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Archive for January, 2011

The Sell-off Begins

Written By: - Date published: 12:04 pm, January 26th, 2011 - 160 comments

'Privatisation in health, education and superannuation makes sense'

So John Key’s great bit of policy for the election is to sell off the family jewels.  Generations of New Zealanders have built up these assets, and now, like in the 90s, National intend to flick them off to foreign investors, and drain the country’s wealth.

Don’t abandon Pike River recovery

Written By: - Date published: 10:44 am, January 26th, 2011 - 21 comments

Good news for families of the Pike River miners. The Police have shown them video proving their mens bodies are still intact. It raises questions about the government’s actions. Why was this footage previously withheld? Why were the Nats spinning that there was nothing left to recover? And why was the recovery really abandoned so hastily?

States of the nation

Written By: - Date published: 8:40 am, January 26th, 2011 - 29 comments

It’s not radical, it’s not revolutionary but Phil Goff has laid out a positive, progressive, and affordable vision that contrasts with John Key’s directionless, lazy leadership. It seems to be popular. The PM’s state of the nation is expected to contain an interesting savings policy but always the question is: cue bono?

Open mike 26/01/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 26th, 2011 - 90 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…

Minimum wage crunch time

Written By: - Date published: 11:37 pm, January 25th, 2011 - 56 comments

John Key says that he can’t increase the minimum wage by a decent amount. The excuse this time round is that a decent increase will destroy jobs. Well, let’s check that out a little bit. Is it really true that lifting the minimum wages destroys jobs? If it is, do the benefits outweigh the gains? And what about the cost of letting wages fall?

Phil Goff’s State of the Nation

Written By: - Date published: 3:22 pm, January 25th, 2011 - 203 comments

Phil Goff has just delivered an excellent speech to start a year of laying out Labour Policy. $100/week tax free, stopping tax-dodging bludgers, support for R&D and exporters, correcting housing market anomalies and encouraging investment in the productive sector. There was a lot to like.

NZ falls in world prosperity rankings

Written By: - Date published: 11:45 am, January 25th, 2011 - 49 comments

The Legatum Prosperity Index looks beyond GDP, a failed measure that counts rebuilding after an earthquake as a gain. The Index is a broad measure of nations’ prosperity comprising 88 components. It shows that New Zealand is a relatively prosperous nation. It also shows that relative prosperity is falling under National.

Why are Turia & Sharples cuddling up to Key?

Written By: - Date published: 9:53 am, January 25th, 2011 - 22 comments

At this stage in the electoral cycle, government support parties are usually looking to try to differentiate themselves from the main governing party. They need to do this to show they still hold true to their own values and have a separate identity that is worth voting for. The Maori Party is doing to opposite.

Key’s solution for Maori problems: prison

Written By: - Date published: 6:22 am, January 25th, 2011 - 101 comments

John Key on Radiolive yesterday: “There are a lot of factors at play sometimes socio-economic, so there are a lot of negative statistics for the want of a better description that that Maori dominate and we need to make changes there whether it’s prison, incarceration or whatever”. Key thinks all Maori are crims. Welcome to your brighter future: it’s behind bars.

Open mike 25/01/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 25th, 2011 - 12 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…

Good day at Ratana

Written By: - Date published: 6:21 pm, January 24th, 2011 - 40 comments

A good day at Ratana today with the Labour party delegation led by Phil Goff and Annette King. For me personally, it was good to see and chat with many old friends. I and others also received a very warm welcome from Tariana Turia on the paepae. Labour and Ratana go back a very long […]

Too much of a Good Thing

Written By: - Date published: 12:57 pm, January 24th, 2011 - 42 comments

Higher commodity and food prices, we are told are a Good Thing. Our exporters (ie. Fonterra and foreign oil companies) get more money. But we consumers have to pay more to by the same products, so are we better off? And what about the poor saps overseas who are paying more for less, or the really poor saps who are priced out of the market?

Herald: Tolley must go

Written By: - Date published: 10:59 am, January 24th, 2011 - 18 comments

Today’s Herald editorial explores Auckland Grammar’s decision to ditch NCEA in favour of the Cambridge exams and the support this elitism, which undermines the NCEA system, has received from Anne Tolley. Never shy to give helpful advice to its favoured PM, the Herald tells Key it’s time to rid himself of the incompetent Tolley.

Ministers put public land in private hands

Written By: - Date published: 9:28 am, January 24th, 2011 - 28 comments

You’ll remember the disgraceful Schmuck scandal when Minister John Carter had clauses inserted into legislation specifically to legalise Doug Schmuck’s annexation of a public reserve. John Key took no action. Now, Kate Wilkinson and David Carter got in on the act – forcing DoC to sign over more public land for private use.

