Bully Brownlee forces SOE CEO to withdraw critical blog

Written By: - Date published: 11:26 am, January 12th, 2010 - 55 comments
Categories: national/act government - Tags: , ,

Powershop is a subsidiary of Meridian Energy, an SOE. It is the most highly rated power retailer by its customers, with 92% satisfaction. On the Powershop website, there’s a blog. On this blog, the CEO of Powershop, Ari Sargent, wrote a post on the Government’s proposed electricity sector reforms. It’s insightful, adroit, politically neutral, and scathing of ironically titled Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee’s reforms. It is called: Proposed energy sector reforms likely to increase electricity prices.

In response, Brownlee launched into a bizarre public attack on the publicly-owned company saying Powershop should “come out from behind Meridian’s skirts. When Powershop manage to achieve a significant presence in the retail domain, they’ll be able to speak with a great deal more credibility and authority.” This, of course, coming from a former woodwork teacher with no experience in the electricity sector and a year in his job as do nothing minister and inept Leader of the House. Effectively he’s saying “shut up, you bastards and stop wrecking my PR”.

More disturbing is what went on behind the scenes and it explains why when you go to Powershop’s blog now, the contents of the post are gone. Brownlee called Wayne Boyd, Chairman of Meridian Energy, and ranted and raved at him for several minutes about the Powershop blog post before Boyd could even get a word in. Brownlee, stepping miles beyond his power as minister, insisted that the post be removed because it didn’t suit Naitonal’s political purposes for the truth to be told. In contravention of the legal checks on his power, Brownlee orderd that Sargent and Powershop be muzzled for daring to speak truth to power.

Boyd (also Chairman of Telecom) failed to stand up to his minister, probably in justified fear of his job, and called Sargent telling him (in excess of Boyd’s own power) to take down the post that had so offended Brownlee. Sargent, probably in fear of his job, complied. Although he cleverly left up the comments, so we can see him rationally, responsibly and intelligently discussing the problems with the reforms with various commenters.

Of course Brownlee is an idiot as well as a bully, and his idiocy extends to not realising that you can’t really destroy anything that has been on the internet. Wikileaks has a copy of the original blog and, now, so do you. As you can see, it is a thoughtful and measured response by an expert who is clearly concerned about reforms that are directed more at PR than ensuring the future of cheap, reliably electricity.

And that’s why it had to be suppressed, of course. That’s why Gerry Brownlee was throwing his weight around behind closed doors, exceeding his legal powers under the SOE Act by bullying a Chairman to direct the CEO of a subsidiary company regarding operational matters.

SOEs are meant to be free of such political interference. It is not acceptable for ministers to behave like this.

The shame is that this is hardly an exception, more like the rule. Brownlee is fast becoming notorious for his bullying, above the law, dictatorial attitude, as are other ministers like Paula Bennett and Judith Collins.

The Right used to talk of Helengrad and spoke darkly of politicisation of the public service, although the truth was most civil servants felt their ideas were listened and valued to under Labour. Now, we have a government that is extending its reach deep into the operational aspects of independent public bodies to make them politically correct for National’s purposes. Ministers run their portfolio agencies like personal fiefdoms, while the PM is either on holiday or hamming it up for the cameras.

Welcome, to the Bully State.

55 comments on “Bully Brownlee forces SOE CEO to withdraw critical blog ”

  1. fizzleplug 1

    Welcome, to the Bully State.

    Hi, you must be new here. I’ve lived here for around 10 years. Weather’s great.

  2. El Laho 2

    brownlee has always been a bully – now Ari Sargent thats a guy you want as a CEO. Great post and he suggested his own reforms – keep that guy on!

  3. randal 3

    I have been chastised for this before but anyone who achieves the girth of gerry is trying to psychologically compensate for a lack of power in their personal lives.
    I believe it is called throwing their weight around.
    any notion of right or wrong is completely irrelevant to being in charge and forcing other people to do their will.
    disgusting.

  4. Crash Cart 4

    Hell of a lot of very detailed accusations as to Brownlees actions but very little corroborating evidence to go with it.

    And no just the post being removed does nothing to corroborate “raved at him for several minutes about the Powershop blog post before Boyd could even get a word in”

    • Pascal's bookie 4.1

      It would corroborate someone’s claim of that though.

      JFTR, if true, what say you?

    • lprent 4.2

      You know the usual drill. The parties (Brownlee, Boyd, and Sargent) are welcome to deny it. We will happily publish a denial.

      Denials tend to drag these things out especially if you have to avoid directly lying. Of course there are usually 3rd parties to these things and everything leaks eventually so I don’t think that it is that likely we will get much of a response.

      In the meantime, I’d expect that the media will ask Brownlee as well.

    • Bright Red 4.3

      what do you want? Phone logs? Peps are really spoiled since the secret tapes.

      Eddie’s relating something he has heard, insider info. That’s one of the reasons this blog is so worth coming to. You can’t expect that insider info will come with signed affidavits.

