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Archive for February, 2010

On the news value of questioning Ministers’ shares

Written By: - Date published: 2:58 pm, February 24th, 2010 - 39 comments

A certain National Party pollster is having a cry over the story I ran yesterday on Murray McCully’s shares in Widespread Portfolios.

The story got widespread media coverage because it raised legitimate questions that needed to be answered.

Why not a Maori minimum wage too?

Written By: - Date published: 12:59 pm, February 24th, 2010 - 58 comments

The faulty logic behind Roger Douglas’ bill to cut the wages of young workers could just as easily be applied to any number of groups hit hard by the recession – Maori, students, men, dropouts, singles, people in Northland. What if we were to change a couple of key words in his bill?

Trev nails Tolley, other Lab MPs fail

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, February 24th, 2010 - 27 comments

Success for Opposition frontbenchers largely consists of embarrassing their opposite number by forcing them to answer questions they would rather not. Labour showed both how to do that and how not to do it in the House yesterday.

‘Atlases’ don’t deserve a tax cut

Written By: - Date published: 9:47 am, February 24th, 2010 - 67 comments

This man is Paul Reynolds, CEO of Telecom. He has overseen the largest corporate disaster in recent New Zealand history. The Nats are planning to give him over $6,600 a week in tax cuts. Apparently this screw up on a $7 million salary is the kind of guy New Zealand needs.

Farrar fudging ACE figures

Written By: - Date published: 8:05 am, February 24th, 2010 - 45 comments

A Price Waterhouse Coopers report has highlighted the huge returns from each dollar spent on Adult and Community Education (ACE). Farrar and other bloggers have attacked the conclusions of the report and the credibility of PWC, but the attack is bizarre…

Nats’ sense of entitlement behind credit card abuse

Written By: - Date published: 6:42 am, February 24th, 2010 - 40 comments

Yesterday the Dominion Post caught out National Party Ministers using their taxpayer funded credit cards for personal use. This was a gross betrayal of public trust. Housing Minister Phil Heatley knew what he was doing, but did it anyway. John Key should sack Heatley for turning his nose up at the Kiwi taxpayer.

Open mike 24/02/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 24th, 2010 - 15 comments

Open mike is your post. It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. Comment on whatever takes your fancy. The usual good behaviour rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner). Step right up to the mike…

Don’t take stock tips from Murray

Written By: - Date published: 10:18 pm, February 23rd, 2010 - 18 comments

Turns out McCully’s shares in Widespread Portfolios are worth 20 cents a pop. $31 total. He paid a grand for them at $5-odd each. Ouch. Are these guys really so good at business? Is mining really such a good bet for the country? And what is hidden away in the trusts?

Two IR bills from the Right

Written By: - Date published: 6:58 pm, February 23rd, 2010 - 14 comments

Two industrial relations bills from the Right were pulled from the ballot today.

The first, Roger Douglas’ bill to restore youth rates, is just the usual ACT Party kick the poor stuff.

But Tau Henare’s bill on strike ballots is just plain stupid.

Poll shows race closing in Britain

Written By: - Date published: 3:30 pm, February 23rd, 2010 - 20 comments

Britain could be heading for a hung Parliament, according to the latest Guardian poll.

With no more than three months to go until polling day, the Conservatives have fallen to 37%, down three, while Labour’s support, at 30%, is up one. The Lib Dems are unchanged on 20%.

Out with three strikes

Written By: - Date published: 3:30 pm, February 23rd, 2010 - 31 comments

The National / ACT “three strikes” policy on violent crime sentencing is the worst kind of law.

It has been thoroughly condemned by the Justice Ministry, who were blocked from giving advice to select committee.

Supercity: Who’s gonna vote?

Written By: - Date published: 2:30 pm, February 23rd, 2010 - 21 comments

Recent polls highlight how important turnout will be at this year’s local body election.

Sam Cash takes a look at recent history and how attitudes to the supercity and the themes of this election could increase participation.

Get tough no solution

Written By: - Date published: 2:20 pm, February 23rd, 2010 - 7 comments

Crime is not, as Judith Collins seems to think, evil people doing evil things that can be repressed by ever greater state violence. Deterrence doesn’t work because crime, especially violent crime, is not a rational outcome of weighing costs and benefits. A crime policy that doesn’t reduce crime isn’t really a crime policy, it’s a con.

Nature worth more than minerals

Written By: - Date published: 1:00 pm, February 23rd, 2010 - 4 comments

Linley Boniface: “To suggest that the world’s last few remaining areas of wilderness have no intrinsic worth, and should be judged only in terms of their ability to generate business opportunities, is a notion that is both repellent and outdated.”

John Key discovers new word. Country celebrates.

Written By: - Date published: 12:09 pm, February 23rd, 2010 - 17 comments

This morning the DomPost ran an article by Tracy Watkins about several ministers misusing their ministerial credit cards for personal entertainment. They obtained the information by doing OIAs (Official Information Act requests). Now I’ve come to expect that NACT ministers will do (in John Keys words) “stupid” things in office. But what I found significant was that John Key appears to have discovered the use of a new word “disappointment”. This is a major advance for the NACT political vocabulary.

