Open mike 21/06/2015

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, June 21st, 2015 - 74 comments
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74 comments on “Open mike 21/06/2015 ”

  1. Paul 1

    Paul Little explains how totally awful Nick Smith is as housing minister.

    An excerpt from this excellent article .

    ‘In the context of the deaths of Soesa Tovo, 37, and Emma-Lita Bourne, 2, from housing-related causes, his remark that “people dying in winter of pneumonia and other illnesses is not new” took some by surprise. But for this Government, callousness on that level is not new either.’
    ‘It’s true people die in houses all the time but it used to be from old age and other natural causes, not because they were poor and had to endure shoddy conditions that any minister should be ashamed to know exist on his or her watch.’

  2. Marvellous Bearded Git 2

    Here is a major problem with the Auckland housing market:

    “The average size of new houses has increased 50 per cent since 1989.”

    House sizes should be decreasing rather than increasing. The quote is from Bernard Hickey’s article today in the Herald. Hickey suggests that:

    “[Council].. should also lift height limits and review minimum apartment sizes once the Building Code for air quality, lighting and acoustics is updated.”

    Smaller houses in denser developments is the answer to Auckland’s housing woes, not greenfield sprawl as advocated by this government.


    • Paul 2.1

      And from the same article.

      ‘Over-crowded, expensive, cold, damp and mouldy housing is estimated to be responsible for the hospital admissions of more than 1300 people with infectious diseases each year. This entrenched poverty is costing the Government at least $2 billion a year in rent subsidies and countless billions a year in health and other costs.’

    • Save NZ 2.2

      Yep quite an irony that the council threatened court action about a temporary dwelling/shed in the North Shore to house a family member which is a great way to house more people in an existing situation in an affordable way, but all to happy to use ratepayers money to fight in environment court for the right to remove basic standards of Height to boundary rules for neighbours to make sure expensive McMansions are created.

      Sounds great in a sound byte, make houses more intensive (supposedly to solve the housing crisis). In reality doing the opposite, it is making more large houses of 5 bedrooms and 4 bathroom McMansions which take away their poorer neighbours views, light and amenity, while at the same time removing the former house on site generally that 3 bedroom 1 bathroom family home.

      Families are already having to move our of inner suburbs of Auckland because the once 1 million dollar houses are now being redesigned into 2.5 million dollars houses. They actually don’t have much outdoor space for kids, rather 3 living areas, media room, master suites the size of a 2 bedroom apartment.

      Welcome to Auckland Councils Resource Consent Officers view of Auckland’s future, where the rich live in 300m2 gated McMansions and the poor in 30m2 shoeboxes!

      Sounds good to have smaller apartments right, but wait look at the blocks created in the 1990’s, shoe boxes that leaked and again cost the ratepayers a lot of money, while the developers make a killing. Is it really going to solve the housing crisis to have apartments 30m2 than 35m2? I don’t think so.

      It is a race to make Auckland as ugly and unliveable as possible as a speculator delight, rather than plan for quality housing and temporary reliefs.

  3. Morrissey 3

    The Persecution of Julian Assange
    by JOHN PILGER, Counterpunch, November 17, 2014

    The siege of Knightsbridge is a farce. For two years, an exaggerated, costly police presence around the Ecuadorean embassy in London has served no purpose other than to flaunt the power of the state. Their quarry is an Australian charged with no crime, a refugee from gross injustice whose only security is the room given him by a brave South American country. His true crime is to have initiated a wave of truth-telling in an era of lies, cynicism and war.

    The persecution of Julian Assange must end. Even the British government clearly believes it must end. On 28 October, the deputy foreign minister, Hugo Swire, told Parliament he would “actively welcome” the Swedish prosecutor in London and “we would do absolutely everything to facilitate that”. The tone was impatient.

    The Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny, has refused to come to London to question Assange about allegations of sexual misconduct in Stockholm in 2010 – even though Swedish law allows for it and the procedure is routine for Sweden and the UK. The documentary evidence of a threat to Assange’s life and freedom from the United States – should he leave the embassy – is overwhelming. On May 14 this year, US court files revealed that a “multi subject investigation” against Assange was “active and ongoing”.

