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Sheepgate: Government celebrates finding that McCully is not corrupt

Written By: - Date published: 6:01 pm, November 2nd, 2016 - 58 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, david parker, national, national/act government, Politics, same old national - Tags: , ,

McCully sheep in wolfs clothing

The report is out.  The Government will try and spin it to be a vindication of Mr McCully but if this is a vindication then we are in big trouble.  Because the report highlights a number of problems in the handling of the Saudi Sheep deal.

Murray McCully has got over the first hurdle in that his actions have been determined by the Auditor General to not be corrupt.  But there has to be the prospect of a Privileges inquiry into what he said to Parliament.

From Question time on May 27, 2015 (yes that long ago):

The Hansard for the exchange includes this text:

Hon MURRAY McCULLY: As I indicated in my primary answer, the agreement that was struck between officials and the Al Khalaf group included all of the intellectual property associated with shifting the Awassi sheep breeding operation from New Zealand to a new location in Saudi Arabia. Also in the minds of officials would have been the fact that the Al Khalaf group had taken legal advice and could mount a legal claim against the Government for an amount estimated to be up to $30 million. It is a bit rich for members of the former Government, who exposed New Zealand to the risk of a $30 million claim, to berate members of this Government for resolving the issue for one-third of that amount.

Hon David Parker: Given that his Government renewed the customs export prohibition order on animals for slaughter in 2010, and that it is perfectly legal for New Zealand to have a policy banning live sheep exports, how can he justify paying millions of dollars to settle a hollow legal threat?

Hon MURRAY McCULLY: I agree that the customs export prohibition order was renewed by the current Government. What was different was that we did not mislead the Saudi investors about the consequences of the roll over of that order. We fronted up and told them the truth, when the previous Government had actively misled them over many years and exposed the New Zealand taxpayer to a claim of up to $30 million.

Hon David Parker: Was the real reason the first $4 million was paid to pay off people whose influence in Saudi Arabia was getting in the way of the Gulf free-trade agreement?

Hon MURRAY McCULLY: I made it clear that one of the consequences, sadly, from this whole saga was that the relationship between New Zealand and Saudi Arabia was poisoned, and that poisoned relationship spilled over into the wider Gulf Cooperation Council. But I have also made it clear that the officials negotiating this matter had to consider the fact that there was a looming claim for up to $30 million, resulting from the actions of a Government of which the Hon Mr Parker was a member.

James Shaw: What legal advice did the Government receive as to the likely success of the potential claim by Mr Al Khalaf?

Hon MURRAY McCULLY: As I have made clear, the Government did not wish to proceed down that path, and it entered into talks with the parties to try to avoid such an outcome. I am satisfied that we would never have done so had we not been advised that the claim had some prospect of success. The member may wish to look at the Cabinet paper and see that there is a redaction there, which is a reference that would have been disadvantageous to the interests of the New Zealand taxpayers.

Get that?  McCully claimed that there was some sort of advice given that the Saudi claim had some prospect of success.  And it was all Labour’s fault.

The Auditor General has reached a contrary view.

As to whose fault it was the report says this:

2.35 From March to May 2009, domestic and international animal welfare groups lobbied the Government to ban the trade in live sheep for slaughter, expressing animal welfare concerns and opposing any resumption of shipments. This lobbying included 5750 letters and emails received by the Prime Minister’s office between 2008 and 2009 (and an additional 4551 “campaign” emails and letters).

2.36 The Ministry and MAF considered the competing issues involved in exporting live sheep, including the relationship with Saudi Arabia, animal welfare concerns, and the legality of a ban on the export of livestock for slaughter. In May 2009, the Ministry advised MAF to continue negotiations on the Memorandum of Understanding (and retain the animal welfare and monitoring requirements).

2.37 Negotiations on the Memorandum of Understanding proceeded at a slow pace. In August 2009, Mr Carter made public statements that he did not think Saudi Arabia would be able to meet the standards he would require for the transportation and treatment of sheep exported for slaughter.