      • Crash Cart 4.3.1

        The fact remains that this is a very serious allegation. One that I would think were it to prove true could have serious consequences to the minister involved. Sans evidence it is nothing more than hear say and can have no real effect. Brownlee can no more be found guilty for this than any other person charged with a crime with no evidence. It then comes off as a smear.

        And if either of the parties were to go public with this I doubt that the minister would have the opportunity to meat retribution. He would be so busy covering his own arse that any attempt to fire the said whistle blower would result in even more pressure.

  5. Crash Cart 5

    It would corroborate the claims if they were made by the person who made the initial blog that is true. However all I have seen is Eddies claim. The fact is that the removal of the post could indicate that the SOE themselves felt that perhaps their posting was starting to stray into the realms of political commentary and removed it them selves. I am by no means suggesting that this is what happened but what I see above has no backing substance. It could well be true but unless there is a link to a quote from the initial author to confirm he removed it from circulation due to downwards pressure or from the head of Meridian confirming that he was ranted at for minutes then it all just seems like emotive story telling.

    • Bright Red 5.1

      bro, think about it. The dude removed his blog post. If he backed down because of ministerial presure he’s hardly then going on the offensive, eh?

      • ben 5.1.1

        So the complete absence of evidence is the surest sign what Eddie says is true?

        • lprent 5.1.1.1

          The only bit for which there is no evidence is the phone call by Brownlee and the subsequent call to Sargent.

          The rest is all public record. Bearing in mind the linked article comment by Brownlee to the news about Powershop, what Eddie claims happened sounds quite plausible.

          Unlike a court, politics isn’t based on evidence. It is based on credibility. Ask Winston Peters (that the right used the blogs to draw out the speculation) or Worth (where the speculation went over all blogs) or … many others.

          This sounds credible. Politically Brownlee either has to answer or attempt to ignore. If he cannot answer, then I’d suspect that it is true. If he does answer then the other parties will also wind up answering.

    • Crash Cart 5.2

      For the record if it is true then Brownlee is showing once again that this government is chronic in its lack of regard for living up to the virtues it so strongly preached at the last election. I for one have no intention of voting for them next time round but it puts me off when a blogger I respect would post such detailed and inflammatory accusations without even a link to something that might provide corroboration.

      @brightred

      If this accusation had been bought in this way against anyone on the left the first thing I would expect to see would be your self asking for some evidence, and rightly so.

      • Pascal's bookie 5.2.1

        Not everything a blogger writes about can be linked to.

        If someone tells you something, and you trust them, and they say you can blog about it but not say their name, what’s a blogger to do?

        Like any media outlet they can publish, protect their source, run the risk of libel hearings etc, and the credibility of story will be judged by it’s readers.

        • Crash Cart 5.2.1.1

          But that isn’t like any other media outlet. This isn’t m,early reporting what may have been said. This is being pro ported as fact. With nothing to back that up. In the MSN if this were to happen it would have one word attached to it, SMEAR.

          • lprent 5.2.1.1.1

            Blogs aren’t a media outlet.

            What they do is to provide an outlet for the posters of the writers in a way that is unfettered by anything apart from the legal rules on libel (if someone wants to bring a case), suppression orders where the police are able to enforce them, and whatever the hosting company chooses to do.

            Internally, they operate as a private venue completely up to the whims of the operator of the site. Generally this makes them semi-public with some kind of rules about what other people can put on them.

            • Crash Cart 5.2.1.1.1.1

              This is true but they also set their own standards as to credability.

              The fat fish for instance is really a waste of time to even go and visit because it is full of unsubstantiated bolloks that is just people throwing crap at other people.

              The standard tends to be a place where you find people discussing a wide range of topics in depth with respect for each other. Eddie is often at the forefront of that sort of discussion. I just personally felt that this particular post was more along the lines of what fat boy would throw up.

              As you say it is completely yours and Eddies right to make the accusations. I merely pointed out the they are completely unsubstantiated. Hell you could have even edited me out if you wanted, it is another thing that I like about this place that all views are heard.

              • lprent

                Yep. In this case Eddie appears to have found something interesting in an area that appears to have some prima facie evidence, but where you couldn’t do a OIA (Official Information Act) request, and would require someone to go and ask the people concerned.

                We are part-time bloggers who use psuedonyms to protect ourselves. So we aren’t going to do that. However Eddie seems to think that it is worth pursuing so is putting it up for more public attention. So the blog gets used to put it out so that the media/politicians/public and see it has been made ‘public’. They can do it.

                As you said, the credibility of the poster is everything on particular topics. If Zetetic said it, then it would probably be ignored. If I said it on this topic so would I (and anyway I seldom post on the beltway issues). Eddie is known to be pretty good on beltway issues, and not known for going over the top. I’d expect it will get looked at by the MSM.

                BTW: He is a fat mammal – not a fish. I point this out because I’m uninterested in being regarded as a fish either – see my identicon.