    Ny has never properly explained why she will not come to London, just as the Swedish authorities have never explained why they refuse to give Assange a guarantee that they will not extradite him on to the US under a secret arrangement agreed between Stockholm and Washington. In December 2010, the Independent revealed that the two governments had discussed his onward extradition to the US before the European Arrest Warrant was issued.

    Perhaps an explanation is that, contrary to its reputation as a liberal bastion, Sweden has drawn so close to Washington that it has allowed secret CIA “renditions” – including the illegal deportation of refugees. The rendition and subsequent torture of two Egyptian political refugees in 2001 was condemned by the UN Committee against Torture, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch; the complicity and duplicity of the Swedish state are documented in successful civil litigation and WikiLeaks cables. In the summer of 2010, Assange had been in Sweden to talk about WikiLeaks revelations of the war in Afghanistan – in which Sweden had forces under US command.

    The Americans are pursuing Assange because WikiLeaks exposed their epic crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq: the wholesale killing of tens of thousands of civilians, which they covered up; and their contempt for sovereignty and international law, as demonstrated vividly in their leaked diplomatic cables.

    For his part in disclosing how US soldiers murdered Afghan and Iraqi civilians, the heroic soldier Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning received a sentence of 35 years, having been held for more than a thousand days in conditions which, according to the UN Special Rapporteur, amounted to torture.

    Few doubt that should the US get their hands on Assange, a similar fate awaits him. Threats of capture and assassination became the currency of the political extremes in the US following Vice-President Joe Biden’s preposterous slur that Assange was a “cyber-terrorist”. Anyone doubting the kind of US ruthlessness he can expect should remember the forcing down of the Bolivian president’s plane last year – wrongly believed to be carrying Edward Snowden.

    According to documents released by Snowden, Assange is on a “Manhunt target list”. Washington’s bid to get him, say Australian diplomatic cables, is “unprecedented in scale and nature”. In Alexandria, Virginia, a secret grand jury has spent four years attempting to contrive a crime for which Assange can be prosecuted. This is not easy. The First Amendment to the US Constitution protects publishers, journalists and whistleblowers. As a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama lauded whistleblowers as “part of a healthy democracy [and they] must be protected from reprisal”. Under President Obama, more whistleblowers have been prosecuted than under all other US presidents combined. Even before the verdict was announced in the trial of Chelsea Manning, Obama had pronounced the whisletblower guilty.

    “Documents released by WikiLeaks since Assange moved to England,” wrote Al Burke, editor of the online Nordic News Network, an authority on the multiple twists and dangers facing Assange, “clearly indicate that Sweden has consistently submitted to pressure from the United States in matters relating to civil rights. There is every reason for concern that if Assange were to be taken into custody by Swedish authorities, he could be turned over to the United States without due consideration of his legal rights.”

    There are signs that the Swedish public and legal community do not support prosecutor’s Marianne Ny’s intransigence. Once implacably hostile to Assange, the Swedish press has published headlines such as: “Go to London, for God’s sake.”

    Why won’t she? More to the point, why won’t she allow the Swedish court access to hundreds of SMS messages that the police extracted from the phone of one of the two women involved in the misconduct allegations? Why won’t she hand them over to Assange’s Swedish lawyers? She says she is not legally required to do so until a formal charge is laid and she has questioned him. Then, why doesn’t she question him?

    This week, the Swedish Court of Appeal will decide whether to order Ny to hand over the SMS messages; or the matter will go to the Supreme Court and the European Court of Justice. In high farce, Assange’s Swedish lawyers have been allowed only to “review” the SMS messages, which they had to memorise.

    One of the women’s messages makes clear that she did not want any charges brought against Assange, “but the police were keen on getting a hold on him”. She was “shocked” when they arrested him because she only “wanted him to take [an HIV] test”. She “did not want to accuse JA of anything” and “it was the police who made up the charges”. (In a witness statement, she is quoted as saying that she had been “railroaded by police and others around her”.)

    Neither woman claimed she had been raped. Indeed, both have denied they were raped and one of them has since tweeted, “I have not been raped.” That they were manipulated by police and their wishes ignored is evident – whatever their lawyers might say now. Certainly, they are victims of a saga worthy of Kafka.

    For Assange, his only trial has been trial by media. On 20 August 2010, the Swedish police opened a “rape investigation” and immediately — and unlawfully — told the Stockholm tabloids that there was a warrant for Assange’s arrest for the “rape of two women”. This was the news that went round the world.