2.38 The Al Khalaf Group and the Saudi Arabian Government were surprised and disappointed at what they perceived as a change in the Government’s position on the export of sheep for slaughter. They considered that this change had not been communicated directly to them previously.

2.39 On 17 November 2009, Mr Carter met with the then Saudi Arabian Minister of Agriculture in Rome during a Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations World Summit on Food Security.Mr Carter outlined the conditions about animal welfare in the Memorandum of Understanding for live exports with Saudi Arabia. The then Saudi Arabian Minister of Agriculture responded that Saudi Arabia could not accept those conditions and that, accordingly, there could be no resumption of the live sheep trade. Ministry officials’ records show that the diplomatic relationship between New Zealand and Saudi Arabia deteriorated after this meeting.

2.40 In 2009, Sheikh Hmood and his companies’ representatives also confirmed that they were not amenable to New Zealand’s imposition in the Memorandum of Understanding of what they considered unacceptable extraterritorial requirements.

 

I know we live in a post truth era but this passage is impossible to reconcile with McCully’s statement to the house.

And what about the advice that the claim had some sort of prospect of succeeding?

3.42 The intention behind Mr McCully’s early negotiations with Sheikh Hmood was to find a “commercial solution” to address Sheikh Hmood’s sense of grievance. However, we did not find evidence of officials’ real analysis of other options. We also did not find evidence of Ministers or officials requesting or receiving internal or external legal advice on the extent of the risk of a claim for compensation from the Al Khalaf Group against the Government.

3.44 Mr McCully told us that it was unfair to criticise the Cabinet paper for failing to analyse the consequences of a litigation or a compensation negotiation process that it had expressly ruled out.

If the paper had expressly ruled the risk out then why did McCully tell Parliament repeatedly that there was litigation risk?

Not only are there these issues but McCully’s competence as a Minister has to be questioned.  The Auditor General said this about his cabinet paper:

I found some significant shortcomings in the Cabinet paper, including that it:

  • did not clearly explain that the Al Khalaf Group would own the goods and services costing the New Zealand Government $6 million;
  • did not identify how the $10 million figure was arrived at (a figure that has since risen to $11.5 million);
  • signalled the risk of a claim against the Government based only on the $20-$30 million figure that the Cabinet paper said was suggested by the Al Khalaf Group (there was no assessment by Ministry officials of the substance of that legal risk);
  • did not include any analysis about whether there were any other potential obstacles to the signing or ratification of the free trade agreement, apart from the concerns of the Al Khalaf Group about the export of live sheep or the assertion by the Gulf Cooperation Council that this was the only obstacle to the free trade agreement; and
  • identified that New Zealand exports could double to $3 billion in five years if a free trade agreement was signed with the Gulf Cooperation Council, without including any analysis.

Based on these significant shortcomings, I am concerned at the lack of robust analysis and the quality of information that was provided to Cabinet on this matter.

The Auditor General’s concerns deserve to be repeated.

… I share many New Zealanders’ concerns about the arrangements. I found significant shortcomings in the paper put to Cabinet in support of the decision to enter into the Saudi Arabia Food Security Partnership. The contract’s benefits to New Zealand were unclear in the Cabinet paper, the business case, and its subsequent implementation.

McCully’s days as a Minister should be numbered. At least in a properly functioning democracy.

58 comments on “Sheepgate: Government celebrates finding that McCully is not corrupt ”

  1. tory 1

    The Auditor-General reports:

    ‘I found no evidence that the arrangements entered into as part of the Saudi Arabia Food Security Partnership were corrupt. To understand whether there was corruption, we looked at whether there had been an abuse of power for private gain or an offence against the Crimes Act 1961 by a Minister or an official. The payments did not amount to bribery or facilitation payments. Instead, they were made as part of a legally valid contract for services. Public money was spent within the necessary financial approvals’.