  6. tc 6

    More of the same bullying, intimidating, arrogant behaviour that will go unchallenged by the media who apply the formula’ IF govt…THEN positive/nice copy only’.

    Unsure about Boyd being painted as an innocent party here……if he had bollocks he’d resign as his position is being undermined by the minister abusing his powers so effectively he’s culpable in abusing the due process instead of reminding Gerry of his boundaries.

    In fact I reckon Boyd probably enjoyed the opportunity to play Yes minister……watch those remuneration figures people….betcha wayne gets a few bones thrown at him….good boy now sit and rollover.

    • prism 6.1

      Serving the government in a senior position can be a grubby business it seems. But somebody has to do it. It may not be good for everyone who is put under pressure to resign. Politics appears to advance with a series of compromises but hopefully government does understand the need for limits to these.

  7. The reforms are bizarre.

    Meridian’s “green and clean” image has been shot by Brownlee requiring it to take a Hawkes Bay diesel powered station thereby “contaminating” the source of its power.

    If the idea was to provide geographic diversity I do not understand why a Waikato power station or a Geothermal station could not have been provided instead.

    The decision has caused consternation in the ranks of Meridian’s management.
    According to The Press

    A Government review of the electricity sector is jeopardising the green reputation of one of its biggest money-spinners. Giant state-owned South Island generator and retailer Meridian Energy’s multimillion-dollar carbon-neutral generating status will be threatened if the recommendations of a review requested by Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee are adopted.

    Meridian has written about the review to its shareholding ministers, Finance Minister Bill English and State-owned Enterprises Minister Simon Power, and to Associate Infrastructure Minister Steven Joyce. However, its letter has not been addressed to Brownlee.

    Meridian chief executive Tim Lusk had said it would not consider building gas-fired power stations. “Our mission statement is to be a global reference company in renewable energy. It is pretty hard to see how we would move into gas, because it would not do a lot for our brand.

    Get the feeling Brownlee may have deliberately sabotaged Meridian?

    • mouse 7.1

      I think you have hit the nail on the head Mickeysavage… I for one moved to Meridian as a vote for their renewables focus…

      I think It Irks National that Meridian have sucessfully differentiated themselves as being a renewables only Business…

      Though I think Nationals Stratergy is really very straight forward…i.e. just think of what the best policy response to events should be, then do the opposite.

  8. You guys are making big gerry look like old flatiron himself..

    Interesting to me was the stuff-link title refered to by eddie, in which the word ‘majority’ was purportedly spoken/written by the minister in regard to his intended legislative changes. Taken to mean that only the majority was for whom these changes were necessary..

    Given how a majority can amount to just one person are we left to assume that such a person is the Minister himself..?

    Also Eddie, and in no way mischievous I assure you, a lot of manufactured debate could be very good for ‘bully’ victims and amount to vigorous positive promotion of cost-cutting power retailers. Albeit discriminatory against potential customers outside of an operator’s existing coverage ambitions..

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    Ministers run their portfolio agencies like personal fiefdoms,

    I’ve called National the Party of Petty Dictators before and nothing they’ve done so far has disabused me of that notion. In fact, everything they’ve done is totally characteristic of dictators including the Nanny State smear they levelled at the last Labour led government.

  10. Irascible 10

    The mind set of the NACT MPs has always been closer to those of the stasi state of East Germany than of any democracy. Brownlee is demonstrating, along with his stasi mates – Key, Bennett, Collins,English, McCully, Wong… , the arrogance of the conservative dictatorships the world over.

  11. Zaphod Beeblebrox 11

    He’s making lots of enemies at the moment. The Queens Wharf debacle in Auckland is the other current mess of MED. Read the front page of the Herald and weep Aucklanders.

  12. Welcome, to the Bully State.

    No welcome to SOEland. The government owns the SOEs, examples like these are one reason why they shouldn’t. Depoliticisation of firms is a major reason for privatisation of state owned firms.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 12.1

      Yeah but they are never really free of the influence of the state are they??

      As the above example proves, sort of like monopoly guaranteed profitised socialism for the lucky few.

    • RedLogix 12.2

      No…Ministers keeping to the rules is how you de-politicise SOE’s.

    • burt 12.3

      No Ministers keeping to the rules is how you de-politicise SOE’s.

      Putting aside the ideological issues of big-govt vs small-govt for a moment, RedLogix hits the nail on the head.

      And what is important is that we pull them up when they fail to do exactly that irrespective of which party they are in. Every time we STFU because they are from our team we are condoning what we find offensive from the other team.

    • dcnbwz 12.4

      no the government does not own the S.O.E.s. The government is an elected body supposedly acting on behalf of the will of the people. The citizens of New Zealand are the stakeholders, not any elected body.

      It’s been proven time over and around the western world that all privatisation does is at best maintain status quo with services provided whilst providing massive profits for (usually) overseas corporations. New Zealand’s experience with a number of privatised S.O.E’s is also that little or no maintenance is carried out during this ownership and assets are stripped. Assets that were provided by the previous owners i.e. the nz public.