    In Washington, a smiling US Defence Secretary Robert Gates told reporters that the arrest “sounds like good news to me”. Twitter accounts associated with the Pentagon described Assange as a “rapist” and a “fugitive”.

    Less than 24 hours later, the Stockholm Chief Prosecutor, Eva Finne, took over the investigation. She wasted no time in cancelling the arrest warrant, saying, “I don’t believe there is any reason to suspect that he has committed rape.” Four days later, she dismissed the rape investigation altogether, saying, “There is no suspicion of any crime whatsoever.” The file was closed.

    Enter Claes Borgstrom, a high profile politician in the Social Democratic Party then standing as a candidate in Sweden’s imminent general election. Within days of the chief prosecutor’s dismissal of the case, Borgstrom, a lawyer, announced to the media that he was representing the two women and had sought a different prosecutor in the city of Gothenberg. This was Marianne Ny, whom Borgstrom knew well. She, too, was involved with the Social Democrats.

    On 30 August, Assange attended a police station in Stockholm voluntarily and answered all the questions put to him. He understood that was the end of the matter. Two days later, Ny announced she was re-opening the case. Borgstrom was asked by a Swedish reporter why the case was proceeding when it had already been dismissed, citing one of the women as saying she had not been raped. He replied, “Ah, but she is not a lawyer.” Assange’s Australian barrister, James Catlin, responded, “This is a laughing stock … it’s as if they make it up as they go along.” …..


    [Morrissey, a short summary of why you think this old article is important and a link would have been better than a lengthy cut and paste. TRP]

    • James 4.1

      Is Garner any good?

      Why not watch for yourself and come up with your own opinion.

      Too often blogs “hate” different news people simply because they believe bias. (Both left and right).

      Personally if you want to be informed – watch a broad spectrum and make up your own mind.

      • Marvellous Bearded Git 4.1.1

        That assumes we haven’t already realised he is a RWNJ.

      • b waghorn 4.1.2

        I will make my own mind up I just felt it was a story standard readers might be interested in and thought I better put something with it. Although other points of view are handy.

      • McFlock 4.1.3

        wasn’t he in the “shearer gone within two weeks, I’ve seen the letter” camp?

        Bit far off the mark for all the flecks of froth at the mouth.

    • ianmac 4.2

      Garner was frothing as he attacked Winston 2008 when Winston was being “got” by National. He really kicked him hard while he was down, figuratively of course. Campbell was accused of being leftish but Garner is fiercly biased anti-leftish.

  4. philj 5

    Garner is ok. Not a Campbell. Just consider the bosses that he is working for that dealt to JC. Anyone that Gavin Ellis touts is suspect. We must have better media commentators in this country? Suggestions please, or have they all disappeared?

  5. Tracey 7

    People who want to stand on the moral high ground really shouldn’t suffer from vertigo…


  6. Draco T Bastard 8

    Ross Ashcroft: economics and Europe

    Interview by Kim Hill on RNZ

  7. I just ran across this video of John Pilger. The video is called War by other means and explains how the rich Nations enslaved the poor ones and how this ongoing looting is killing millions and destroying our planet. But it is also very enlightening to understand how no the peripheral weaker countries in the EU and globally (New Zealand being one of those global peripheral weaker countries) are being bullied into the same eternal serfdom. It will make you understand why John Key is borrowing huge amounts of money whereas Labour was able to pay of most of our debt and how come we are being looted the way we are!

  8. mickysavage 11

    Groan just catching up with Q&A. Nash was invited on and Pagani is on the panel. Labour does have other voices …

    • Skinny 11.1

      Nash actually spoke very well being interviewed and would have appealed to too a lot of Kiwi’s. By far more impressive speaker than the likes of Goff-Off, Shearer and Cosgrove. Maybe use him a bit more fresh face, new idea’s etc.

    • Skinny 11.2

      Nash actually spoke very well being interviewed and would have appealed to too a lot of Kiwi’s. By far more impressive speaker than the likes of Goff-Off, Shearer and Cosgrove. Maybe use him a bit more fresh face, new idea’s etc.

