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Archive for December, 2008

The final cut

Written By: - Date published: 1:01 pm, December 18th, 2008 - 1 comment

Good one Bill

Written By: - Date published: 10:59 am, December 18th, 2008 - 20 comments

Bill English has stopped the sale of BlueScope’s Taharoa ironsands business to a Chinese investor based on the fact that it won’t bring any value to New Zealand. Good on him. If we aren’t going to profit from investment then why should we allow it? Of course there is the small issue of hypocrisy given […]


Written By: - Date published: 4:49 pm, December 17th, 2008 - 39 comments

I haven’t commented on the maiden speeches yet (we’re doing some analysis later) but I can’t let this stand. Aaron Gilmore, the bottom-ranked National List MP who got in by 39 votes, is having his maiden speech. He started by remembering growing up in a state house, going to school, a teacher giving him some lunch. […]

Somewhat suspicious

Written By: - Date published: 4:36 pm, December 17th, 2008 - 21 comments

Gerry ‘sexy coal’ Brownlee has spent today ripping apart more anti-climate change laws. Today, under urgency and without the opportunity for the public to contribute via the select committee process, National/ACT has repealed the Biofuels requirement and is now in the process of repealing the ‘ban’ on new baseload fossil fuel power plants. Disturbingly National/ACT’s […]

Merry Christmas from National

Written By: - Date published: 3:17 pm, December 17th, 2008 - 28 comments

National’s decides to hit workers in the pocket: ACC Minister Nick Smith yesterday said levies would increase from $1.40 to $1.70 for every $100 earned from next April. The employer and self-employed levy would rise from $1.26 to $1.31. Recommendations by officials to increase motor vehicles levies and lift registration fees by $50 would not […]

Who else are they spying on?

Written By: - Date published: 2:24 pm, December 17th, 2008 - 16 comments

Gordon Campbell raises a good question in his latest Scoop column – are the Police also using paid informants to spy on mosques? According to the original Sunday Star-Times article, the Police informant Rob Gilchrist was getting $600 a week for his information. This is a substantial amount, and more than enough to entice anyone […]

Time to reconsider Hobsonville

Written By: - Date published: 10:34 am, December 17th, 2008 - 29 comments

After initially saying they would cap the number of state houses, National/ACT’s Housing Minister Phil Heatley actually got informed. Despite the good work that Labour did increasing the number of state houses and their quality, the problem has not been completely solved – there are thousands of families still in need of affordable housing. Now, Heatley says, there […]

Impressions of the House

Written By: - Date published: 8:48 pm, December 16th, 2008 - 12 comments

First question time – the teams square off. Let the games commence. So what was the vibe? Well both sides kept getting their language muddled up (Minister/ member etc) as they tried to remember that they had shuffled around in their roles. So what of the performance? I start by making it clear this is […]

Enough already – no more tests please

Written By: - Date published: 5:00 pm, December 16th, 2008 - 15 comments

When I went to my first parent/teacher interview I was amazed at the breadth of markers against which my daughter’s performance was being evaluated. I admired the commitment of the teacher to such a level of engagement. I felt fully aware and informed of my daughter’s strengths, and the areas we needed to work on. […]

The limits to tolerance of the police

Written By: - Date published: 3:00 pm, December 16th, 2008 - 66 comments

On discovering that her boyfriend had been spying on her and her friends for the police, and the consequent violations of her expectation of privacy, my niece Rochelle had quite enough tolerance of the police. That is sufficient cause to get seriously annoyed, and it is generally unwise to seriously annoy geeks. So she has […]

Be pragmatic

Written By: - Date published: 2:22 pm, December 16th, 2008 - 3 comments

A fundamental of social democratic politics is full employment. It is sometimes said that work is the best form of welfare. When people are in work they have a sense of belonging and self-worth, they commit fewer crimes, they contribute to funding public services, they can afford a better standard of living for their families. […]

Garth McVicar – racist

Written By: - Date published: 12:57 pm, December 16th, 2008 - 59 comments

Here’s a quiz. Can you name the one killing that has seen Sensible Sentencing’s barking mad Garth McVicar support the killer and argue, in direct contrast to his normal practice, that the sentence ought to have been more lenient? And can you point to the unusual socio-economic conditions around this killing? Yup. The only, only, killing […]

He’s a fan

Written By: - Date published: 12:18 pm, December 16th, 2008 - 2 comments

Just in: Coldplay to play at Vector Arena on March 18th. No word yet on whether John Key has managed to get tickets.

Howard – some advice on what questions to ask

Written By: - Date published: 11:49 am, December 16th, 2008 - 23 comments

Yesterday, Howard Broad made statements about the targets of the SIG (Special Investigation Group) to National Radio. Interview with Howard Broad on his actions. I’ve seen some of the e-mails when Rochelle Rees discovered them. From them and his statements, I get the impression that the police commissioner is and has been kept out of […]

A bad start, don’t expect improvement

Written By: - Date published: 11:18 am, December 16th, 2008 - 16 comments

We’ve seen a plethora of commentators criticising the National/ACT’s performance thus far. Colin James sums it up well: Key’s past week was mixed at best, notably in the House where his take on mandate reeks of FPP arrogance. His tap-dancing on climate change risks serious consequences. He badly needs lessons in international relations. James goes […]

No ReStart for Fire at Will even if unfair

Written By: - Date published: 9:43 am, December 16th, 2008 - 9 comments

So much for all National’s fine words about probation periods and job creation. Today’s Dominion reports that ReStart will not be available for “those who were sacked, including those who lost their jobs under the new 90-day probation law.” So the conditions for three months “probation” are that you cannot ask for reasons for dismissal […]