      If the press actually did what is expected (which I know will never happen) i.e. provide neutral coverage with a decent amount of research we would not even be discussing this. It would be black and white that privatisation is NEVER in the interests of citizens and almost always in the interests of a very rich minority.

  13. The problem is Minister don’t “keep to the rules”. And what are the rules anyway? The government owns the SOEs, so they can direct them to do what they want.

    • burt 13.1

      Indeed, Darnton VS Clark shows us what happens when the rules are inconvenient.

    • Eddie 13.2

      Paul. I expect better than ignorant crap like that from you (not from burt, of course).

      A minister owns an SOE on behalf of the people of New Zealand. The SOE Act and related law establishes limits on how that ownership can be exercised. They do not have the right to reach into an SOE and direct its operational affairs. They are not allowed to run SOEs as their personal fiefdoms

      • Paul Walker 13.2.1

        Actually the Minister does not own anything on behalf of the New Zealand people. Ownership is having (residual) control rights, the New Zealand people do not have such rights. The government has these rights and thus they are the owners, plain and simple.

        • Bright Red 13.2.1.1

          Good God, Paul. Shareholding ministers do not have the right to direct operational matters of a company. They do not have personal ownershp of the companies, the shareholding goes with the office, a minister in the New Zealand Government, governing on behalf of the people of New Zelaand and under New Zealand law, most specifically the SOE Act.

          What the hell is wrong with you, you think you’re some smart-arse economist and you don’t even know how SOEs work?

          Get informed.

  14. Ron 14

    I tried to link to the Wikileaks article from my Facebook and it was blocked. Ought I be getting paranoid?

  15. What does one expect from Right -Wing governments. ? They are “The Nasty Party”completely anti- worker .Their whole purpose in life is to have money and power . History proves it . So i’ts no suprise that the National Party spawns a number of bullies among its members. they even had a Leader called Muldoon who was nothing but a vicious drunk. Remember Brownlee has a conviction for assaulting an old age pensioner. By making him a minister the Nats are showing they have learnt nothing from the Muldoon years .

    • gitmo 15.1

      Is this pseudonym channeling D4J ?

      [lprent: This IP range was on a watch list because of someone with a very similar address getting moderated the other day. I’ve removed the auto-moderate…. ]

  16. Sally Wu 16

    Word on the street is Brownlee’s friend Shipley( who is chair of Genesis) has connections to the factory farmers who would love to get their hands on the water from the Waitaki chain to pump into the factory……..Mr Brownlee is this asset swap really about increasing competition or increasing milk production………. New Zealanders should be worried.