      • Save NZ 11.2.1

        The problem can be when how something is said, is more important than the content of the speech itself. Yep those voices are part of the ‘split’ personality of Labour causing the ‘split’ vote of their former Labour voters….

        • Skinny

          I have come to the opinion as long as John Key is the leader of National they will always be the Government. Imagine if he decides to stick around for another 20 years, nah that is just not worth thinking about.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            Labour isn’t up to presenting a serious alternative vision of NZ. So National will keep winning.

            • Skinny

              Moving on some of their MP’s and blooding new talent should be a priority. At this stage I only know of Phil Goff who is off to contest the Auckland mayoralty. It’s becoming too late for 2017, let’s be real the Tories could run and win the election campaign on lambasting them for having the same tired
              line up.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Labour is well on the way to wasting the first full year of this new electoral cycle with navel gazing.

                • Yeah, and if they didn’t consult the members after the third consecutive loss, you’d say Labour don’t listen or some other destructive tosh. Just passive aggressive trolling and self serving wankery.

                  CV, you’re a Labour Party member. You are the party, just as every other member is. All you’re doing here by running down the LP is performing political self flagellation. It’s boring and disrespectful to the members of the party who are working to make a difference.

                  If you don’t like the NZLP, quit. You won’t be missed.

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    Actually TRP, I’m recruiting more people into the party. Enjoy.

                    Yeah, and if they didn’t consult the members after the third consecutive loss, you’d say Labour don’t listen or some other destructive tosh.

                    Yes, i think a few members were consulted. Maybe 10%-20% of them.

                    • It was available to all members. The actual beating heart of your complaint is that nobody supported your ideas. That’s it. I don’t care that you claim to recruit, the actual damage you do here outweighs that in my opinion. You offer nothing positive. If you can’t move on and respect the efforts of others, then at least stop trolling.

                      As everyone’s mum used to say, apparently, ‘if you can’t say something nice, say nothing’. Trying saying something nice, CV, it won’t hurt ya.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Thanks for the establishment view mate.

            • Clemgeopin

              All policies are under review after the election defeat. The process is in motion now. After that the policies will be discussed, voted in and endorsed by the party membership. It is therefore unreasonable, completely unfair and premature misrepresentation to say that ‘Labour isn’t up to presenting a serious alternative vision of NZ’.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                This painting by the numbers process that Labour is following, the equivalent of British Redcoats firing volleys by ordered ranks, is utterly inadequate post 19th Century.

                It is therefore unreasonable, completely unfair and premature misrepresentation to say that ‘Labour isn’t up to presenting a serious alternative vision of NZ’.

                You appear to believe that revised policy detail is fundamental and critical to Labour being able to present a serious alternative vision of NZ’s future.

                Bullshit. No wonder Labour keeps missing the mark wider and wider.

                National has the advantage for 2017.

                • Clemgeopin

                  No, you are wrong.

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    the very fundamentals of NZ need to be engineered, enhanced and prepared for the coming resource, energy, financial and climate crunch.

                    NZ Labour of today isn’t up to it, and until it is, it will never hold power for more than one term – if that.

                    • Clemgeopin

                      Sure, Rawsputin. Since you know so much, why don’t you stand as a candidate yourself? or even start a party and try to convince people to give their votes to your party, which is harder of course.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      not wasting my time or money on any of that.

                    • greywarshark

                      You obviously feel that overall Labour isn’t making credible noises on future policy CR. And halfway through this year there should have been some serious policy matters being discussed. Housing is important but I guess it is just catching up with the years of neglect but not looking at the new problems of climate which is affecting us now.

                      And reconstruction will have to be included in the Budgets from now on. Each year there will be more damage from storms etc. And presumably they won’t be remedied all in one year so we will accumulate more repair projects to add to Christchurch.That could solve our employment problems for young people, so we have a skilled competent force of practical people.
                      Perhaps nature’s destruction will have a positive effect.)

            • te reo putake

              That’s typical Thorndon Bubble FPP thinking, CV!

    • Paul 11.3

      Q and A just a part of the neo-liberal media and they invite the neo-liberal voices in the Labour Party to speak so people only hear the neo-liberal mantra.

      Haven’t you heard?
      There is no alternative……..
      There is no alternative……..
      There is no alternative……..
      There is no alternative……..