    McCully clearly bullshitted the Cabinet and therefore must go, however I am picking he will not stand at the next election. No great loss and I hope Nick Smith will join him. This will be a great result for National as they have been able to rejuvenate their MP’s and not having to rely on the dinosaurs like Labour has to.

    • Richard Rawshark 1.1

      Bullshitted the Cabinet, are you really that gullible and think your wonderful government IS actually that honest.

      Tory, they ALL, including the PM new about it, do not think for 1 millisecond Murray did anything without consulting the brothers and John you idiot.

      He pitched the lone wolf story SOLEY to save anyone else from having to resign if it went pear shaped with the AG, That’s how they fucking roll.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      National are dinosaurs. It’s the basic nature of conservatives.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.3

      McCully knows what a witness looks like. Charity demands that I respect your affected naivety.

  2. Arthur 2

    Once again. We did nothing wrong and it’s all labour’s fault.

  3. Macro 3

    Not corrupt – just incompetent and dishonest.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      It was an attempted bribe and it should have been recognised as that.

      That it wasn’t is disturbing.

    • AB 3.2

      The AG is using a very narrow financial definition of corruption,not a moral definition. That’s all. She’s even at pains to explain that fact.

      • Macro 3.2.1

        Weasel words don’t make his actions any better though.
        If we had a non-corrupt competent and honest government, he would be gone by now.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2.1.1

          If the National Party were anything other than a vehicle for vested interests he wouldn’t have been selected in the first place.

        • mosa 3.2.1.2

          Helen Clark would have had him stood down while waiting for the AG report.
          Once again they have misled parliament, once again a serious offence.

          This whole saga and not only McCully but John Keys judgement must be called into question here…again.

          Key of course cant or wont see what all the fuss is about as he has invested a lot in his relationship with the Saudis and is used to doing the deal and to hell with the consequences.

          The only win here is for the millions of sheep who were destined to weeks of misery before their ultimate death in the desert of a nasty foreign country.

        • AB 3.2.1.3

          Quite – but for the AG to actually describe him as ‘corrupt’ would have required someone to see him walking out of a meeting with the Saudi guy while stuffing an envelope filled with $100 bills into his back pocket.

          Mind you – he’s such a trougher for the good life that comes with such gigs there wouldn’t have been any room.

        • David H 3.2.1.4

          If we had an honest and competent Government, it would have been because of the Snap election called years ago, over the mishandling of… Add your Own I don’t need Writers Cramp.
          But for reference I refer you to Blip, and the Magnificent list that they prepare. At what must be great batterings at their sanity, from verifying everything.

    • Bearded Git 3.3

      @Macro +1000 and still lying that this was Labour’s fault despite the a-g finding no evidence at all to support this. Incredible.

  4. Richard Rawshark 4

    5000 sheep died on a boat that caused the end live sheep exports by NZ.

    an act laid by the Labour government due to the public outcry over this incident.

    What McCully did was circumvent public opinion and try to forge a deal behind our backs with those very people.

    and you say AG there is no corruption, the only solution to our political problem I see is action.

    Sorry.

  5. Wyndham 5

    – – – – and for a completely biased and partly incorrect report, read Audrey Young’s latest effort in the Herald.
    ( Sorry. Can’t supply link at present ).

    • Richard Rawshark 5.1

      Fox news hacks that’s all they are, people you know faithfully week in week out same old bullshit. Labour suck aren’t National just rock stars.

    • Bearded Git 5.2

      @Wyndham agreed…..Young is always biased but she has reached new heights of bias in that Sheepgate article….maybe a nod and a wink came from above.

      Doesn’t she realise she loses credibility as a journalist by ignoring the facts?

      • tc 5.2.1

        Young is no journalist she is a shill for national with zero objective analysis skills.

        The msm is full of them

  6. Mike the Lefty 6

    Not corrupt maybe.
    How about incompetent, spineless and kow-towing.
    No maybe about that.

  7. dukeofurl 7

    “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest ?”

    Is MacCready still alive and kicking and up to a private prosecution

    • mosa 7.1

      I think MacCready has given up, he has been strangely silent for months.

