NRT: A dirty deal

Written By: - Date published: 6:33 pm, February 27th, 2014 - 46 comments
Categories: law - Tags: , , ,

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This original of this post is here at No Right Turn

When the government dropped charges against former Pike River boss Peter Whittall over the Pike River mine explosion, they claimed that the simultaneous announcement that he would pay compensation to the families of the 29 men he was accused of killing was just a coincidence, and that there was no deal. As usual, they lied:

Twelve health and safety charges laid against Whittall were dropped in Christchurch District Court on December 12. It was also announced at that hearing there would be a $3.41 million payment to the families of the 29 men who died in the mine and the two survivors.

At the time, Judge Jane Farish stressed to media there had been no back-room deal. One of Whittall’s lawyers, Stacey Shortall, also said any suggestion the payment offer from the Pike River Coal Company and its directors and officers was in return for the charges being dropped was ‘‘absolutely wrong’’.

But in an October 16 letter, Whittall’s lawyer Stuart Grieve QC lays out a proposal to make available $3.41m to the Pike River families.

The letter, released exclusively to Fairfax Media, says that in ‘‘advance of the $3.41 million being made available, it is proposed [with precise terms to be agreed] that … the Ministry will not proceed with the charges laid against Mr Whittall by advising the Court that no evidence will be offered in support of any of the charges.’’

So, they cut a deal with a rich prick to allow him to buy his way out of jail, then lied to the public about it (and in the process, turned a High Court Judge into a liar as well – wonder how she feels about that?) This isn’t justice. But its clear that National thinks that the law only applies to peasants, not to them and their rich mates.

46 comments on “NRT: A dirty deal ”

  1. mickysavage 1

    If it smells like a deal and quacks like a deal …

    No matter how this is presented it has the taint that following an offer of a payment of compensation a charge was withdrawn.

    BTW Judge Farrish is a District Court Judge.

    • rhinocrates 1.1

      I think that we need to start making a blacklist of officials who are potentially corrupt or incompetent.

      Starting:

      Mike Bush, nominated as new police commissioner: praises corrupt cop who planted evidence.

      Jane Farrish: apparently willing to be bought out of prosecution

      Peter Marshall, Police Commissioner: blind to rape gang and rape culture in the police, tries to intimidate complainants.

      Greg Sparrow, Police something in Dunedin: allowed the murder of two children due to blindness of domestic abuse despite being warned well in advance.

      Name and shame them.

  2. Clemgeopin 2

    How the heck could the government allow such a shameful unfair secret arrangement be put in place without taking the families into confidence and seeking their views or approval first? Surely, it can’t be that the government wasn’t aware of this deal?

    This matter is so serious that the government needs to be censured, charged and it should resign immediately.

  3. felix 3

    Finally got around to reading Rebecca Macfie’s Pike River book recently.

    Can’t believe that bastard’s not in jail.

    • greywarbler 3.1

      Rebecca was interviewed on Radionz this morning.
      Tragedy at Pike River Mine – How and why 29 men died – book

      • felix 3.1.1

        Hmmm, nothing on the website. Which programme was it?

        • greywarbler 3.1.1.1

          felix
          Can’t give easy tab don’t know how – but go to News – National – Top Stories – MP claims dirty deal done on Pike charges – click on that presents summary and down the bottom is a live line to MacFie’s comments. (I see she was on Checkpoint 7 mins approx)

    • amirite 3.2

      +1 Her book should be a compulsory reading for all parliamentarians.

    • greywarbler 3.3

      Pike River mine explosion November 19, 2010. Pike’s mine manager White had Australian mining experience. His response to the explosion news was to tell Rockhouse to keep low and he would get out all right. When Rockhouse finally walked out of the mine with Smith, there was no-one waiting at the entrance.

      This was at 5.26 pm, 1 hour 42 minutes after the explosion, of which he thought he’d been unconscious for 50 minutes. If 10 minutes was added to that for orientation before Rockhouse phoned and spoke to Doug White, then there was about 42 minutes for Rockhouse to walk about 2 kms supporting Russell Smith, with limited air as the air supply gear was inadequate or decommissioned. Rockhouse had to phone, and help then was sent promptly.