    • Sacha 11.4

      Problem is current affairs producers stacking panels and unethical attention-seekers like Farrar and Pagani accepting invitations when they have conflicted interests.

    • Alpha z 11.5

      q & a stupid to invite Tau Henare to panel. dumb, useless. waste of space talkin head.

  9. Penny Bright 12

    The ball is up in the air here, in my view, for any political party that genuinely supports transparency in the spending of public money, to pick up and run with?

    If THIS one piece of legislation, in my considered opinion, was implemented and enforced in a thorough and proper way, across local and central government, and the judiciary – then ‘transparency’ would be transformed in New Zealand.

    The name of this pivotal piece of legislation?

    The Public Records Act 2005.

    Because full and accurate records of the spending of public monies at local and central government are NOT being properly ‘created and maintained’ – citizens and ratepayers and taxpayers don’t know exactly where public monies are going.

    Billion$ of dollars of public monies – where EXACTLY are they going?

    How can the public ‘follow the dollar’ – if we don’t know where it’s going?

    How many billion$ of public rates and taxes are going to private sector consultants and contractors – without any ‘cost-benefit’ analyses which PROVE that is a more ‘cost-effective’ spending of public money than ‘in house’ service provision?

    How is this not ‘corporate welfare’ – on STEROIDS?

    Less corporate welfare – more public money for ‘social welfare’?

    Shouldn’t the public majority benefit from our public monies at local and central government level?

    Not private sector consultants and contractors?

    How is a double-layer of private sector ‘CONTRACTOCRACY’ – where private ‘for profit’ consultants ‘project manage’ works contractors -possibly more ‘cost-effective’ than a single layer of not-for-profit, ‘BUREAUCRACY’ – operated under the public service model?

    How many private sector consultant$ helped to push the Rogernomic$ myth and mantra – ‘public is bad – private is good’ ?

    Didn’t they do well!?

    Pity about the majority of NZ ratepayers and taxpayers?

    Penny Bright

  10. The Chairman 13

    Good report on Radio NZ this morning.

    New Zealand is leading the world with ground breaking research that uses government-held data to try and stop child abuse before it happens.

    But an Insight investigation has found this form of profiling is also raising questions.

    • Charles 13.1

      More experimental (in a negative way) than ground-breaking (in a postive way).

      Reading down the list of predictors/indicators, it would be the height of malicious dumb for our encumbent government to use this system before addressing the things that cause the predictors/indicators. Those indicators are well know, have been for a very long time, but until recently National have denied they existed, do their best to worsen them, and still now only reluctantly talk about it.

      You can’t have a National minister saying it’s ok for poorer people to die during the winter in competely avoidable housing situations – avoidable if there was a government keen to address the core issues – and then say that a high stress/condoned mortality environment is bad for their kids and it’s all the fault of people who live in an environment that is out of their direct control.

      No one can justify the kind of puntive attitudes driven by National and friends against the poor, or ex-cons, or maori in general, or the mentally ill/struggling, or the unemployed, or the disabled, or transgender, or anyone else doing it hard – in fact, refering to that list, anyone with a past that doesn’t include white male middle-class privilege. Social prejudice shits on such people everyday, and now we have some ivory-tower wealthy dim-bulbs denying the pressures of society exist when it comes to finding out where those pressures are, and who drives them and why, but who also say they do exist when it comes to blaming the victim.

      If the government exacerbates the kind of environment that is precurser to increased chance of child abuse, and it does, then they are enablers of child abuse themselves. So probably on that list of predictors they should add: National Party or right wing policy majority in government.

      “Now wait just one moment Charles, I’m a National Party supporter, did you just call me a child abuser?”

      “No I was just saying that since I am the intergalatic spokesperson for the Left throughout the known universe that you should go tell your mates that I said the Left doesn’t care about fighting child abuse.”

      “Oh great, yeah, that’s what I was looking for.”

      “I aim to please, even though I have a cold and my temper is really short at such times.”

      “I am lucky to have escaped so easily then?”

      “Pretty much.”

      • Hateatea 13.1.1

        As an experienced care giver I have some real concerns about this approach to identifying ‘at risk’ children in our community.

        I would definitely favour an approach that ensured that all first time parents, parents in families under stress (financial, health, housing, addiction) and more than one child under two / three were guaranteed non-punitive, positive support. Access to locally based quality childcare, well health initiatives, employment and public transport would be a benefit to many in the ‘at risk’ categories.