      He is probably on Keys hit list.

  8. One Anonymous Bloke 8

    The absence of evidence of McCully’s evident corruption is totes reassuring.

  9. mosa 9

    I bet this is the last we will hear about the whole sheepgate issue.

    Nothing to see here as McCully has doing nothing corrupt.

    End of story.

  10. pat 10

    technically not corruption ….but corrupt in every other sense

    • Henry Filth 10.1

      “Technically”. Ah yes, “technically”. Lovely word, “technically”.

      I rather think that the corrupt are well practiced at doing corruption in a way which is, on the surface, not corrupt.

      However. It would be either ignorant or disingenuous to assume that the only form of corruption is the equivalent of bunging two hundred and fifty bucks to the person doing your driving test.

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1

        I rather think that the corrupt are well practiced at doing corruption in a way which is, on the surface, not corrupt.

        Well, not illegal any way – especially after they’ve written the laws – but everyone knows that it is.

  11. Siobhan 11

    Funnily enough I’m just flicking through a copy of Ross Meurants “The Beat to the Beehive” (as you do on a Thursday morning). Last chapter is a slightly disconcerting recap of the fall of Mussolini and his mistress.
    It concludes
    “Remember Government threats to sue the Auditor General for deformation merely because his findings were critical of Government. (4th Labour Govt at the time?)
    We are all well down the road of abuse of power by the political party in office in our country today. The key to change is in you hands. At Least it still is at present. The alternative? Keep you eye out for a good strong steel girder”

    Followed by a suitably tasteless picture of Mussolini hanging from a girder ‘taken by the authors father.”.

    a) Imagine trying to publish that sort of thing today.
    b) Auditor generals have always been hobbled into towing the line.
    c) Jeezus…Ross Meurant…but you know, if the powers that be, world wide, don’t start growing some sort of moral compass who knows where we will be in a few generations…..

    • Anne 11.1

      I met Ross Meurant once about 20 years ago. It was in a reasonably formal setting. He was dressed as a cowboy… the full works including hat (think he had a hat on), ultra tight jeans and cowboy boots.

      Somewhat fitting I think.

      • Siobhan 11.1.1

        Well there’s a coincidence!. My husband also met him once, in the reasonably formal setting of a police cell. Meurant wasn’t wearing stirrups then either, but he had a nice set of fisty cuffs 😉

        Meurant is also no stranger to bribery allegations.

        http://m.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10541133

        The opening line from Fran O’Sullivan is very much pertinent to this conversation…”If New Zealand had an independent Corruption Commission…”

        • Anne 11.1.1.1

          I dropped the stirrup line because I wasn’t sure if those metally things they wear on the back of their boots are what they call stirrups. He wisely left them behind on that occasion anyway.

          I also saw him in 1981 close to Eden Park on the day of the final Springbok test match. He was walking with his gang of Red Squad thugs towards our group (we were minding our own business at the time too) dressed in red and black riot gear. He likes dressing up. We ran for our lives. Wish someone had caught it on camera. So funny looking back on it.

        • Chuck 11.1.1.2

          Ross Meurant is Winston Peters Achilles heal.

          Now I am no fan of Nicky Hager, but this would be his “Pulitzer Prize” if he was able to navigate the history of those 2 chaps.

  12. Scott 12

    The A_G’s report needed to be more damning if this was to be more than beltway issue. It will be forgotten by those that matter – those that decide elections (if they ever cared about it at all which I doubt).

    I don’t actually have a problem with the way they tried to solve two issues at once. Sure, the threat of litigation was overblown, but it costs you quite a lot to defend such claims even if you think your defense is reasonably solid. Plus in doing so you’d also have the embarrassment / reputation factor over our Government telling them one thing, then doing another, and now giving them the bird.

    The major factor was clearly to try to remove a roadblock in the inter-state relationship. Whether that worked or not I don’t know. While there was no trade deal, that roadblock may now be gone and others still stand. Who knows. I’d be careful about judging that with the benefit of hindsight. I don’t know if we now want better relationships anyway – again hindsight might suggest we don’t.

