Dodgy Niue deal back in the headlines

Written By: - Date published: 7:17 am, June 16th, 2016 - 107 comments
Categories: accountability, Ethics, national, spin, uncategorized - Tags: , ,

I hate to repeat myself, but the dodgy Niue deal is back in the headlines again. Bryan Gould in April – Niue contract damaging to Govt reputation

And then, we have the saga of the political donation and the Matavai resort on Niue. The facts can be simply stated. The owner of Scenic Hotels, Earl Hagaman – a well-known and perennial donor to the National party – made a donation of over $100,000 to the National party, and a month later his company was awarded the valuable contract to manage a resort on Niue.

The contract turned out to be even more valuable than had appeared at first sight when $7.5 million of taxpayer-funded aid money was paid to Scenic Hotels to upgrade the resort.

In any other country, and especially in those where such deals are commonplace, no one would be in any doubt as to what had really happened. In New Zealand, however, we are naively inclined to accept the blank-eyed, slack-mouthed assurances that it was all a coincidence and that nothing untoward had happened.

Andrew Little called for the Auditor General to look in to the Nats’ process in awarding the contract, saying the deal “stinks to high heaven”. Yesterday – Hagamans file defamation proceedings against Andrew Little

Labour leader Andrew Little has now been served with defamation proceedings by National Party donors and hoteliers Earl and Lani Hagaman.

On April 18, Labour had called for the Auditor General to look into Scenic Hotels Group’s contract to manage the Matavai resort and questioned the timing of the donation. At the time, Lani Hagaman strongly denied any link between the two.

“If Mr Little had taken the time to get to know us he would have found out that neither Earl nor I come from power or privilege, nor upbringings that cultivated expectation of favours.”

Not sure that the “just plain folks” card is going to work.

Little’s criticism was directed at the Nats processes in awarding the contract, not the Hagamans. He was doing his job as Leader of the Opposition – Andrew Little refusing to apologise over his comments about a Niue resort deal

Little has written to Hagaman’s lawyers saying he has a “constitutional duty to challenge the actions of the Government over the expenditure of public funds”.

I’m pretty sure this vexatious lawsuit will be laughed out of court. It does keep the Nats’ dodgy deal in the headlines though.

107 comments on “Dodgy Niue deal back in the headlines”

  1. save nz 1

    I think this is a great win for the Labour party, courtesy of bully boy tactics by corporate welfare rich listers.

    It is keeping all the dodgy crony deals in the headlines and exposing the bullying actions of rich members of NZ public getting tax payer money in dubious deals (seriously AID is now giving 7.5m to upgrade a private hotel, HELLO).

    Can we please ask for the 7.5million in AID for a luxurious hotel back so we can house some of our own people who are now living in cars and tents?

    I’m happy to donate to the Labour party for this. Dodgy deals are not acceptable and no wonder we are plummeting in the international corruption scales under the National government.

    Someone has to hold them accountable. And court seems to be the only place available now.

    • Ross 1.1

      Or the government could simply send to this resort as many homeless people as it can accommodate. That would be a tremendous gesture of goodwill.

    • Izan 1.2

      You mean someone has to hold Andy accountable for probable false allegations that will be proven false in court, in my opinion. Just what he needs leading into an election year.

      I think this will be another Banskie rerun, except in reverse.

  2. Greg 2

    And you can bet the upgrade work was very well priced, and profitable.
    Hagamans donation was a great investment.
    How much does this scenic hotel make in a year, and why couldnt the taxpayer own a slice of it for 7.5 Million.
    What a great scam.

  3. I do wonder if it’s a vexatious lawsuit to drain Labour of funds… (although Little’s taking the costs on himself at this stage) and also tie up Little’s time.

    • Puckish Rogue 3.1

      It could be but its on Little for saying what he said outside of parliament and then when he had another opportunity to withdraw he didn’t so I’m not sure this isn’t what he wants

      Publicity and all that

      • framu 3.1.1

        ” for saying what he said”

        but where did he actually explicitly defame the hagmans?

    • Jenny Kirk 3.2

      Yes – Ive been wondering also if the Hagamans are going to time this for being near the election campaign – to take up Andrew Little’s campaigning time on this frivolous matter.

      • Puckish Rogue 3.2.1

        Little has only himself to blame for this, he could have said what he said in parliament and nothing would have come of it, he also had ample time to withdraw and apologise for his remarks

        • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2.1.1

          Why would he do that? There’s no case to answer.