      People won’t come back to testify. Now that is a point. NZ has had 29 people killed in a work accident and those involved don’t have a summons issued that if not complied with means they have committed a jailable offence and cannot return to NZ.

      Players – Doug White refused to be interviewed, involved from 2010-2011. Tony Radford business driver with 31% shareholding company and director involved from about 1990 then with coy 2006-2012, Ray Meyer director 2000-2010, Arun Jagatramka director for Gujarat NRE, India 2007-2011 and Stephen Rawson director 2000-2006. Also Dipak Agarwalla.for Asurashtra Fuels 2005-2011. Gordon Ward did not respond to requests for information, accountant with pretensions. Involved from 1998-2010.

  4. RedBaronCV 4

    Did Fairfax get the letter under an OIA request or some other way?
    If so why are they running this story? Who is to be embarassed here?

    BTW I find it creepy that someone can buy their way out of crimnal charges. Justice for sale in NZ along with everything else.

    • mickysavage 4.1

      Radio NZ seems to have a copy of the letter and also Andrew Little. There may have been a mass release.

      • karol 4.1.2

        Andrew Little’s press release says he got the letter from an OIA.

        Labour has obtained under the Official Information Act a letter from Peter Whittall’s lawyer Stuart Grieve QC which has been sanitised for public release.

        “The public will be deeply concerned to learn that such a deal was offered last October, nearly two months before the former Department of Labour, now WorkSafe, went to court.

        “There has been speculation about a backroom deal ever since the charges against Peter Whittall were dropped. Now this letter confirms those fears.

        “What hasn’t been explained is why the charges against Peter Whittall were discharged, not withdrawn, meaning he can never face any charge associated with the Pike River deaths.

        “My hunch is the original letter contains a lot more and sets out the real deal. We need to know what that was.

        • Kahukowhai 4.1.2.1

          The important point is Little’s comments that the charges were discharged rather than withdrawn. All of the media reports have been pointing out this means that he cannot be charged again in the future.

          If that turns out to be correct then heads should roll in the government.

        • Clemgeopin 4.1.2.2

          [1] Can’t the verdict of discharge be challenged and appealed in a higher court?
          [2] Can’t the parliament reopen the case?
          [3] Is it a good idea for a nation wide protest day and march to be organised by the families, the opposition and concerned citizens?
          [4] If all else fails, Can’t the present opposition give an assurance of revisiting this case in parliament and in the courts when they get back into power?
          [5] Is there any other remedy/redress possible?

          • PapaMike 4.1.2.2.1

            Clemgeopin

            Your comments are very pertinent, but would be helped if the families had not accepted the money.

            • Clemgeopin 4.1.2.2.1.1

              Were the families taken into confidence about the secret deals and conditions of accepting the money? Were they aware that the CEO and the company would be given a free pass about their culpability? Were the families mislead, hoodwinked or blackmailed with offers of money instead of fair justice?

              I think these are important questions that haven’t been answered yet, as far as I know.

              • PapaMike

                I believe it was in the Media arena in November immediately following the High Court decision.
                Seems may have ben overlooked until now though.

          • Kahukowhai 4.1.2.2.2

            I am puzzled as to the lack of comment on this in the wider media or blogosphere. It would appear the government, having swept aside its own massive failures to ensure public safety through the Mines inspectorate, has decided that giving Whittall a get out of jail free card is the way to go. Let us sweep the whole thing under the carpet with the greatest possible speed.

            Any comment from the families, this one seems to have gone under the radar.

  5. Skinny 5

    To think John Key stood side by side with Whittall on stage at the very public memorial service for the lost miners. I could not believe gullible idiots like John Key and the shrill media, mainly at TV3 News were hailing the Corporate murderer as a hero and worthy of New Zealander of the year.

    • tc 5.1

      Key is not gullible and TV3 does as told. More spin for the masses, alot knew exactly why and who could be held accountable,as RL says had to put a stop to that.