    • Sacha 12.1

      “the threat of litigation was overblown”

      There was no plausible basis for an action under any law. Zero.

    • framu 12.2

      There was no evidence of any legal threat to start with. (Or docs to back up the amount of $ claimed was needed to “fix” things)

      in short – theres nothing, nada, to back up the govt’s argument beyond they felt it would achieve something

      Since when did the ends justify the means re: govt? – Especially when they dont even have the most basic data to back them selves up?

  13. Draco T Bastard 13

    The was a bribe. Simple as that and thus McCully should be in jail because of it. Why the AG found otherwise should be a serious concern to NZers.

    Also, why are we even wanting to trade with such a despicable regime anyway?
    Are we really so lacking that we even need to contemplate doing so?

    • Scott 13.1

      I agree with the last part Draco. There are serious question to be answered about Saudi Arabia’s links to ISIS, and their shared anti-shia goals. I’m not sure I’d be rushing to pitch our tent with them.

      I’m not so sure if that was as clear back in 2010 when this deal was done, but even then any of the strident Islamic states came with a lot of baggage.

    • ropata 13.2

      Far worse than anything Taito Philip Field ever did. National are well aware their brand is degraded and beginning to stink, after their sorry record of scandals and dirty deals. They would have been desperate to save face on this one and brush it under the carpet

      • Scott 13.2.1

        You must be talking about a different Taito Philip Field to the one that was convicted of 11 counts of bribery and corruption, and 15 charges relating to attempting to pervert the course of justice.

        Sorry. One shady deal done without any apparent personal interest involved and certainly no criminality, it hardly compares to that.

        • Stuart Munro 13.2.1.1

          One shady deal eh. Bribing Shane Jones escape you, or are you just in the longest river in Africa?

          • Chuck 13.2.1.1.1

            “Bribing Shane Jones escape you”

            Was that the lifetime supply of X-rated DVD’s? or the Ambassador for Pacific Economic Development?

            • Stuart Munro 13.2.1.1.1.1

              Muzza’s a shabby little trougher who should be in jail, but I don’t think he was behind Jones’s porn problem.

        • ropata 13.2.1.2

          I stand corrected! 😳

  14. adam 14

    We have in power those committed to selfishness as a political goal. This is but one example of this, with McCully being a fine example of the the selfish ethos.

    It has seen the death of goodness and compassion, and the rise of the individual self absorbed in — I’m so bloody important, you are just weak culture.

    The longer we are on this path, the more insane it will get. And if the last year and a half is anything to go by – it’s going to get bat, and dodo.

  15. Ed 15

    I suspect that to be clear the subject should be that the Government is celebrating that McCully was found to not be corrupt on this occasion.

    I am not clear about the law – presumably it is not a crime or corrupt to make a bribe (which is how some see what McCully did), but is corrupt to receive a bribe to make ministerial decisions. Is it legal to make a bribe? Despite a written “contract”, there does not appear to have been any “service” or “facilitation’ provided for the value of $11.5 million. If a company had made the payment, would it have been tax-deductible?

    We should also celebrate that McCully has not been found guilty of dishonesty, incompetence, misleading Cabinet, or of being a typical National MP – those were of course not investigated.

  16. Henry Filth 16

    Out of interest, how would (or could) this issue been dealt with under the disputes resolution provisions of the TPP?

  17. NZJester 17

    It is amazing how easy it is get to an innocent verdict when you get to pick everyone who sits in judgement of you and knows they will get no more work if they give the wrong verdict.

  18. Richard Rawshark 18

    Finally Mainstream and bloody brilliant analysis from Bryce.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11741557

  19. Richard Rawshark 19

    Perhaps the Sheiks told john if he wanted a quiet term with no..isis issues, a small payment of 30m would take care of it.

    peace for sale, I reckon the Arabs could make a stunning earner on the protection racket if they had a mind too.