          • Puckish Rogue 3.2.1.1.1

            Hes brought this on himself and he has no one else to blame but himself, the rules are in place to protect MPs (ask T. Mallard) from exactly this sort of thing

    • indiana 3.3

      ” (although Little’s taking the costs on himself at this stage) ”

      I doubt the Labour funds will ever be under threat – after Little released his income earnings publicly, there is every expectation that he will cover all legal expenses by himself. After all, its not like he’s buying up property or investing in shares with what he earns.

  4. Puckish Rogue 4

    It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, I’m assuming the Hagamans got some expensive legal advice and are aware of what would happen if they go ahead with this (re: all political donations) so they must be pretty sure of themselves

    Of course the same could also be said of Andrew Little, does he really want Jacinda Arderns father dragged into this and having to justify his part in the decision

    No matter what it’ll be entertaining 🙂

  5. M. Gray 5

    The pnats donors are all doing very well that is why they are the pnats donors

  6. fisiani 6

    Little knew that he had made intemperate remarks and he was given every opportunity to apologise. The fact that he did not want to seem weak means that he will end up in court. The fact that the Hagamans are prepared to take him to court is because their integrity was besmirched. Another blunder by Little.

  7. dukeofurl 7

    The key to it is the ex national MP, ex HC in Niue,ex Wellington mayor, ex shoeshop owner , Mark Blumsky who has stayed on the island ‘ to benefit from tourist opportunities’.

  8. Keith 8

    As the accused surely Little is entitled to all relevant documents his accuers have in relation to their most intimate dealings with National to discover if they do have a working business relationship. Because if they fail to disclose and that is even suspected then the accusers case should fail.

    So apart from all the other frailties of these millionare bully boys case, will they hide things from Little they lawfully shouldn’t to save their skins?

    Bloody good of them though to remind us all of donations and contracts and friends of the National Party.

    • Sabine 8.1

      Well he should be entitled too any relevant information.
      This could indeed get very interesting and entertaining.

      • TC 8.1.1

        Yup either Earls gone rougue or hes on message consuming AL’s resources.

        Either way it keeps the stench wafting in the news cycles.

  9. Guerilla Surgeon 9

    Okay, how do you prove it. Is not as if they’d be stupid enough to say….. “here’s my $110,000, so now I can have the contract right?.”
    Genuine question.

    • Sabine 9.1

      Question: How do you prove that they did not say that?
      Genuine question.

      • Bob 9.1.1

        Andrew Little publicly inferred this happened, now he has to prove it. If he doesn’t have proof then he really should have used parliamentary privilege to cover his arse.
        If he wasn’t smart enough to get proof first, or use the priviledges offered to him as an MP then he really is showing he’s not fit to become PM.

        • Richardrawshark 9.1.1.1

          I think fisi BM Bob, Little’s words that you are on about were “bla bla this deal LOOKS dodgy”.
          I remember the interview very well

          At no time did he come out in public saying it WAS a dirty deal.

          Then Hagaman threatened a law suit if he didn’t retract, well why would he the deal looks dodgy. It’s just a statement of fact.

          You guys are pathetic. hang yourselves, it’ll be easier now than after the election when the NZ public massively vote red green or anything but blue.

          • Bob 9.1.1.1.1

            “You guys are pathetic. hang yourselves”
            There goes the good old “if you don’t agree with me kill yourself” argument, just in case fisiani or BM are going through tough times at the moment, below are some numberrs you can call for support. Remember, Richard just isn’t articulate enough to explain his thoughts, so he is taking his anger out on you:

            Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
            Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
            Healthline – 0800 611 116
            Samaritans – 0800 726 666
            Chinese Lifeline – 0800 888 880 (for people who speak Mandarin or Cantonese)

            “it’ll be easier now than after the election when the NZ public massively vote red green or anything but blue.”
            I may still vote Greens or Labour myself, this may be a bizarre concept to you, but I don’t vote for one party at every election, in fact I have voted for 3 different parties in the last 5 elections (none of which were ACT).

          • dv 9.1.1.1.2

            You guys are pathetic. hang yourselves,

            That is OTT Richard

            • Richardrawshark 9.1.1.1.2.1

              Depends on how YOU imagine it was inferred?