Open mike 24/01/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 24th, 2011 - 62 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…

Political journalist of the year

Written By: - Date published: 7:23 pm, January 23rd, 2011 - 9 comments

It’s a bit late, but this post is in response partly to John Armstrong’s bouquet piece at the end of 2010 headlined “Forget the economy, watch the lemmings”, and partly to Fran O’Sullivan’s latest piece in yesterday’s Herald about Hone Harawira. Fran O’Sullivan was my political journalist of 2010, for one simple reason. She’s a […]

Kids Tolley’s election year cannon-fodder

Written By: - Date published: 2:16 pm, January 23rd, 2011 - 34 comments

The international evidence that National Standards don’t work is conclusive. Only 20% of schools are ready to implement them and over 300 schools are refusing all together. What’s our Minister for Education’s response to the objections of people who have dedicated their lives to education? A declaration of war – using the kids against the teachers.

“Rich”

Written By: - Date published: 12:17 pm, January 23rd, 2011 - 259 comments

We have a national myth that everyone is in essence equal, yet we have a disparity of wealth where 10% own more than the other 90% put together and 50% have no net assets. How does one square away occupying a position of extreme privilege in a democratic society? Often, by convincing yourself that your privilege doesn’t exist.

Open mike 23/01/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 23rd, 2011 - 31 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…

Hoots overshoots

Written By: - Date published: 7:07 pm, January 22nd, 2011 - 54 comments

I see the NBR lost another 6% of its circulation last year, so I thought it was worth giving Matthew Hooton’s latest rant in that publication a wider audience. Hoots has a go at us and Clare Curran for criticising the violent rhetoric of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. Apparently, holding people accountable for what they say is restricting free speech.

Toe the line or hit the road – the new political norm

Written By: - Date published: 4:46 pm, January 22nd, 2011 - 31 comments

Fran O’Sullivan makes a good point in today’s Herald about the new political taboo of speaking out against leadership.

While we agree that it’s a Bad Thing, I doubt we agree about how it’s come about.

No votes for appointed advisers

Written By: - Date published: 1:17 pm, January 22nd, 2011 - 23 comments

It’s been revealed that the Government, having decided against dedicated Maori seats on the supercity council, gave appointed Maori advisers votes on council committees under its supercity legislation. That’s just unacceptable, we can’t have appointees voting equally to democratically-elected council members.

Open mike 22/01/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 22nd, 2011 - 67 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…

Caption contest

Written By: - Date published: 2:30 pm, January 21st, 2011 - 45 comments

Minister for Unemployment and Associate Minister for Overseas Holidays Paula Bennett.

She really seems to be enjoying herself and not posing at all in this picture by Herald photographer Brett Phibbs.

Nats’ Botany Selections

Written By: - Date published: 1:45 pm, January 21st, 2011 - 60 comments

The National Party head office have culled the eight people they don’t like and left five to contest Botany.

It’s Maggie Barry vs Jami-Lee Ross and three others.

There when it counts

Written By: - Date published: 12:12 pm, January 21st, 2011 - 49 comments

Herald, 21 December. Paula Bennett details the hideous abuse of a 9-year-old girl found shortly before by police. Says: “As soon as this case was brought to my attention I started demanding answers.” “I hope to God justice comes.” Today revealed, the child’s mother and teacher each separately wrote to John Key months before. Letters were transferred to… Paula Bennett.

Hone’s motives grow murkier

Written By: - Date published: 10:37 am, January 21st, 2011 - 17 comments

Why did Hone Harawira pick a fight if he wasn’t prepared to see it out? One News last night had him saying he wants to stay with the Maori Party. Patrick Gower reckons Hone’s assault on the leadership is all about building cred to take over next year but Hone’s saying he would support Te Ururoa Flavell for male co-leader. Curiouser and curiouser.

UN: Kiwi kids worries

Written By: - Date published: 9:24 am, January 21st, 2011 - 10 comments

The UN committee on the rights of the child has had some harsh things to say about New Zealand’s performance in looking after our children, especially on our infant mortality and childhood poverty rates. With National cutting ECE and lowering criminal responsibility and Labour proposing longer Paid Parental Leave and increased support for children under-5 and their families, will this please become an election issue?

Granny sez: f**k the kids

Written By: - Date published: 7:23 am, January 21st, 2011 - 151 comments

It’s always so wonderful to load up Granny Herald and see some wealthy late middle-aged grump (I’m picking this one is John Roughan) taking a swipe at the poor in the editorial. Today, Granny says we can’t afford to give mums more paid leave or more Working for Families for young kids. Hmm. But we can still afford those tax cuts for the rich?

Open mike 21/01/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, January 21st, 2011 - 36 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…

Overcrowding & undercrowding

Written By: - Date published: 11:20 pm, January 20th, 2011 - 33 comments

Overcrowding is a big problem that drives disease and prevents kids getting the best start in life. Normally, I would say that the solution to overcrowding is more state housing – eco-smart housing, which would also create jobs. But an interesting article in the Guardian recently by George Monbiot suggests another solution.

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