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    Good morning lovely people, and welcome to another weekly review. One which saw the our Prime Minister in Washington, running around with all the decorum of Augustus Gloop with a golden ticket, seeking photo opportunities with anyone willing to shake his hand.Image: G News.He had his technique down to overcome ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • When an independent expert / advisory group is anything but ..
    OPINION: Yesterday, 1News reported that the Government's "independent" advisory group had recommended Kiwirail offload its ferries to another entity.Except this wasn't entirely new news at all, besides that it came formally from Nicola Willis’s advisory team.TVNZ is under significant cost pressure, and earlier this year, after expressing strong discontent with ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    3 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Friday, July 12
    Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on UnsplashTL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 9:00 am on Friday, July 12 are:Scoop: Ministerial group advises KiwiRail no longer run Cook Strait ferries 1News’ Julia RodenNews: ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 12-July-2024
    Kia ora and welcome to another Friday roundup, in which we pull together some of the links and stories that caught our eye this week. Feel free to add more in the comments! The week in Greater Auckland On Monday, Scott delivered a delicious disquisition on donut cities, ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Friday, July 12
    Photo by Dominik Scythe on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, rulings, reports, surveys, statistics and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the day to 6:00 am on Friday, July 11 are:Climate: Transport Minister Simeon Brown said in a release the Government's plan to reverse New ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to July 12
    TL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent talking about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s climate strategy ‘pamphlet’, its watering down of Clean Car Standards and its general lack of coherence;University of Otago Foreign Relations Professor ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Casey Costello strikes again
    Summary: A track record of deception is becoming evident in the Government’s Coalition alliance. Ministers across all parties have been found to either lie without contrite, and/or act unlawfully and unreasonably. The rails are coming off quicker than a marshmallow induced fantasy train ride as the conductors throw caution to ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    4 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #28 2024
    Open access notables Antarctic Bottom Water Warming, Freshening, and Contraction in the Eastern Bellingshausen Basin, Johnson et al., Geophysical Research Letters Cold winds blowing over polynyas (areas of ice-free water) on the Antarctic continental shelf create sea ice, forming very cold and somewhat salty, hence very dense, waters. These dense ...
    4 days ago
  • We're back! Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live
    Photo by Mathias Elle on UnsplashWe’re back after a three-week mid-winter break. I needed a rest, but back into it. We’re still with the ‘new’ day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: National’s gas fantasy
    Yesterday the government released the advice on its proposal to repeal the offshore fossil gas exploration ban, including a Climate Implications of Policy Assessment statement, Cabinet paper, and Regulatory Impact Statement. I spent some time looking at these last night, and the short version is that the government's plan is ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A criminal minister
    RNZ reports that cancer minister Casey Costello has been reprimanded and forced to apologise by the Ombudsman for acting "contrary to law" in her handling of an OIA request: Associate Health Minister Casey Costello has been severely reprimanded by the Chief Ombudsman and forced to apologise for trying to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on Luxon in the NATO pressure cooker
    New Zealand is one of six countries invited as onlookers to this week’s NATO summit in Washington. As such, PM Christopher Luxon will be made aware of the pressure on the 32 NATO member states (a) to increase their Defence spending (b) to become less militarily dependent on the US ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    4 days ago
  • Bernard’s Dawn Chorus for Thursday July 11
    TL;DR: My top six things to note around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so on the morning of July 11 are:Climate: Climate Change Minister Simon Watts issued the National-ACT-NZ First Coalition Government’s climate strategy yesterday, including a three-page document with five bullet ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • By George! Splendid streets take shape down south
    The revitalisation of Auckland city centre, especially around Wynyard Quarter, Te Komititanga, and Queen Street, is top of mind for Greater Auckland readers – but other cities around Aotearoa New Zealandare installing people-friendly streets. This guest post by Jessica de Heij, who grew up in the Netherlands and is an ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    5 days ago
  • Bernard's Pick 'n' Mix for Thursday, July 11
    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 7:30 am on July 11 are:Scoop: NZ First Minister acted 'contrary to law’. Casey Costello has been severely reprimanded by the Chief Ombudsman and forced ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Thursday, July 11
    TL;DR: The top six announcements, rulings, reports, surveys, statistics and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the day to 6:00 am on Thursday, July 11 are:Economy: Te Pūtea Matua The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) announced its Monetary Policy Committee decided to hold the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Farmers’ revenge meets Green resistance
    If there was one issue that united farmers in opposition to the Labour Government, it was the battle of the waterways between farmers and Environment Minister David Parker. Parker won the first round with his 2020 National Policy Standard on Freshwater Management (NPSFM) which imposed tough new standards on waterways ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • Personal Reflections: 10th July
    Please note: This is a personal reflection and does not refer to politics. These entries are not sent to subscribers.Text within this block will maintain its original spacing when publishedHubris and Pride Out of the fire and into the frying pan? Swimming with the big sharks Tonight, I am excited. ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Oh Vienna
    Nothing can warm your heart like the sight of your daughter stepping off a train. Mary-Margaret arrived on Saturday to ride with us to Vienna.You know your way around a bike? the guy at the hire shop asks her. Yep. She’s ridden them on rail trails, Auckland’s mean streets, commutes ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: New Zealand forges deeper ties with NATO
    Christopher Luxon is finding his foreign policy feet. Now eight months into the job, New Zealand’s Prime Minister is in Washington DC this week to attend the NATO summit. It is the third year in a row that Wellington has been invited to the annual gathering of the North Atlantic ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: National’s carbon capture fantasy
    As the climate crisis has grown worse, the tactics of the polluting industries have shifted. From denying climate change, they then moved on to pushing "carbon capture" - dumping their emissions underground rather than in the atmosphere. It's a PR scam, intended to prolong the life of the industry we ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Harsh Truths.
    The Way We Were: An indelible mark was left upon a whole generation of New Zealanders by the Great Depression and World War II; an impression that not only permitted men and women of all classes and races to perceive the need to work together for the common good, but also ...
    5 days ago
  • Explainer: Simeon Brown's CCUS Announcement
