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Everything Should Be Made As Uncomfortable As Possible, But No Less Comfortable

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, April 24th, 2019 - 26 comments

When providing a voluntary carbon-offset scheme, make it as simple as possible, but not simpler, and tell people about it.

Ross saga quiescent, but donations scandal needs addressing

Written By: - Date published: 4:26 pm, October 25th, 2018 - 21 comments

The Jami-Lee Ross scandal may have quietened down but issues raised by his explosive tape recording of Simon Bridges still need addressing. Does the $100k Zhang Yikun donation suggest we are going down the US track and, if so, what needs to be done about that

The Budget

Written By: - Date published: 2:09 pm, May 17th, 2018 - 168 comments

An evolving post to cover budget announcements.

The Labour lite budget

Written By: - Date published: 8:31 am, May 25th, 2017 - 25 comments

From pre announced budget initiatives it is clear that today’s budget will provide National the opportunity to announce watered down insipid versions of current Labour Party policies.

New Parliament buildings

Written By: - Date published: 8:24 am, November 29th, 2016 - 24 comments

A couple of reactions to the $100m Parliament building plans.

Treachery and silly season political snippets

Written By: - Date published: 7:41 am, December 23rd, 2015 - 61 comments

There’s still a few MPs “on duty”. Their function is to maintain the semblance of active government and to roll out a bunch of announcements they hope will escape full scrutiny.

Wallowing in extravagance

Written By: - Date published: 10:22 am, October 23rd, 2015 - 16 comments

“Wallowing in extravagance” is how Labour described the latest news of extreme spending from Steven Joyce’s MBIE.

Warner Bros – corporate welfare beneficiary

Written By: - Date published: 11:30 am, September 9th, 2015 - 63 comments

Figures have been released showing that Warner Bros were paid NZ $191 million in tax rebates to create the Hobbit Trilogy.  The films were very profitable.  Why is corporate welfare for profitable activity tolerated?

Sky City’s playing us for suckers

Written By: - Date published: 8:14 pm, February 10th, 2015 - 86 comments

Sky City crying too poor to build a bigger casino – give us a break, please!  Casino expert Sudhir Kale estimated the extra pokies gained by Sky  to be worth $35million over figures used by government. That’s for year upon year to 2048. It could cover any casino upgrade in four years. Either Joyce and Key are being played for suckers, or they are playing the rest of us for suckers. The deal stinks.

Polity: News from National Comms!

Written By: - Date published: 2:50 pm, June 13th, 2014 - 40 comments

Rob Salmond at Polity on what has landed in his mail box paid for by your GST and also close to the wrong side the permissible limits of Parliamentary Services funds. Or perhaps this is something for “NZ Taxpayers Union” to moan about wasting taxpayers money with. They won’t of course because they seem to be good little front organisation for Act and Jordan Williams appears to have about as much independence as their beloved slaves. But if you received one, then a complaint seems in order.

Reef piranha

Written By: - Date published: 8:32 pm, December 22nd, 2013 - 42 comments

Today’s Herald editorial gets one thing right – a media pack has turned on Len Brown. But it’s not gutsy journalism – it comes straight out of the Rupert Murdoch playbook. Len’s latest sin is his upgrades – EY says  they total  $32,000 for 64 occasions. That’s $500 an upgrade, which seems  a lot on top of what Len paid. The report does not detail how this total was arrived at, and I cannot find any example of any journalist asking questions about it.

Cameron Slater: So who pays who?

Written By: - Date published: 4:19 pm, December 12th, 2013 - 203 comments

Looks like John Key’s communications boss Jason Ede has been busted supplying material for the most disgusting site in local politics – Whaleoil. It has long been suspected that he supplies material and possibly even writes for that site as part National’s dirty tricks team. Looks like we have some confirmation. So how much is the taxpayer paying for this public servant to blog and does he do it for his job? How much does Cameron Slater “demand” from the taxpayer to provide this service?

Wishing Chris Carter well

Written By: - Date published: 2:30 pm, September 8th, 2011 - 23 comments

Chris Carter’s egocentric valedictory earlier this week didn’t exactly cover him in glory. Whether it should ever have gotten to this point is another matter. It’s interesting to review the evolving views of Standard authors on the issue. Did Carter do this to himself or did mismanagement from the leadership escalate the situation?This guest post takes the second view.

Nat websites publicly-funded

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, June 16th, 2011 - 30 comments

Ianupnorth does ‘the Whale’ and has a dig around the National Party websites. It turns out they are registered and run by Parliamentary staffers. In fact, National and ACT’s MPs’ sites are all publicly-funded, while other parties’ MPs’ are not. Is NACT breaking the rules? No doubt everyone’s least favourite cetacean will be on to it.

Leader repays chopper flights

Written By: - Date published: 8:42 am, June 3rd, 2011 - 13 comments

After intense criticism for using government-owned helicopters for personal trips, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has reimbursed the state for the cost of the flights. I look forward to John Key following Christie’s lead and repaying us for his flights to watch the V8s in Hamilton.

Saying a lot while saying very little

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, May 6th, 2011 - 13 comments

The out of touchness, she burns! In a few short replies, the Nats said so much this week. The stories of perk abuse have been rolling out almost too fast, in fact. Each needs following up, each minister needs to be hounded, but there are so many targets. The galling thing is in a fortnight the Nats will tell us ‘everyone has to tighten their belts’.

A-G sure to launch Wong probe

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, December 10th, 2010 - 11 comments

The Auditor-General seems certain to launch an  investigation into the Wongs’ taxpayer-funded travel as even more  evidence shows the Parliamentary report isn’t worth the paper it’s  written on. A majority of Kiwis want her to resign. Why John Key hasn’t already called on the A-G to investigate, as he did  with Phil Heatley, is beyond me.