    • greywarbler 5.2

      From the book Tragedy at Pike River Mine, I listed the other ‘players’ in Pike River Coal in an earlier comment on this thread. And their time of involvement with it. While Peter Whittall has been involved long-term, there are others who have been driving the whole project from their chairs, and who knew about the problems likely to be faced. It seems to me that Whittall is a fall guy and the shadowy figures from the boardroom are also of interest when assessing responsibility.

      This is the brief bio from the book. Peter Whittall Pike River Coal’s first employee, hired in 2005 as General Manager, Mines. Whittall oversaw design and development of the mine as a start-up operation.
      Also filled the role of Statutory Mine Manager from September 2009 until December 2009.
      He became Chief Executive of Pike River Coal Ltd in October 2010. He finished working for the company (in receivership) in November 2011. (fr Tragedy at Pike River Mine Rebecca Macfie).

      On the actual size of the coal field Macfie writes: “the seam lay 13 metres thick in places, ran six and a half kilometres from north to south, and was up to two kilometres wide.
      This was no ordinary coal. It was ‘beautiful’ – a bright, lustrous coking coal with properties that would be sought after by international steelmakers, who rely on coke as a source of fuel for their blast furnaces, and of carbon to bond with iron to produce steel.
      Pike’s low ash and high fluidity made it a unique and potentially highly valuable resource…’ p.23

      Of importance in understanding the situation is the 1993 findings of Masaoki Nishioka, a respected and experienced engineer with Japanese giant Mitsui Mining. He was approached and was interested and proposed drilling seven bore-holes to reveal the coalfiield geology.

      ‘Nishioka concluded the coal had valuable characteristics’ but he recommended non-involvement to the Mitsui board. He advised that its location and geography would cause access to be ‘difficult and expensive’.

      There were other factors that concerned him too. The coal extracted from the boreholes contained so much methane that the gas had bubbled out of the samples. One highly experienced man commented that it was the gassiest coal he’d seen in 40 or 45 year of mining. Any underground mining operation at Pike would have to very carefully manage the methane, a gas which is explosive within the range of 5 percent and 15 percent of air and poses one of the greatest risks in underground coal mining.

      Another deterrent was that the upper layer of the seam was high in sulphur, which would make it useless as a coking coal for the steel industry. Nishioka calculated that Pike would produce only about five or six million tonnes of saleable coking coal – not enough to justify the significant investment that would be required to develop the mine.
      fr Macfie: Tragedy at Pike River Mine

      So with that knowledge, the men who pursued the planning, financing and commissioning of the mine and also the positive representation to the shareholders and to the employees, must have a major responsibility for the later disaster. This is because they knew of the extreme gassiness and explosive potential, and with that careful oversight of this problem should have been a top item of interest, with a budget provided for metering levels and gear required for safeguards.

      From reading about the unfolding story of the mine’s development in Macfie’s book it is clear that the mine was not prepared adequately. Appropriate gas measuring was not installed and then maintained and monitored. Safety measures needed to be instituted from the start and maintained at a high level. This was not done. The men were under pressure to perform and getting even the needed big machinery was blocked, proper safety equipment was not on the approved action list.

      • amirite 5.2.1

        The conclusion that one comes to from reading the book: this mine should never have been allowed to open, let alone operate in the way it was designed and built. There was no escape route for the miners from there. Even the fittest among the miners would not have sustained the climb up the 100 m high ventilation shaft that was supposed to be used as an emergency exit.

        Whittall’s involvement in the whole company management was donkey deep. He was considered a sort of control freak by many of his colleagues and employees. The primary motivator for him and the management was to start the mine and start making (unrealistic) profits from it, no matter what. First, the brand new, untested, cheap mining machines imported from Australia, were breaking down a lot. Second, many workers weren’t adequately trained and briefed on h & s issues. People complained, nothing was done. Much later, proper second hand machines were bought .