        I am a believer in proactive rather than reactive supports but the identifiers above are almost stereotypes.

        In my experience, the white, middle class, closet alcoholic has done as much harm to the child(ren) in their care as the young, less well educated, brown woman in a supportive family environment does with her much loved and welcomed child(ren).

    • McFlock 13.2

      I have massive reservations about this.

      It ends up tarring everyone in the group with the same brush, and of course the touchy-feely bit of “it would be completely up to the family to decide if they want to get involved and take that extra help” would last right up until the first injured child, then it’ll be “take the ‘help’ or lose the benefit”. And the extra stress of being tagged “at risk” could end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy, even for families where no abuse would otherwise have occurred.

      Secondly, “computer says abuse” will always overrule the social worker’s judgement, either because of laziness, over-reliance on tech, or simply that if the social worker overrules the computer and then turns out to be wrong they’ll be the scapegoat.

      Thirdly, I don’t trust the benevolence of MSD, especially under the fucking nats.

      But mainly, you can’t make individual predictions from macro data – most lung cancers are caused by smoking, but most smokers don’t get lung cancer, and you can’t say that a specific smoker’s lung cancer was caused by their smoking as opposed to other environmental effects.

      • Ergo Robertina 13.2.1

        I agree with you, but the researchers claim the model’s predictive strength is similar to that of breast screening. So the conventional medical view (and they’ll ignore the evidence re breast screening over-treatment) is that in a utilitarian sense it’s effective enough.

        • Colonial Rawshark


          • McFlock

            Valuable input, that. All social policy can be fully expressed in a short hollywood reference. 🙄

            • Colonial Rawshark

              Everything you need to know in 145 minutes

            • Descendant Of Sssmith

              Lets take just one of those indicators:

              Benefit address changes in the last year
              1=no address changes
              2=1 or 2 address changes
              3=3 or more address changes

              National Party solution – throw the families to the whims and wiles of the private sector who will take more of their money in rent than the state ever did, who when they can’t pay their high rents will now have large debts and poor credit history, who will have less access to support cause they are moving all the time, who will incur additional costs for moving, school uniforms etc, who will never really get to know their neighbors, who will then find it harder to get a decent rental and who will eventually end up in a grotty caravan park, sleeping in a car or homeless.

              Old solution – state housing at a low cost for life

              Labour solution – sell em homes at a cheap $300,000.

        • McFlock


          I worry that there’s a serious culture difference between the medical and statsnz side of this, versus the social policy side who seem gung ho about matching data without reference to basic validity or even confidentiality,

          • Ergo Robertina

            For one thing appropriating the numbers needed to treat (I don’t think it’s usually used in social policy) measure from medical research likely takes no account of the self-fulfilling prophecy problem you mentioned.

      • The Chairman 13.2.2

        I largely share your reservations.

        Furthermore, once implemented and generally accepted, it will only be a matter of time before algorithmic profiling is expanded to other forms of crime.

        Big data scours public records to predict crime

        • McFlock

          What they didn’t really get into was that even if the policing decisions are based on “unbiased” algorithms, sending a police officer increases the chances of a crime being reported and an arrest made (even if it’s just a public order arrest to stop the argument). That goes into the data for the next time, leading the computer system itself to become biased based on minute differences in the initial response choices when the system started.

          It’ll be about as effective as that other great system that revolves around predicting human responses: economic forecasting. Now imagaine that instead of a 5-point drop, the result of a bad forecast is an armed officer in significant fear of their life before they even assess the situation.

          • The Chairman

            The magnitude of concern is large.

            As the initial Radio NZ report highlighted, the poor are more inclined to engage with state agencies, thus will have far more data gathered and stored on them, which in itself creates a bias.

            Compounding this concern is the privatization thus profiteering bias of social and correctional services, coupled with court rulings also moving more towards the balance of probabilities, opposed to the automatic assumption of innocence.

  11. Penny Bright 14

    For the public record, as an ‘anti-corruption / pro-transparency Public Watchdog’, in my opinion, Mayor Len Brown should have provided the trust deed for the New Auckland Council Trust, so that the public could scrutinise who were his main financial backers.
    (Sunday Star Times 21 June 2015 Bevan Hurley)

    Police investigation into $750K of secret donors stymied

    Last updated 05:00 21/06/2015

    A police investigation into $750,000 of anonymous donations to Auckland mayor Len Brown’s election campaign has found no evidence of wrongdoing, but were refused access to key documents.