              That’s what I hate about the internet to many clowns who sit around itching to twist your words or meaning into a telling off to gain a smidgeon of power in their otherwise worthless lives. :

              Think about that.

              • McFlock

                So you meant to imply that the tories should do something other than kill themselves?

                Please, expound forth about what your suggestion was for them to do – autoerotic asphyxiation? Impersonating a bat?

                • Richardrawshark

                  Take it in context as a dig, nothing more! perhaps.

                  If your implying I actually would want them to follow my words and kill themselves you must think i’m Yoda or have the powers of the Force, or that I think people are so gullible and i’m so nasty I would actually be someone who wished that?

                  Seems to show how nasty you think other people are more than the people are nasty themselves?

                  Or did I twist things this time?

                  • McFlock

                    I’m outright stating that you’re throwing powerful phrases around lightly.

                    I don’t think you’re necessarily nasty, but that sort of stupid shit really has been connected to suicides. Nobody in those instances genuinely wanted the person to kill themselves, either.

                    What are you, 15 years old and the class bully? That shit is fucked up if you mean it as a gentle tease, and is even more fucked up if you mean it as anything more than a gentle tease. Grow up.

              • James

                Right,

                So you tell someone to go hang themselves, and its their fault and they have worthless lives if they find it disgusting.

                People HAVE, and DO kill themselves after being told they are worthless and that they should hang themselves.

                Just because you dont have the Yoda power to actually make them do it – you can be a trigger, the final straw, or the thought that actually gets them thinking about it and actually doing it.

                Having had someone close to me badly hurt because of people saying things like you have – something you think is OK, and that we are worthless for pulling you up on it just shows what a fucked up view of the world you have.

                As I said before I hope you never feel the pain that comments like yours can bring people. The worry about losing someone if that last person sends them over the edge. The sleepless nights with them trying to bring them down, the pain of having to repair scares both mental and physical.

                So yes – I think your comment is disgusting. And you should be ashamed.

                I’m disappointed that the mods have let it ride without comment (Or they have not seen it).

                And I thank the others who are viewed as having worthless lives by Richardrawshark who had the courage to call him out on it.

            • Stuart Munro 9.1.1.1.2.2

              Yes – they should be able to rely on a justice system with plenty of rope.

          • James 9.1.1.1.3

            So now the caring left (well Richardrawshark) tells people he disagrees with to hang themselves.

            Thats disgusting.

            Here is hoping that suicide doesn’t cause you or your family any of the devastation that you are so happy to recommend to others.

          • Gangnam Style 9.1.1.1.4

            Do be careful with your language Richard, the right wing trolls are ready to highlight any thing like that & start smearing the left with ‘see the left are the nasty ones’, I think they got some kind of filter for it. Take care, I enjoy your passionate comments.

            “There goes the good old “if you don’t agree with me kill yourself” argument” I mean, I have never heard it before so I doubt its the ‘good old’ at all, but see how they will use it against you/us.

        • framu 9.1.1.2

          “Andrew Little publicly inferred this happened, now he has to prove it. ”

          no he doesnt – all he has to prove is that he wasnt talking about the hagmans or it was honest opinion

        • D'Esterre 9.1.1.3

          Bob: “…..publicly inferred this happened….”

          I think the word you’re reaching for there is “implied”.

          • Bob 9.1.1.3.1

            Ah yes, you are correct, as he had no evidence so he couldn’t possibly have inferred. Thank you for the correction.

      • Puckish Rogue 9.1.2

        I suppose the first thing you do is look at the process, who decides who gets the contract and the time frame involved

        I’m assuming there must be minutes and emails to prove or disprove it, I mean I’d have assumed that the decision would have already been made with a month to go or so, so if they had decided to go with company A and then the donation is made and suddenly the decision is changed to company B then that would certainly go along way to proving Little right

        • Richardrawshark 9.1.2.1

          What does he have to prove? the deal looks dodgy.

          your thinking little has to prove the deal was somehow illegal.. good luck blowing that balloon up you idiot.

          I doubt it’ll get past pre deps you silly person, what case does Andrew have to answer, please quote me his exact words that said hagarman and national had actually commited a crime? Or something worthy of defamation?

          If it was that easy to get charged for, Hoskings would be in paremoremo. So would Key and all politicians. Gawd look at the stuff Winston says is dodgy..like wine boxes and people dieing suspiciously..