    Sources for the data and research:Peter Milne: Time’s up on Gorgon’s five years of carbon storage failureSimon Holmes a Court: "Does best CCS power station in world provide model for Australia?" Chris Vanderstock: "The truth about Carbon Capture and Storage"   "Sunk Costs": documenting CCS's failure to meet every, single, target, ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • The Kiwirail Interislander saga continues
    This morning, 1 News is reporting that the cancellation of the i-Rex ferries has so far cost taxpayers $484 million.That's almost half a billion dollars. That could probably fund thousands of new doctors, maybe complete a few hospital rebuilds, or how about money for our experienced police so they don’t ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Bernard’s Chorus for Wednesday, July 10
    As foreshadowed in legislation passed quietly under urgency just before Christmas, the Transport Minister has personally watered down standards for car imports in a way expected to add millions of tonnes to our climate emissions Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My top six things to note around housing, climate ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Christopher Luxon's business acumen
    It’s April, and the relatively new Prime Minister of New Zealand is on his first overseas mission to South East Asia.Christopher Luxon walks into the room. A warm smile on his face. A hand extended to his counterpart.“We are open for business,” he says confidently. “New Zealand is under new ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Meet New Zealand's Russell Brand?
    Hi,There is an all too common story within the guru community, and we see it play out again and again. The end is nearly always the same — a trail of victims and confusion left in the guru’s wake.As seen in the recent case of Russell Brand, the guru simply ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • Why is the Government flooring it on unsafe speeds?
    Feedback closes midnight Thursday 11 July, on the draft speed-setting rule. See our previous post on the subject for details, and guidance on having your say. Among other things, it proposes to raise speeds in cities back up to a universal 50km/h (with no option of 30km/h), and will restrict safe ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    6 days ago
  • American Boy
    Take me on a trip, I'd like to go some dayTake me to New York, I'd love to see LAI really want to come kick it with youYou'll be my American boy…Love letters straight from the heart. Hmm, I think that’s a different tune, but that’s where we’ll begin. With ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Bernard's Pick 'n' Mix for Wednesday, July 10
    Photo by Jannis Brandt on UnsplashTL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 7:00 am are:Investigation: Benefitting from the misery of others. Over 40% of emergency housing funding went to a concentrated group ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Wednesday, July 10
    Photo by Mr Cup / Fabien Barral on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the day to 6:30 am on Wednesday, July 10 are:Climate: Minister for Transport Simeon Brown announced changes to the Clean Car Importer Standard that ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • How rural families are saving thousands with electric vehicles
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Daisy Simmons (Photo credit: Automotive Rhythms / CC BY-NC 2.0) Some people thought Juliana Dockery and her husband Sean were being impractical when they bought an electric vehicle in 2022. Why? Like one in five Americans, they live in a rural area ...
    6 days ago
  • Love to complete it all
    Photo credit: Rob DickinsonThis is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: What’s left of the Emissions Reduction Plan?
    In 2019, Parliament, in a supposed bipartisan consensus, passed the Zero Carbon Act. The Act established long-term emissions reduction targets, and a cycle of five-yearly budgets and emissions reduction plans to meet them, with monitoring by the independent Climate Change Commission. In theory this was meant to ensure that the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The President They Have Got.
    “This cannot be real life!” Confronted with the choice of recommitting themselves to the myth of Joe Biden, or believing the evidence of their own eyes, those Americans not already committed to Donald Trump will reach out instinctively for the President they wish they had – blind to the President they ...
    6 days ago
  • Has Progressivism Peaked?
    Let’s Go Crazy! AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) rarks-up the voters of New York’s 16th Congressional District.HAVE WE MOVED past peak progressivism? Across the planet, there are signs that the surge of support for left-wing causes and personalities, exemplified by the election of the democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC) to the US House ...
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Dawn Chorus for July 9
    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:Labour may be looking at signing up for an Irish style 33% inheritance tax instead of or as well as a capital gains tax;Sam Stubbs has proposed the Government sell ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Mr Luxon goes to Washington.
    Once fastened servile now your getting sharpMoving oh so swiftly with such disarmI pulled the covers over him shoulda' pulled the alarmTurned to my nemesis a fool no fucking godTuesday morning usually provides something to write about with a regular round of interviews for the Prime Minister across Newshub, TVNZ, ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Kiwirail at Councils Transport & Infrastructure Committee
    Last week at the Council’s Transport and Infrastructure Committee, Kiwirail gave an update about the state of the network and the work they’re doing to get it ready for the opening of the City Rail Link. There were a few aspects that stood out to me so I’ve pulled them ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    7 days ago
  • Bernard's Pick 'n' Mix for Tuesday, July 9
    Photo by City Church Christchurch on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six links elsewhere I’ve spotted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 8:00 am are:Scoop: Waipareira Trust political donations probe referred to Charities Registration Board NZ Herald-$$$’s Matt NippertScoop: Migrant whistleblowers speak out after ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • What’s next after Supreme Court curbs regulatory power: More focus on laws’ wording, less on the...
    This article by Robin Kundis Craig, Professor of Law, University of Kansas is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. Federal Chevron deference is dead. On June 28, 2024, in a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court overturned the 40-year-old legal tenet that when a federal ...
    7 days ago
  • The folly of retreat in the face of defeat
    Note: This is a long readPolitical discourse on social media taught me that bad faith operators and tactics are not only prevalent, they are widespread and effective.Thanks for reading Mountain Tui! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.Their objectives are much narrower than one might imagine.The ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    7 days ago
  • The Parent Zone
    Hi,I am about to wing my way back to New Zealand for the Webworm popup this Saturday in Auckland — can’t wait to see some of you there! In the meantime, I highly recommend the latest pet thread over on the Webworm app. All I’ll say is that readers here ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    7 days ago
  • Tuesday: The Kākā’s Journal of Record for July 9
    Photo by Alex Zaj on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, speeches, news conferences reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the day to 6:00 am on Tuesday, July 9 are:Politics: Full news conference: 'Please resign', Chloe Swarbrick tells Darleen Tana RNZ VideoPaper: Increasing speed ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • Breaking up is so hard to do
    The fundamental weakness of the waka jumping legislation is once again on display, as the Greens seem reluctant to trigger it to remove Darleen Tana from Parliament altogether. Tana has been suspended from the Greens Caucus while it had barrister Rachel Burt investigate allegations that she had been involved in ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    7 days ago

