29th, 2008 - 19 comments

Mark Gosche has announced he will retire from politics at the election. Gosche has represented the people of Maungakiekie for 12 years and, in 1999, became the first minister of Pacific Island descent. You will be aware of the family tragedies that led him first to step down from Cabinet and now to retire. Here’s […]

Farrar’s company, Curia, polls for Family First

Written By: - Date published: 1:32 pm, May 29th, 2008 - 16 comments

I’d thought at the time that it seemed a little odd for David Farrar to pass up a free hit regarding the Family First commissioned study on smacking. The headline in Granny Herald was: “Poll shows we’re still smacking our children”. What an opportunity! Turns out though, that it was Farrar’s company, Curia, that did […]

Why didn’t Kate know Nats’ Kiwisaver policy?

Written By: - Date published: 12:48 pm, May 29th, 2008 - 34 comments

The most surprising thing to come of the National’s Kiwisaver fiasco is not that they want to undermine the scheme and get employers out of paying their part (this is the party of big business, after all). No, the real shock is to learn that Kate Wilkinson, National’s Industrial Relations spokesperson, is not involved in […]

Key: Vietnam War was “right thing to do”

Written By: - Date published: 11:12 am, May 29th, 2008 - 115 comments

Yesterday, the leaders of the parliamentary parties apologised to the veterans of the Vietnam War for the treatment they received both while fighting and on their return home. It was not these soldiers’ fault that their government deployed them in a disastrous and unjust war. Except, now John Key is saying the war and New […]

“pretty similar”

Written By: - Date published: 7:56 am, May 29th, 2008 - 60 comments

I noticed an interesting comment from Ferdinand in our Kiwisaver thread yesterday: I signed up to Kiwisaver based on the 4% employer contribution being rolled out. If National cap that at 1% then I’m out of pocket by about $75,000 in contributions alone. That got me thinking about that meaningless phrase John Key used to […]

Some facts on benefit numbers

Written By: - Date published: 5:49 pm, May 28th, 2008 - 34 comments

Hear that sound? It’s Judith Collins banging the sickness beneficiaries drum again. Fresh from a sensationalist report on the front page of the Dom today, Collins is demanding the Government and the Department of Work & Income: “admit they are failing beneficiaries and failing doctors because Labour is more focused on pushing people on to […]

Greens must not let ETS fail

Written By: - Date published: 2:20 pm, May 28th, 2008 - 45 comments

The Dompost reports that the Greens will not vote for the Emissions Trading Scheme if the introduction of transport fuels into the scheme and the end of free allocation of credits are delayed. Without the Greens, the Bill will probably not pass. I have a lot of sympathy for the Greens’ position. The ETS is […]

Nats to journos: say what we want or shut up

Written By: - Date published: 12:59 pm, May 28th, 2008 - 19 comments

Here’s Barry Soper on ZB on the ‘Kate-gate‘ Kiwisaver debacle: What I found interesting was the way it was handled. I was the only person this time yesterday at this particular breakfast and it was a question from the floor. Kate Wilkinson quite clearly said that employer contributions to KiwiSaver was not going to be compulsory.  Now, […]

Kremlinology: National and Kiwisaver

Written By: - Date published: 11:59 am, May 28th, 2008 - 15 comments

National’s refusal to say what it stands for is becoming so ridiculous we have resorted to the Cold War art of Kremlinology. Today, we look at Kiwisaver. National has had a tortured relationship with Kiwisaver. When it was first introduced in 2005 John Key described it as a “terribly designed system” and spent the next […]

The Nats on KiwiSaver

Written By: - Date published: 11:32 am, May 28th, 2008 - 15 comments

Here’s the footage of the Nats’ accidental commitment to employer contributions under KiwiSaver. The first video is of TV3’s 6pm coverage, the second is extra footage of Mallard and Cullen discussing National’s accidental revelation.  