        Many times Whittall was notified about health and safety issues in the mine, about several incidents of high methane levels and methane leaks (even one incident of igniting of methane just prior to the fatal first explosion) in the working part of the mine.

        There is such a big, detailed account in this book of all that was wrong with the mine since the very beginning to the tragic end. I just can’t understand how NONE of the charges against Whittall (and the others) could not stick.

      • Kahukowhai 5.2.2

        And in spite of these concerns it was marketed and developed as a high quality reserve of, if I recall correctly, some twenty million tonnes? And they were going to have a mining output of a million tonnes a year which many thought was overly optimistic. So I would have thought some of the shareholders would have had a case for the promoters being prosecuted for making fraudulent statements about the mine and its potential.

  6. RedLogix 6

    The reason why no-one was prosecuted is because a Court case would have opened the proverbial worm can.

    There was never a lack of someone to prosecute. It was that there were too many people to prosecute – right to the very top.

    Had to put a stop to it.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      +1

    • Kahukowhai 6.2

      Legally under HSIE Whittall was the only PERSON that could be held liable.

      The COMPANY was separately prosecuted and fined. However the fine has not been paid as the company is insolvent and the parent company NZ Oil & Gas refused to pay out.

      • RedLogix 6.2.1

        Oh yes I realise all that.

        The point is that Whittall’s only plausible defense was along the lines of “I was only following orders, and besides everything I did was legal”.

        At that point it would become clear that Whittall was being thrown to the dogs for the sins of his masters.

        There is of course a difference between LEGAL and ETHICAL. (Or MORAL even.) However legal something is, if it offends the values of Joe Public it would have become an embarrassment.

        In election year.

        • Kahukowhai 6.2.1.1

          An honourable person such as Whittall could have chosen to be, would have pled guilty at the earliest opportunity, because he was so involved with the mine as its first employee and the most senior member with mining experience (the previous CEO and the directors had no knowledge of underground mining) then his knowledge of what was needed to establish a safe mine should have ensured the mine was built from the ground up and operated safely. Instead he compounded his earlier errors by taking on the CEO’s job two months before the disaster.

          So he presumably accepted the advice of his lawyers that a plausible defence would have been to try to shift the blame onto the other managers and the directors, and whilst there was indeed a case that could be made that these other parties were also responsible it doesn’t entirely remove blame from his own shoulders.

  7. Philj 7

    Xox
    Another sad day for justice and fairness in New Zealand. There is the smell of rotting fish in Government and the Corporatocracy that runs this, The most Southern State of the US of Aotearoa.

  8. adam 8

    Silly question – but why are you shocked? Do you think the ruling classes give a shit about us? It really is a case of BFW http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPMwFgJ6WDU&feature=kp come on folks, we the people are there to be protected from.

    So one section of the ruling elite protected another section of the ruling elite – nothing new. Same shit, different time in history.

  9. This is utterly contemptible. Compensation should have been given but not in a trade for no prosecution.

    Who was the lawyer’s letter addressed to? It seems to be directed at MBIE, the mega-ministry (that folded in the old Department of Labour).

    Who is the minister?

    Mr Fixit.

    Indeed.

  10. Kahukowhai 10

    And you claim that Whittall is a “rich prick” and how do you back up that claim? He did not actually pay the money himself, it came from insurance.

  11. Kevin McCready 11

    6D of the letter. I will tell the Crown (ie Ministers) what to say! Amazing John Key thought he would get away with it.

  12. Murray Olsen 12

    Heads should roll over this one. Someone should end up behind bars. If they don’t, we have to ask serious questions about our democracy and the rule of law. The bastards are so arrogant they think they can take all the peaceful options away from us, and kill us at will.

    • RedLogix 12.1

      Yes – the word you are looking for is hubris.

      It’s a word that weaves together their arrogance, their assumed, unquestioned entitlement to privilege, their unconcealed snobbery.

      Of course they’d never imagine themselves as murderers. They think themselves fine upstanding people who adhere mightily to the last jot and title of the law.