  • NZ, Korea strengthen relationship
    New Zealand and the Republic of Korea continue to strengthen their relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “New Zealand and Korea have a long history – from New Zealand soldiers fighting in the Korean War, through to our strong cooperation today as partners supporting the international rules-based order.    ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 hour ago
  • Investing for future growth in tourism and hospitality
    The Government is moving forward with recommendations from the Tourism Data Leadership Group, beginning with establishing a Tourism Data Partnership Fund says Tourism and Hospitality Minister Matt Doocey. “The Tourism Data Partnership Fund is funded through the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) and will provide up to $400,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Trade Minister to attend G7 meeting in Italy
    Trade Minister Todd McClay will attend the Group of Seven (G7) Trade Ministers meeting in Reggio Calabria, Italy next week. This is the first time New Zealand has been invited to join the event, which will be attended by some of the world’s largest economies and many of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Ministers reveal consequences for unruly Kāinga Ora tenants
    Ministers are pleased to see Kāinga Ora taking a stronger approach to managing unruly, threatening or abusive tenants, Housing Minister Chris Bishop and Associate Housing Minister Tama Potaka say.    “For far too long, a small number of Kāinga Ora tenants have ridden roughshod over their neighbours because, under Kāinga ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up US visit in California
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has finished a successful four-day visit to the United States with meetings in California on his final day focusing on innovation and investment.  “It has been fantastic to be in San Francisco today seeing first-hand the deepening links between New Zealand and California. “New Zealand company, EV Maritime, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Prime Minister leads Indo-Pacific Four at NATO
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon today chaired a meeting of the Indo-Pacific Four (IP4) countries – Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand. The IP4 met in the context of NATO’s Summit in Washington DC hosted by President Biden. “Prosperity is only possible with security,” Mr Luxon says. “We need ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • District Court judges appointed
    Attorney-General Hon Judith Collins today announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges.   The appointees, who will take up their roles in July and August at the Manukau, Rotorua and Invercargill courts, are:   Matthew Nathan Judge Nathan was admitted to bar in New Zealand in 2021, having previously been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Urgent review into Wairoa flood response begins
    Environment Minister, Penny Simmonds today announced the terms of reference for a rapid review into the Wairoa flood response. “The Wairoa community has raised significant concerns about the management of the Wairoa River bar and the impact this had on flooding of properties in the district,” says Ms Simmonds. “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZDF’s Red Sea deployment extended
    New Zealand has extended its contribution to the US-led coalition working to uphold maritime security in the Red Sea, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The decision to extend this deployment is reflective of the continued need to partner and act in line with New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government provides support to tackle tax debt and compliance
    New compliance funding in Budget 2024 will ensure Inland Revenue is better equipped to catch individuals who are evading their tax obligations, Revenue Minister Simon Watts says. “New Zealand’s tax debt had risen to almost $7.4 billion by the end of May, an increase of more than 50 per cent since 2022. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Taking action to reduce road cones
    The Coalition Government is taking action to reduce expenditure on road cones and temporary traffic management (TTM) while maintaining the safety of workers and road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  Rolling out a new risk-based approach to TTM that will reduce the number of road cones on our roads.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Celebrating 100 years of progress
    Te Arawa Lakes Trust centenary celebrations mark a significant milestone for all the important work done for the lakes, the iwi and for the Bay of Plenty region, says Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka. The minister spoke at a commemorative event acknowledging 100 years ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Foreign Minister to travel to Korea and Japan
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to the Republic of Korea and Japan next week.    “New Zealand enjoys warm and enduring relationships with both Korea and Japan. Our relationships with these crucial partners is important for New Zealand’s ongoing prosperity and security,” says Mr Peters.    While in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Huge opportunity for educators and students as charter school applications open
    Associate Education Minister David Seymour says today is another important step towards establishing charter schools, with the application process officially opening.  “There has already been significant interest from groups and individuals interested in opening new charter schools or converting existing state schools to charter schools,” says Mr Seymour. “There is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Decreasing gas reserves data highlights need to reverse oil and gas exploration ban
    MBIE’s annual Petroleum Reserves report detailing a 20 per cent reduction in New Zealand’s natural gas reserves shows the need to reverse the oil and gas exploration ban, Energy Minister Simeon Brown says.“Figures released by MBIE show that there has been a 20 per cent reduction in New Zealand’s natural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Providers of military assistance to Russia targeted in new sanctions
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced further sanctions as part of the Government’s ongoing response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.    “Russia’s continued illegal war of aggression against Ukraine is a direct and shocking assault on the rules-based order. Our latest round of sanctions targets Russians involved in that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • OECD report shows New Zealand is a red tape state
    Minister for Regulation David Seymour says that the OECD Product Market Regulation Indicators (PMRI) released this morning shows why New Zealanders sorely need regulatory reform. “This shocker result should end any and all doubt that the Government must go to war on red tape and regulation,” says Mr Seymour.  “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government unveils five-point climate strategy