          • Puckish Rogue 9.1.2.1.1

            The problem is you’re looking at it from your own point of view, try looking at it from Earls point of view, he feels hes been defamed, he asked for a retraction and apology and Little could have ended it but he chose not to

            • framu 9.1.2.1.1.1

              the hagmans point of view is somewhat irrelevant

              what matters is the law – not whether someone feels they were picked on

              • Puckish Rogue

                Yes, Little could have made it gone away for little money but now it has to go to court

                • McFlock

                  Yes, but he stood by his principles rather than his bankbook.

                  Not that you’d understand the difference.

                  • Puckish Rogue

                    Or he could have used parliamentary privilege like what its supposed to be used for

                    • McFlock

                      Or he made a perfectly reasonable statement that should require no special protection and your helpful suggestion is simply a roundabout way of gagging MPs when they’re trying to speak anywhere except in the House.

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      Or he made a perfectly reasonable statement that should require no special protection and your helpful suggestion is simply a roundabout way of gagging MPs when they’re trying to speak anywhere except in the House.

                      Well no he didn’t, he smeared someone with the insinuation that hes crooked so no that’s not reasonable

                      As for gagging I thought the point of parliamentary privilege was that ministers could bring up issues and name names, if need be, without getting sued so far Andrew Little its exactly what its there for, so he can say whatever hare-brained (and it was) thing he likes without getting sued for defamation

                      Don’t blame me, the media, the Hagamans or anyone else for Littles own stupidity in not using the very thing designed to stop him from being sued, that’s on him.

                    • McFlock

                      To a large degree it’s up to the courts to decide which interpretation is appropriate: you argue that he made a defamatory insinuation, I think it’s reasonable to ask that something be investigated to ensure it’s on the up-and-up.

                      Fucksake, my workplace on occasion has to make sure shit’s been signed for properly or procedures followed, and nobody thinks that’s a personal insult. The diligence is the demonstration that things are beyond reproach, not an assumption that everything’s fine until you can prove otherwise.

                      But if the case is a frivolous as it seems to me, then your advice simply is that MPs should make no statements outside the House. No lobby statements, no speeches of any significance, no media interviews, just in case a millionaire takes offence at perfectly reasonable statements.

                    • Richardrawshark

                      PR -“Well no he didn’t, he smeared someone with the insinuation that hes crooked so no that’s not reasonable..”

                      this is where your argument falls over, to defame he would need to name hagaman in person, a deal has no feelings, you cannot defame a deal. and the deal was what he was referring too, if by association National and hagaman are involved well, Lawyers can argue this sort of thing for years.

                • framu

                  you mean he could have apologised for something he didnt actually do

                  ive yet to see anywhere that little said that the hagmans were acting corruptly

                  the hagmans have to prove that little was either a) expressly calling them corrupt (instead of the govt) or b) claiming fact instead of opinion

                  so – can you point to where little made such claims?

                  • Puckish Rogue

                    I took it to mean that the deal and therefore anyone involved were dodgy and I’m pretty sure that’s what Little was suggesting

                    But as you say the courts will decide

                    • framu

                      what were you saying about “thats just your view point”? – 🙂

                      kidding aside however – to many, little was asking if the actions and decisions of the govt and its employees might have been corrupt – and thats all he needs to show (AFAIK).

                      however if little had said the hagmans made the donation with the understanding of a reward – then, yeah, he would be in deep do-do. But i dont think he said such a thing

                      i reckon hagman knows this and his lawyers advised him as such – hes playing for time and damages via legal threat not judicial outcome

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      That’s a legit possibility but I’m thinking its more personal, Earl doesn’t appear to need the money he might win so I’m thinking instead that he took very real offence at what was said and wants an apology

                    • framu

                      edit – i didnt mean money going to hagman – i meant costs of both time and $ to little/labour

                      sure he might have felt offended – but thats some pretty thin skin for someone at the top of the business chain – doesnt stack up to me

            • Richardrawshark 9.1.2.1.1.2

              You can’t take someone to court for hurt feelings PR, and this is all this is. Where is the loss ? What financial loss has hagaman incurred from Littles this looks dodgy comment.

            • Sans Cle 9.1.2.1.1.3

              You are on first name basis with the Hagmans P.R.?

  10. Eric Bloodaxe 10

    Welfare fraud – nothing but bludgers off the public teat. Glad that the Hagerman’s have taken this action as it supports the Labour/Green axis highlighting “business as usual” from the Nats. Can’t wait to see what happens.