Labour and Greens lead on transparency

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, November 3rd, 2010 - 10 comments

Last week Speaker Lockwood Smith rolled back transparency on MPs expenses, by making travel spending secret again.  John Key came out “against” the move.  Yesterday Labour and the Greens called his bluff by releasing their details.  Over to you John, once again you’re too late to lead, but you can still follow…

The reverse midas touch

Written By: - Date published: 12:01 pm, July 4th, 2010 - 7 comments

David Farrar leapt to a “they did it too” defence of the taxpayer-funded ‘survey’ that National MPs are sending to selected voters around the country. I reckon he wrote the questions. It was Farrar’s dodgy polling that convinced National to run Melissa Lee as the candidate in Mt Albert. I guess Lee getting caught out with a dodgy ‘survey’ is just Farrar’s reverse midas touch striking again.

Nats push-polling on your dime?

Written By: - Date published: 1:19 am, July 1st, 2010 - 58 comments

A reader sent us these images of an addressed ‘survey’ he received in the mail from Melissa Lee. It makes interesting reading because it’s not actually an attempt to gather our opinions to inform National’s policies. It’s a cynical attempt to influence our views while pretending to care what we think. And the Nats are using our money to fund it.

Credit card scandals & false economies

Written By: - Date published: 11:02 am, June 23rd, 2010 - 90 comments

It is good to cast light on ministers putting personal spending on the taxpayer but the media is attacking legitimate spending too. As a result, MPs are being prevented from doing their jobs properly for fear of appearing profligate. Is this the desired effect of the chill wind blowing from the media on our representatives’ expenses, that even John Key warned about?

Questions mount on PEDA

Written By: - Date published: 12:10 am, June 16th, 2010 - 45 comments

Details on PEDA are still very thin but it is increasingly looking like public money has been hijacked to help the political prospects of National’s Pacific Islanders. The service delivery aspect of the Pacific Island Affairs Ministry seems set to be turned over to this private organisation. The lack of honest answers from the minister only deepens the suspicion that something very dodgy is afoot.

English, Guy, Groser, McCully, & Smith to follow Jones, Carter & Ririnui?

Written By: - Date published: 11:32 pm, June 13th, 2010 - 142 comments

Phil Goff is back in the country and, as predicted, his first move is going to be to take their portfolios off Shane Jones, Chris Carter, and, probably, Mita Ririnui for their misuse of their credit cards. The attention will now turn to the abuses of those who haven’t been punished for their wasteful and greedy use of public money – Tim Groser, Murray McCully, Nathan Guy, Nick Smith, and Bill English. Updated

Credit card records released

Written By: - Date published: 9:10 am, June 10th, 2010 - 179 comments

The credit card records of the ex-Labour ministers are out. Phil Goff has made it clear that any money claimed outside the rules must be repaid and some wrongful claims were paid back at the time. The test the Auditor-General set after Phil Heatley’s bizarre resignation over $70 worth of wine is whether claims intentionally breach the rules.

Key’s ministers still at the trough

Written By: - Date published: 9:25 am, May 5th, 2010 - 26 comments

You’ll remember how Bill ‘Double Dipton’ English was caught claiming the out of town allowance for living in his family home in Wellington. As a half-arsed solution, out of town ministers are now limited to claiming $37,500 a year for their Wellington accommodation. So, how come eight ministers are still claiming far more than that?

Paying MPs’ court costs

Written By: - Date published: 11:23 am, April 7th, 2010 - 22 comments

I don’t have a problem with MPs being able to get public funding for court cases arising from their professional activities. You wouldn’t expect private sector employees who are taken to court over their actions in their job to be forced to pay their own way. But what a sense of entitlement Gerry Brownlee has.

Heatley: Not a crook, an idiot

Written By: - Date published: 10:58 am, March 31st, 2010 - 26 comments

The Auditor-General has found that Phil Heatley wrongly bought $1,402 worth of private goods and services on his ministerial and MP tabs. That’s OK according to the PM because Heatley didn’t intend to break the rules. Well, I guess that’s OK then. Of course, you have to assume that Heatley is a total idiot in that case.

Legitimate spending vs rorts

Written By: - Date published: 10:33 am, March 5th, 2010 - 32 comments

It’s pretty rare that I agree with John Key but he got it right when he voiced concern that journalists are attacking MPs for legitimately using their budgets to do their jobs. Do we really want to force parties to rely on private funding for communicating their positions? That makes politics a rich man’s game. There are plenty of actual rip-offs and rorts for the media to root out.

Axe the tax

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, March 2nd, 2010 - 60 comments

Labour’s ‘Axe the Tax’ campaign has hit the road. Phil Goff is travelling around New Zealand explaining why Labour opposes National’s plan to hike GST on everyone to pay for tax cuts that will primarily go to the well-off. National are worried. They’re not promoting their package anymore, they’re lashing out at Goff.

High ministerial standards

Written By: - Date published: 6:54 pm, February 27th, 2010 - 13 comments

 No, it’s not one of the Nats or their hangers-on. It’s Shane Jones. Following revelations that National ministers have been essentially stealing taxpayer money by using their ministerial credit cards for prohibited purchases, Jones has recounted an incident from his time as a minister. When Jones was Building Minister in 2008 he hosted a dinner […]

Heatley’s redherring cover for Brownlee

Written By: - Date published: 11:45 am, February 27th, 2010 - 20 comments

Fran O’Sullivan agrees with my theory on the real reason for Phil Heatley’s resignation and the reason why an excuse was invented. The real reason was what amounts to Heatley’s theft of taxpayer money by using his ministerial credit card, and the receipt excuse was invented to protect Gerry Brownlee who had also misused his credit card

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