Garner: poor GST compo will cause backlash

Written By: - Date published: 11:43 am, February 23rd, 2010 - 13 comments

Duncan Garner: “Key must get the compensation [for GST] right or there will be a backlash from voters” Problem is, you can’t get everyone to put some money in a bucket, give a large chunk of it to the rich and then compensate everyone else for what they put in with what is left. It can’t add up.

Dimming down night classes

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, February 23rd, 2010 - 4 comments

The Post Primary Teachers’ Association have just launched a YouTube video protesting National’s hugely unpopular cuts to night classes.

Click through to check it out.

BLiP View: Crusher missing in action

Written By: - Date published: 8:18 am, February 23rd, 2010 - 29 comments

BLiP puts his distinctive view on why the police have been losing “the respect of the community” with one of his locally famous lists. He attributes it to ‘Crusher’ Collins and wonders why John Key is cluessly fronting PR wanting stronger sentences for disrespecting police.

McCully caught in mining conflict

Written By: - Date published: 6:36 am, February 23rd, 2010 - 94 comments

The Government is driving ahead with its plans to open up our National Parks and other protected environments to mining. The Standard can now reveal that Murray McCully has shares in a company that stands to benefit directly from National’s mining policy.

Open mike 23/02/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 23rd, 2010 - 20 comments

Open mike is your post. It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. Comment on whatever takes your fancy. The usual good behaviour rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner). Step right up to the mike…

Tax and economic growth – Bill comes clean

Written By: - Date published: 1:37 pm, February 22nd, 2010 - 19 comments

Bill English’s argument that cutting taxes for the few at the top can cause an economic step change has always been nonsense.

His appearance on Q&A yesterday simply confirmed it.

Wee gripes: Cop attacks, whaling, dr shortage

Written By: - Date published: 1:15 pm, February 22nd, 2010 - 26 comments

No chance some gang f#ckwits would be deterred by longer sentences.
What happened to that plan of Key’s to end whaling?
How do we get a high wage economy when National opposes each and every wage rise?

Stalk your MP with new iPhone app

Written By: - Date published: 11:55 am, February 22nd, 2010 - 5 comments

A group called PublicZone have just released an iPhone app aimed at staying in contact with (UK) MPs a little easier. The app uses the GPS, email and web capabilites of the iPhone to allow constituents to track, contact and discuss issues with their local MP. Click the thumbnails below for larger images.

10,000 stand against RNZ cuts

Written By: - Date published: 11:20 am, February 22nd, 2010 - 22 comments

Over 2,000 people a day are joining the Facebook group to save Radio New Zealand from National’s cuts, which would turn it into another crap commercial outlet. There are a lot of outraged people who voted for a ‘brighter future’ among those 10,000. The backlash is growing.

Signs of a more confident Labour

Written By: - Date published: 9:28 am, February 22nd, 2010 - 61 comments

Labour is a pretty risk-adverse organisation. Making those two unorthodox attacks on those two ministers, and pulling it off both times, shows that Labour has got the measure of Key’s drop-kick ministers and is feeling more confident in itself.

Open mike 22/02/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 22nd, 2010 - 40 comments

Open mike is your post. It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. Comment on whatever takes your fancy. The usual good behaviour rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner). Step right up to the mike…

Oram on the ‘step change’

Written By: - Date published: 10:55 pm, February 21st, 2010 - 25 comments

An excellent piece by Rod Oram in the SST. More sophisticated governments are focusing on smart and sustainable growth but National thinks wealth comes from more milk and selling off our irreplaceable natural resources as quickly as possible.

Abbott laughingstock for saying Aussie should copy Key

Written By: - Date published: 8:42 pm, February 21st, 2010 - 27 comments

The new Aussie Liberal leader, Tony Abbott, has been widely derided for saying Australia should ape National’s economic policies. “Abbott’s remark came the day that Australia’s unemployment rate fell from 5.5 to 5.3 per cent. The NZ rate? It’s 7.3 per cent.” We should copy their stimulus policy, not the other way round.

Kiwi documentary wins another award

Written By: - Date published: 2:30 pm, February 21st, 2010 - 1 comment

Briar March and Lyn Collie have gained another award yesterday for their documentary There Once Was an Island:Te Henua e Noho at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Montana USA.

I’m personally rapt at the recognition it has been getting and I can’t wait to see it on the big-screen in New Zealand myself. Should be better than showing on our TV.

TEDTalks 2010: Bill Gates on energy and climate change

Written By: - Date published: 12:07 pm, February 21st, 2010 - 20 comments

At TED2010, Bill Gates unveils his vision for the world’s energy future, describing the need for “miracles” to avoid planetary catastrophe and explaining why he’s backing a dramatically different type of nuclear reactor. The necessary goal? Zero carbon emissions globally by 2050.

John Key – Conservation Enemy No.1

Written By: - Date published: 12:01 pm, February 21st, 2010 - 28 comments

Prime Minister John Key is the worst enemy New Zealand’s conservation estate has had in decades. Not content with the destruction caused by mining our most precious conservation areas, Key is pushing to sell off access to the conservation estate to the highest bidders.

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