  11. Ralf Crown 11

    New Zealand – one of the worlds most corrupt societies, and like bowlers, the feudal lords do whatever it takes to hide it.

    • indiana 11.1

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_Perceptions_Index

      NZ is ranked 4th least corrupt….not sure how you formed your opinion

      • Repateet 11.1.1

        They obviously don’t count the casual corruption from Government. Things like dishonesty and bullying are well down the list compared to money bags of millions changing hands.

        Our corruption might be of the nice clean type. Doesn’t make it moral, doesn’t make it right.

        Key and co. do what they can get away with. People like Little are not supposed to ask questions and we are not supposed to be suspicious.

      • Stuart Munro 11.1.2

        Not an objective measure by any means – perceptions on an interested group – basically speculation.

      • Ralf Crown 11.1.3

        Ranked – by whom. I am able to observe myself and make my own judgments, based on personal and others experience. Also Nazi Germany war highly ranked once. Corrupt means a collaboration to break the system. Who controls the information flow, and who prevents the “wrong” information to be known

      • Ralf Crown 11.1.4

        To learn what corruption can do on the figures, take a look at North Korea. New Zealand is listed as one of the least corrupt nations, and 98% of the population support and vote for Kim YongUn. Do you spot the similarity? Another one, New Zealand is calling itself “pure – clean and green” while in hard crude UN figures is the third worst pollution nation in the world, per capita.

  12. reason 12

    Hagamans been throwing big money at right wing politicians for a long time and has used his donations to Labor when they were a right wing vehicle to pretend to be a neutral donor …………..

    Most of what National is doing is either borderline or outright fraudulent, sky city, saudi sheep deals, tax havens etc etc …………. I’m sure this deal is straight up and New Zealand companys are actually who our foreign aid money is meant to be spent on….. our own Halagamanburton

    Also of note is Niue is a recognized tax haven …….. so there s probably a strong National party connection ………. http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/money/8515361/Money-trail-leads-home-to-New-Zealand

    ““In the case of the island of Niue, the firm essentially ran a tax haven from start to finish.”

    He noted Key had been “curiously quiet about his country’s role in enabling the financial fraud Mecca that is the Cook Islands”.

    Panama Papers whistleblower cites Pacific isles, NZ, for good reasons

    I wonder if hagamans is running cover for the huge amount of bullshit keys been spouting in response to Littles heat on our sub-prime..minister …….

    “Andrew Little: Did he send John Shewan and Don Brash to the Bahamas in 2014 to advise that Government on tax matters?” …later on same debate :

    “Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I cannot confirm whether the Bahamas is a tax haven or not—I simply do not know. ” ……….. Hagaman better hope he’s got more credible witnesses than dishonest john.

    http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/business/qoa/51HansQ_20160413_00000002/2-tax-system%E2%80%94overseas-trusts

    Hagaman the bag man 😉

    • Sabine 12.1

      yes, this will be interesting and entertaining.

    • Johan 12.2

      “Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I cannot confirm whether the Bahamas is a tax haven or not—I simply do not know. ” ……….. Hagaman better hope he’s got more credible witnesses than dishonest john.
      When John Key worked for Merrill Lynch a large amount of money was funnelled out of the USA into Ireland. If I am not mistakes these funds found there way to the Bahamas, as another tax avoidance caper.

    • Instauration 12.3

      A probable US Caselaw example
      The presumptive worth of Earl ? – back then;

      http://www.leagle.com/decision/In%20CACO%2020090616012/IN%20RE%20MARRIAGE%20OF%20FAIRBANK

      Those Trusts are just not worth much ! – to me.

      Could be sad for the “three ‘minor’ children” ?
      – and Barbara

  13. Joe-90 13

    I’m not a lawyer and like others, would welcome one to step in here, but I do deal with lawyers daily in my work and get involved in litigation on occasion. No defamation so far, but plenty of situations involving discovery. I just want to clarify that in my experience, courts don’t allow the massive fishing expeditions some responses have assumed/hope for. It’s possible, but more likely discovery could be limited to material around this deal, so fishing to explore the wider relationship the Hagman’s have had with the National Party through time, any patterns with other deals etc, might not happen. I’m not saying this because I think Little’s chances of prevailing are low or I’ve got it in for him, this is just a trying to shed a bit of light on one of the points people are interested in.