    The 16-month probe found no evidence Brown’s team had broken any laws, but they were unable to review a copy of the trust deed for the New Auckland Council Trust, meaning Brown’s secret backers will remain anonymous.

    Enquiry head Detective Inspector Chris Cahill did not wish to comment further.

    But in an open letter to the complainant, obtained by the Sunday Star-Times, Cahill expressed his frustrations.

    “The parties concerned have at this stage elected not to provide us with a copy of any Trust Deed which may have clarified some of the issues… That is their legal right and police must accept this and as such we are not in a position to advance the questions you raise around the New Auckland Council Trust,” Cahill said.

    Despite the fact police were unable to identify the trustees or any other people associated with it, the investigation shone a light into the secretive world of election finance campaigns.

    It said Brown provided information to police which said he would step away as soon as supporters indicated they would be willing to donate to his campaign warchest.

    “To that extent I have no idea as to whether the person followed up the inquiry with a specific offer of financial support,” the mayor told police.

    Police also interviewed Brown’s former senior political advisor Conor Roberts, who said the mayor was asked to leave the room when any discussions about donations about the trust were occurring.

    Roberts said a lawyer for the trust gave a ‘legal assurance’ to the police about its existence, which he said showed they had cooperated.

    The investigation was launched after police received a complaint from private investigator Grace Haden about a possible breach of the filing of electoral returns.

    This came after changes were made to tighten the law around donations to mayoral campaigns, so rules for the 2010 election were different from those of 2013.

    In the letter, Cahill said it was clear Brown’s campaign team took legal advice and acted to ensure that the donations were outside the intended law change, which meant that they could use anonymous donations for the 2013 electoral campaign.

    “The reality is the law change was too late to have a significant effect on the 2013 election but would be in force in time to ensure compliance with it for future electoral campaigns.”

    Grace Haden who lodged the police complaint and stood unsuccessfully for a council ward in the last local elections, said the process lacked transparency.

    “We need to know who had benefits from Len Brown being in office. Who gave the money? They’ve played the law right down to its finest line.”

    The investigation had dragged on in part due to the court action against former Auckland city mayor John Banks, who was cleared of any wrongdoing over accepting legal donations.

    Cahill said they did not find anything “that has led us to believe that Mr Brown had knowledge of donations that were declared as anonymous when in fact he knew who the donor was”.

    “Without such information there was no legal standing for us to seek either the details of the anonymous donors or banking transactions that may identify these persons.”

    A spokesman for the mayor said he had been advised that the police inquiry has been concluded, that there was no evidence to support the accusations and that no further action is being taken. “He has nothing further to add,” said the spokesman.

    Penny Bright

  12. weka 15

    ‘What they really need is not equal treatment, but different treatment to achieve equality”.

  13. Draco T Bastard 16

    Douglas Carswell: Time To Rein in the Banks’ ability to create credit

    The Chancellor is reportedly hoping to reassure the banking sector and “draw a line” under increasing regulation and taxation. An aide to George Osborne told the FT last week that “There is a sense that this is a settlement” on banking regulation and added “We are in a stable position.”

    With the UK economy seeing record levels of personal debt and an overheating housing market, many Positive Money supporters will be troubled by the idea of a ‘settlement’ on the structure of our banking system.

    Crash the entire global economy, get let off the damage that they did and then get protected by the governments from the regulation that they obviously need.

    This reining in of the banks needs to happen ASAP else they will continue to be the people who are the real spongers.

  14. dv 17

    I just heard Tolley citing National Standards as a “model” for the social bond measurements.

    Or I think I did.


  15. Lucy 19

    Serco will always get the jobs in a “market” economy it is the wine and dine policies that ensure that they get the jobs. All those firms found out years ago that under conservative governments the way to the major job wins is via very small perks to the senior staff. Private Eye has been springing Serco for years – their record gets worse and worse but they get every contract going! And if there is ever a fraud the only ones paying the price are lowly minions. Make’s you wonder how the contracts keep rolling in!

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