Clydesdale report rubbished

Written By: - Date published: 10:56 am, May 28th, 2008 - 29 comments

Greg Clydesdale’s report that labelled Pacific Islanders a ‘drain on the economy’ has been rubbished as a lazy, intellectually dishonest piece of work by fellow academics. The report concludes that Pacific Islanders make no net contribution to the economy but the substance of the report does not justify that conclusion in the slightest. Moreover, it […]

Reality check

Written By: - Date published: 10:13 am, May 28th, 2008 - 29 comments

Housing NZ’s decision to hold a conference for 94 staff at the luxury Tongariro Resort raises serious issues about extravagance in the public service. My first instinct, like others, was to assume the worst and condemn the Ministry for its extravagance with public money. Clearly $65,000 for a 90-person conference sure sounds like a lot […]

Political Blogs Survey

Written By: - Date published: 11:55 pm, May 27th, 2008 - 2 comments

A survey on political blogs has been on a number of blogs. If you haven’t filled it out, then why not? I can’t write it more succinctly than the 100 Word Blog. So I’m not going to try. Their post is here. I’ve quoted it in full. Andrew Cushen (Ex-OUSA president?) is writing a thesis […]

Interview the Leaders IX – Questions for Peters

Written By: - Date published: 8:44 pm, May 27th, 2008 - 2 comments

We’ve chosen the questions for Winston Peters in the final installment of our ‘Interview the Leaders’ series. The first question remains the same, as for all leaders: Of which of your achievements in politics are you most proud? For the others we’ve gone with Robinsod’s question: Last election you stated you would go with the […]

The status of KiwiSaver

Written By: - Date published: 3:03 pm, May 27th, 2008 - 34 comments

Tracy Watkins reports: “National has been forced into an embarrassing u-turn on KiwiSaver after its industrial relations spokeswoman Kate Wilkinson appeared to put the kibosh on a major component of the scheme. Ms Wilkinson was forced to retract comments made earlier today suggesting National would do away with the compulsory employer contribution.” On his blog Vernon […]

Getting blood from a stone

Written By: - Date published: 2:20 pm, May 27th, 2008 - 5 comments

A reader has just written in as a followup to IrishBill’s post earlier today on National’s plans to line the pockets of oil tycoons with a four land highway stretching the length of the North Island. Our reader notes that it’s not just us who think getting policy out of the Nats is like getting […]

ToryAid: The Standard resurrects Wastewatch

Written By: - Date published: 1:35 pm, May 27th, 2008 - 66 comments

Remember wastewatch.co.nz? It’s National’s site listing all the ‘government waste’. From six years of Labour government it managed to find a grand total of $1 billion in waste (0.32% of Government spending or a 10 cent a week tax cut) and most of that wasn’t ‘waste’ it included the entire $400 million for the new […]

Grueling

Written By: - Date published: 12:31 pm, May 27th, 2008 - 6 comments

Nats announce launch release consider rural doctors bonding scheme. Here’s the link, but honestly, don’t bother.

Ambitious for big oil

Written By: - Date published: 11:41 am, May 27th, 2008 - 74 comments

We’ve all heard John Key bang on about his ambitions for New Zealand’s infrastructure and now one of my sources within the National Party has tipped me off that as part of their infrastructure policy they are planning to announce a plan for a four lane highway between Wellington and Auckland. As I recall this […]

Vote National, get ACT

Written By: - Date published: 9:34 am, May 27th, 2008 - 78 comments

A source present at the University of Victoria debating society event last night tells us that Heather Roy referred to herself frequently (but we’re told lightheartedly) as the Minister of Education in a National/ACT government before handing out these scholarships vouchers… you’ll notice it’s even signed by Roger Douglas <shiver>.

Pumps are baulking at the price of gas too

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, May 27th, 2008 - 1 comment

As the price of our petrol continues to climb, having recently crossed the $2 a litre barrier, spare a thought for some US petrol retailers who have a whole other set of problems to contend with. As the Washington Times reports: Like a lot of small-scale entrepreneurs, Cathy Osborne worries that she’ll go out of […]

Back in the real world

Written By: - Date published: 6:41 am, May 27th, 2008 - 40 comments

Let’s have another look at our friend, the distribution of income graph. The red circle is what most people earn. The blue circle is where you would think most people earn given the commentariat’s fixation with the 39% bracket. No prizes for guessing which circle editors and opinion writers fall into, eh? You’ll also note […]

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