    • Ian 13.1

      I’m not a lawyer either and can’t understand why Andrew Little did not apologize and every one could have moved on. He has opened himself up for a very expensive,vote losing experience ,and the only winners will be his political opponents.

      • KJT 13.1.1

        So it was just coincidence someone gets a lucrative contract after donating to National. Most other countries have a word for that sort of thing.

        • Ian 13.1.1.1

          Whatever. Little now has to defend a defamation case . Let him put his money where his mouth is.

      • Graeme 13.1.2

        So you’d let the bullies prevail?

      • Draco T Bastard 13.1.3

        Why should Andrew Little apologize for doing his job properly?

    • Instauration 13.2

      Relevant discovery Will be suppLemented by abUndant revelation.

    • lprent 13.3

      They do limit fishing. However in this case, I suspect that the limits would include political donations. After all that allegation has to be at the heart of the Hagaman’s complaint.

  14. fisiani 14

    Why do you call it dodgy? What evidence of malfeasance do you have?

    • McFlock 14.1

      See, now it’s obvious you’re just googling big words.

      “Dodgy” is a grey area – might be illegal, might be legit, but you can’t tell, that’s why it’s dodgy. You’re unsure of it, as in “those brakes seem a bit dodgy”, or “a guy in a bar tried to sell me a really cheap 60inch TV, he said it was from a batch of factory seconds but it looked dodgy”.

      If there were actual evidence of “malfeasance”, it wouldn’t be “dodgy”: it would be outright illegal. Just to be absolutely clear, I am not aware of any evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever, and am not making that claim. I don’t even think Little made that claim. But the timing of the donation and the decision make the entire situation look dodgy as, so further investigation might be wise. Like how youmight be wise to look more closely at the provenance of the TV if you wanted to avoid a receiving charge (or not, if you were an ethical vacuum).

    • infused 14.2

      none. these guys don’t have a clue.

      little will settle this before it goes to court.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 14.3

      In answer to the first question: “If it looks like a duck…”
      Political donations and corruption.

    • Stuart Munro 14.4

      Well the Gnats are involved – it will be utterly saturated with corruption – no straight players on that team.

  15. Bob 15

    http://www.leagle.com/decision/In%20CACO%2020090616012/IN%20RE%20MARRIAGE%20OF%20FAIRBANK

    Seems someone owes or owed the irs $14.7 million. Puts a different light on why someone would find new Zealand an attractive place to move too.

    • Daveosaurus 15.1

      … Holy shit that’s the smoking gun right there. Hagaman is toast.

      I’m surprised that John Key’s 50c army isn’t desperately trying to downplay this. Fizzy must be asleep at the keyboard this weekend…

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  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    2 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    3 days ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    4 days ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    4 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    5 days ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    5 days ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    5 days ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    7 days ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    7 days ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    7 days ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Step Too Far.
    A Crown Asset? For reasons relating to its own political convenience, the Crown pretends to believe that “No one owns the water.” To say otherwise would re-vivify the promises contained in the Treaty of Waitangi – most particularly those pertaining to the power of the chiefs and their proprietary rights ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where Money Comes From
    Most people would say, no doubt, that they have a pretty good idea of what money is. They live with the reality of money every day. It is what is needed to buy the necessities of life and to maintain a decent standard of living. You get money, they would ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Banned by the Green Party leadership: Jill Abigail on women’s rights and trans rights
    The article below was an opinion piece that appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Te Awa (the NZ Green Party’s newsletter) and on the Greens website.  In keeping with their policy of hostility to women defending women’s right to female-only spaces, Green bureaucrats have since removed the opinion piece.  ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The fallacy of the proximity argument.
    Longer term readers may remember my complaining that, as a political scientist, it is burdensome to have non-political scientists wanting to engage me about politics. No layperson would think to approach an astrophysicist and lecture him/her on the finer details of quarks and black holes, but everybody with an opinion ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Where We Stood: Chris Trotter Replies To Stevan Eldred-Grigg.
    Joining The Fight: Stevan Eldred-Grigg's argument for New Zealand staying out of the Second World War fails not only on the hard-headed grounds of preserving the country’s strategic and economic interests; and not just on the soft-hearted grounds of duty and loyalty to the nation that had given New Zealand ...
    2 weeks ago

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