    Now , now tinfoil hat, it’s ok, daddies here to guard you from the nasty aliens and their leader John key.

  20. Rob 20

    Must say David Parker’s interview on morning report was priceless
    No raised voice just answering the question and giving the facts of this seedy event
    No National support people on the horizon
    This National Party episode of arse licking is what John Key’s government represents

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  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #37, 2020
    2,082,476,000,000,000 Viability of greenhouse gas removal via the artificial addition of volcanic ash to the ocean  (not open access, unfortunately) walks us through the numbers on a particular means of CO2 removal, addition of volcanic tephra to the ocean. The mechanism is straight chemistry and the cost is fully an order of ...
    5 days ago
  • Barbados to become a republic
    Barbados is planning to remove the queen as head of state and become a republic in time for the 55th anniversary of its independence in 2021: Barbados has announced its intention to remove the Queen as its head of state and become a republic by November 2021. [...] Reading ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Party Like It’s 1989: Bait and Switch is a Bad Look, Mr Hipkins
    At the 2017 election, the New Zealand Labour Party promised a Fees Free Policy for tertiary students. Basically, it would make the first year of university education free in 2018, with a second year in 2021, and a third in 2024. It also promised to restore Post-Graduate access to the ...
    5 days ago
  • Will the tropics eventually become uninhabitable?
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz What is the impact of temperature increases in the tropics? ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • A first-hand look: What it’s like to live in a 2020 California wildfire evacuation zone
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Daisy Simmons It felt like 100 degrees in my in-laws’ Grass Valley, California, kitchen, but at least the lights were on and for the moment we were safely “distanced” from the Jones Fire. We’d just finished dessert, after pizza and a movie ...
    5 days ago
  • A flaw in our electoral transparency regime
    A key part of our electoral funding regime is a requirement for some transparency around donations, on the basis that if we can find out who has bought our politicians (typically after we have voted for them) then everything is alright. There are a lot of problems with that regime ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Don’t Steal This Book
    On “In Defense of Looting” Matt Taibibi takes an entertaining look at this generation of woke activists and how they compare with Abbie Hoffman the iconic anti-Vietnam war counter-culture figure of the 1960s On Thursday, August 27th, the same day Donald Trump formally accepted the Republican nomination, National Public Radio ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Carbon prices must rise
    When Parliament introduced the Emissions Trading Scheme, it was worried that carbon prices might get too high. So it introduced a "fixed price option", allowing polluters to pay the government $25 in the place of surrendering credits. The result was predictable: after we were thrown out of international carbon markets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Disclosure
    The government will finally be requiring large New Zealand companies to disclose their climate change risks: New Zealand finance companies will be made to report on climate change risk, Climate Change Minister James Shaw has announced. The policy will force around 200 large financial organisations in New Zealand to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Tackling the hard issues – trust and relationships
    By Claire Grant, Genomics Aotearoa Communications Manager Community consultation is becoming an increasingly important aspect of research programmes in New Zealand, and with that comes the art of relationship building. Engagement between scientists and user-groups is certainly nothing new. But as stakeholder involvement becomes more of a requirement for science, ...
    SciBlogsBy Genomics Aotearoa
    6 days ago
  • Equality Network – September Newsletter
    Read the Equality Network newsletter here ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    6 days ago
  • The Left’s Lost Allies.
    Rebels In A Wrong Cause: The truly frightening thing about Jami-Lee Ross’s and Billy Te Kahika’s success in persuading thousands of New Zealanders that Covid-19 is just another trick, just another way of stealing away their power, is realising just how many of them once marched at the Left’s side. ...
    6 days ago
  • Legal Beagle: Low-Hanging Fruit
    In a couple of months, the 53rd Parliament will meet in Wellington, and approximately 120 MPs will be sworn in, many of them for the first time.They will all have political goals, some aligning with their party platforms, some not, some complex, and some simple, but they will gain one ...
    6 days ago
  • Closing the Gap thinks that Labour’s proposal to raise the top tax rate is great but………