    The coalition Government is proud to announce the launch of its Climate Strategy, a comprehensive and ambitious plan aimed at reducing the impacts of climate change and preparing for its future effects, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “The Strategy is built on five core pillars and underscores the Government’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • National Bowel Screening Programme reaches 2 million life-saving screening kits
    The National Bowel Screening Programme has reached a significant milestone, with two million home bowel screening kits distributed across the country, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti announced today.   “This programme, which began in 2017, has detected 2,495 cancers as of June 2024. A third of these were at an early ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Granny flats popular with all ages
    More than 1,300 people have submitted on the recent proposal to make it easier to build granny flats, RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop and Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk say. “The strong response shows how popular the proposal is and how hungry the public is for common sense changes to make ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • $25 million boost for conservation
    Toitū te taiao – our environment endures!  New Zealanders will get to enjoy more of our country’s natural beauty including at Cathedral Cove – Mautohe thanks to a $25 million boost for conservation, Conservation Minister Tama Potaka announced today.  “Te taiao (our environment) is critical for the country’s present and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand increases support for Ukraine
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Foreign Minister Winston Peters have announced a further $16 million of support for Ukraine, as it defends itself against Russia’s illegal invasion. The announcement of further support for Ukraine comes as Prime Minister Luxon attends the NATO Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC. “New Zealand will provide an additional ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Country Kindy to remain open
    Associate Education Minister David Seymour says that Country Kindy in Manawatu will be able to remain open, after being granted a stay from the Ministry of Education for 12 weeks. “When I heard of the decision made last week to shut down Country Kindy I was immediately concerned and asked ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government lifts Indonesian trade cooperation
    New export arrangements signed today by New Zealand and Indonesia will boost two-way trade, Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says. Mr McClay and Dr Sahat Manaor Panggabean, Chairman of the Indonesia Quarantine Authority (IQA), signed an updated cooperation arrangement between New Zealand and Indonesia in Auckland today. “The cooperation arrangement paves the way for New Zealand and Indonesia to boost our $3 billion two-way trade and further ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Carbon capture framework to reduce emissions
    A Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) framework has been released by the Coalition Government for consultation, providing an opportunity for industry to reduce net CO2 emissions from gas use and production, Energy Minister Simeon Brown says. “Our Government is committed to reducing red tape and removing barriers to drive investment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Faster consenting with remote inspections
    The Government is progressing a requirement for building consent authorities to use remote inspections as the default approach so building a home is easier and cheaper, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says. “Building anything in New Zealand is too expensive and takes too long. Building costs have increased by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Revision programme presented to Parliament
    A new revision programme enabling the Government to continue the progressive revision of Acts in New Zealand has been presented to Parliament, Attorney-General Judith Collins announced today. “Revision targets our older and outdated or much-amended Acts to make them more accessible and readable without changing their substance,” Ms Collins says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government aligns Clean Car Importer Standard with Australia to reduce vehicle prices for Kiwis
    The Government will be aligning the Clean Car Importer Standard with Australia in order to provide the vehicle import market with certainty and ease cost of living pressures on Kiwis the next time they need to purchase a vehicle, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“The Government supports the Clean Car Importer ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZQA Board appointments
    Education Minister Erica Stanford has today announced three appointments to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). Kevin Jenkins has been appointed as the new Chair of the NZQA Board while Bill Moran MNZM has been appointed as the Deputy Chair, replacing Pania Gray who remains on the Board as a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • More support for Wairoa clean-up
    A further $3 million of funding to Wairoa will allow Wairoa District Council to get on with cleaning up household waste and sediment left by last week’s flooding, Emergency Management and Recovery Minister Mark Mitchell says.  In Budget 24 the Government provided $10 million to the Hawke’s Bay Region to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Minister thanks outgoing Secretary for Education
    Education Minister Erica Stanford has today thanked the outgoing Secretary for Education. Iona Holsted was appointed in 2016 and has spent eight years in the role after being reappointed in May 2021. Her term comes to an end later this year.  “I acknowledge Iona’s distinguished public service to New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Minister concludes local government review
    Local Government Minister Simeon Brown has concluded the Future for Local Government Review and confirmed that the Coalition Government will not be responding to the review’s recommendations.“The previous government initiated the review because its Three Waters and resource management reforms would have stripped local government of responsibility for water assets ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Consultation begins on new cancer medicines
    Associate Health Minister for Pharmac David Seymour says today’s announcement that Pharmac is opening consultation on new cancer medicines is great news for Kiwi cancer patients and their families. “As a result of the coalition Government’s $604 million funding boost, consultation is able to start today for the first two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 50 years on, Niue and NZ look to the future
    A half-century after pursuing self-government, Niue can count on New Zealand’s steadfast partnership and support, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters says. “New Zealand and Niue share a unique bond, forged over 50 years of free association,” Mr Peters says. “We are looking forward to working together to continue advancing Niue’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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