Written By: - Date published: 5:08 pm, December 15th, 2008 - 79 comments

And so the Maori Party’s sell-out of its own people continues. Hot on the heels of the party’s vote to take money out of the pockets of the poor to pay for tax cuts for the rich, this morning’s Dominion Post reports: Green Party MP Mitiria Turei has accused the Maori Party of disgraceful behaviour […]

Estonians to vote by mobile phone

Written By: - Date published: 2:05 pm, December 15th, 2008 - 23 comments

Last Thursday, while our new government was making it easier for businesses to fire employees, politicans in Estonia were making it easier for people to vote. In Estonia’s 2011 parliamentary election people will be able to vote via mobile phone. The system apparently “requires that voters obtain free, authorized chips for their phones” which are used […]

From clean and green to grey and grubby

Written By: - Date published: 1:52 pm, December 15th, 2008 - 39 comments

Tourism New Zealand has recently launched its dedicated YouTube channel – Have Your Say – where tourists can post video messages about their experiences while visiting here via a mobile studio. Here’s what our new PM, Minister of Tourism, and veteran YouTube user John Key had to say. But while John’s out there on YouTube doing the hard […]

Making a mockery

Written By: - Date published: 12:55 pm, December 15th, 2008 - 19 comments

Shock news as Key’s media trainer praises Key Bill Ralston thinks Key is doing just super, which is perhaps to be expected since Key employs Ralston’s company for media training. He also thinks this whole ‘democracy’ thing is a bit of a pain in the arse and it’s great that National/ACT is ignoring it: “Where […]

US ‘shoes-for-guns’ program in Iraq backfires

Written By: - Date published: 12:05 pm, December 15th, 2008 - 15 comments

[The shoe-thrower is a journo from a Baghdad newspaper taking his opportunity to make his feelings known during Bush’s surprise farewell visit to Iraq. In Arab culture, the sole of the shoe, being dirty, is insulting.]

Rod Oram: The global crisis is real

Written By: - Date published: 11:47 am, December 15th, 2008 - 5 comments

As usual an insightful analysis from Rod Oram on the need for our political and business sector leaders to better come to grips with what the international economic situation means domestically. He says: Every sector of this economy has its own set of structural challenges forced on it by global conditions. Yet, we’re hearing nothing […]

Cui bono?

Written By: - Date published: 11:32 am, December 15th, 2008 - 16 comments

I’m no lover of the car industry but it’s interesting to see why the effort to put together a bailout for US carmakers has failed. Seems the Repubicans couldn’t face the horror of a 14 billion dollar payout, which is chump change compared to the welfare Wall St has gorged itself on, with far less […]

Police Special Investigations – A fundamental lack of humanity

Written By: - Date published: 8:02 am, December 15th, 2008 - 46 comments

Aside from all the democratic, political and moral issues raised by the Police’s behaviour, there is a fundamental lack of humanity in their actions. Yeah, perhaps the Police do have a role in preventing the graffiti of billboards (apparently they used their informant to try to track down a group that graffitied a red meat […]

No Right Turn: Police State

Written By: - Date published: 1:17 pm, December 14th, 2008 - 35 comments

No Right Turn has written in his cogent style on the police spy issue. With the kind permission of No Right Turn, I’ve quoted it in full below. Because the police operate independently of the government at the operational level (as they should), the “mission” creep is always going to be a issue. Unfortunately the […]

Judith Collins – thoughtless idiot

Written By: - Date published: 11:34 am, December 14th, 2008 - 28 comments

Nothing is quite as important to a democracy as activist groups that engage in peaceful protest for change. In the past these are the groups that have worked for extending the franchise (including to woman), establishing the rights of workers in employer/employee relationships, the abolition of slavery, campaigned for sewerage systems and clean water reticulation, […]

Sunday Star Times

Written By: - Date published: 10:28 am, December 14th, 2008 - 30 comments

My niece Rochelle Rees has uncovered some unsavory practices operated by element of the NZ Police directed at peaceful protest groups. You can read them either by buying the paper, or by these links to articles from Nicky Hager. Police anti-terror squad spies on protest groups Who the police were spying on The activist who […]

Back in another life

Written By: - Date published: 2:49 pm, December 13th, 2008 - 14 comments

I’ve actually had time to start reading blogs again. As some people are probably aware (mostly the climate change deniers), my first degree was in science. Now while some people seem to think that business is what makes the world work, this isn’t correct. It is the science and its derived sister, technology, are what […]

Red ink

Written By: - Date published: 11:01 pm, December 12th, 2008 - 26 comments

Hilarious. Jon’s got a serious point though. Newspapers worldwide are in trouble. Many predict they will soon have to be handed out free to commuters in an attempt to keep circulation high enough to run on advertising. Here in New Zealand, the major newspapers’ circulation fell 4% in the last year alone. APN and Fairfax, the duopoly which […]

Class divide

Written By: - Date published: 4:08 pm, December 12th, 2008 - 117 comments

Taken a matter of minutes ago, the Workers Party protest outside John Key’s multimillion dollar Parnell mansion. Just to remind you that we’ve just seen a man worth tens of millions of dollars take work rights off a whole bunch of people who earn minimum wage. In case you’re wondering what they’re holding up, it’s […]

Dulce et Decorum est

Written By: - Date published: 2:19 pm, December 12th, 2008 - 35 comments

Imagine: you are a new MP. Tens of thousands of your fellow New Zealanders have shown a great faith in you; they have shown that they want you to be one of their select representatives in the most powerful body in the land – our sovereign Parliament. You now have great power, privilege and responsibility, […]

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