      And yes when they take away all our peaceable options interesting things do happen. In that vein I’d recommend this recent essay:

      In point of fact, as Walter Laqueur showed in his capable survey Weimar: A Cultural History, denouncing the Weimar Republic as a fascist regime was quite the lively industry in Germany in the very late 1920s and early 1930s. Unfortunately for those who made this claim, history has a wicked sense of humor. A good many of the people who liked to insist that Weimar Germany was a fascist state got to find out—in many cases, at the cost of their lives—that there really is a difference between a troubled, dysfunctional, and failing representative democracy and a totalitarian state, and that a movement that promises to overturn a broken status quo, and succeeds in doing so, is perfectly capable of making things much, much worse.

      http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/fascism-and-future-part-one-up-from.html
      http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/fascism-and-future-part-two.html
      http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/fascism-and-future-part-three-weimar.html

  13. amirite 13

    The MSM, the social media and the public are strangely silent about this.
    If it was a Labour government that signed this dirty deal off, the public would be baying for blood.

    • Kahukowhai 13.1

      The government created a diversion in Christchurch with Brownlee savaging the new mayor and council, although in saying that I am surprised the families spokesperson seems not to have grasped the significance of the acquittal, given that they had pressed Graham McCready to withhold pressing his own charges against Whittall in order to leave themselves future options.

  14. RedBaronCV 14

    Give it time, not sure that this is going to just pass unnoticed.

  15. Tracey 15

    Jane Farrish: apparently willing to be bought out of prosecution…

    perhaps she was taking the paeties at their word. it would be unusual for a judge to be privy to settlement.

    are criminal settlements not confidential?

    • Murray Olsen 15.1

      I got the impression that it was all done without the judge’s knowledge. In fact, a bit like the case the police presented to a court with the Red Devils in Nelson. I think NAct have spent so long slagging off “lenient” judges that they have come to hold them in contempt, and see nothing wrong with using them as unwitting rubber stamps.

  16. Clemgeopin 16

    TODAY’S NEWS : LAWYER AND GOVERNMENT, BOTH DENY INITIATING THE DEAL!

    Pike River Mine boss Peter Whittall’s lawyers and the Government both deny initiating the cash deal.

    Whittall’s lawyer, Stuart Grieve, QC, laid out a proposal to make $3.41 million available to the Pike River families in a letter dated October 16.

    Grieve said in “advance of the $3.41 million being made available, it is proposed [with precise terms to be agreed] that … the ministry will not proceed with the charges laid against Mr Whittall by advising the court that no evidence will be offered in support of any of the charges”.

    Prime Minister John Key said on Thursday that the offer was unsolicited.

    Key said the Government played no part in the decision to drop the charges.

    “My understanding is the judge made it quite clear the reasons she actually supported the actions that were taken were because it was very unlikely a prosecution would be successful,” he said.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/9779078/Denial-of-Pike-deal-initiation

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  • Dems need to ask the right question about Biden as his age now defines the campaign
    Midway through the news conference that many American political commentators had built up as critical to Joe Biden’s re-election chances, the US president said European leaders are not asking him not to run for a second term, “they’re saying you gotta win”.The problem for Biden and his advisors is that ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    3 days ago
  • Govt flounders while ocean temps soar
    TL;DR : Here’s the top six items of climate news for Aotearoa-NZ this week, as selected by Bernard Hickey and The Kākā’s climate correspondent Cathrine Dyer, most of which they discussin the video above. According to experts, the rate of ocean surface warming around New Zealand is “outstripping the global ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • Learning From Brexit
    Whether Britain leaving the European Union was right or wrong, good or bad is for the Brits to decide. But there are lessons about international trade to be learned from Brexit, especially as it is very unusual for an economy to break so completely from its major training partner.In Econ101 ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    3 days ago
  • Bernard’s Chorus for Friday, July 12
    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 Friday, July 12 are: Read more ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Hot Damn! It's The Soggy Bottom Boys!
    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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    7 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
    7 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
    1 week 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
    7 hours 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
    17 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
    2 days 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
    2 days 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
    3 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
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