    Media Statement For Immediate Release 10th September 2020 The income and wealth inequality lobby group, “Closing the Gap” thinks the Labour proposal a great start says Peter Malcolm, a spokesperson for the group. But they need to be aware of what many of the rich do and of what do ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: No nonsense
    ACT is pushing a "no-nonsense climate change plan". What does it involve? Repealing the Zero Carbon Act and Emissions Trading Scheme, reversing the fossil-fuel exploration ban, and allowing mining on conservation land. In other words, repealing any policy which might actually reduce emissions. Which is the very definition of nonsensical. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • My Climate Story: Coming full Circle
    This blog post is a follow up to my recap of Al Gore's Climate Reality Leadership Training I recently participated in. One of the exercises we were asked to complete was to write about our respective "Climate Story". This is a slightly updated version to the one I had submitted during ...
    1 week ago
  • A bill to criminalise wage theft
    Wage theft is a problem in New Zealand, with a widespread practice of forcing employees to work without pay, and regular cases of underpayment and exploitation. One reason why its such a widespread problem is impunity: rather than a crime, wage theft is merely a tort, dealt with by the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Liam Hehir: What the voting age debate tells us about our disconnected political media
    New Zealand’s media and online politics often reflect the values of liberal and progressive agendas. According to Liam Hehir, the current proposals to lower the voting age to 16 years – which the media overwhelming supports – is indicative of a wider mismatch with society, which is not good for ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • Why Pay Taxes?
    My wife and I, through a combination of good luck and good management, have managed to retire in comfortable circumstances. We celebrate our good fortune by making relatively small but regular donations to a range of good causes – to rescue services like the rescue helicopters, St John’s Ambulance and ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Now everyone’s a statistician. Here’s what armchair COVID experts are getting wrong
    Jacques Raubenheimer, University of Sydney If we don’t analyse statistics for a living, it’s easy to be taken in by misinformation about COVID-19 statistics on social media, especially if we don’t have the right context. For instance, we may cherry pick statistics supporting our viewpoint and ignore statistics showing we ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • More timid bullshit from Labour
    Over the weekend, Labour released its welfare policy: an increase in benefit abatement thresholds. And that's it. Faced with clear evidence of ongoing hardship among beneficiaries and a call from its on Welfare Expert Advisory Group to raise core benefits by between 12 percent and 47 percent, Labour's response is ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Police Kill as Part of their Social Function
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (Bogota; 09/11/2020) The murder of Javier Ordoñez in the neighbourhood of Villa Luz in Bogotá, Colombia at the hands of two policemen brings to the fore the issue of police violence and its function in society. First of all we should be clear that we are ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #37
    Story of the Week... La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS...  Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... Story of the Week... Humans exploiting and destroying nature on unprecedented scale – report Animal populations have plunged an average of 68% ...
    1 week ago
  • The 2019 measles epidemic in Samoa
    Gabrielle Po-Ching In November 1918, the cargo and passenger ship Talune travelled to Apia, Samoa from Auckland, carrying a number of passengers who had pneumonic influenza. From these passengers stemmed the biggest pandemic Samoa had ever seen. With around 8,500 deaths, over 20% of the country’s population at the ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Shifting all Isolation/Quarantine Facilities to a Single Air Force Base: The Need for a Critical Ana...
    Prof Nick Wilson*, Prof Michael Baker In this blog the arguments for and against shifting all COVID-19 related isolation/quarantine facilities to a single air force base at Ōhakea are considered. The main advantage would be a reduction in the risk of border control failures, which can potentially involve outbreaks ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • The difference between Green and Labour: a tale of two Finance Ministers
    So the Greens co-leader James Shaw recently made a mistake. In his role as Associate Finance Minister approving funding for “shovel-ready” projects, he fought hard for a private “Green school” to get funding to expand their buildings and, therefore, their student capacity. There are many problems with what he did: ...
    Cut your hairBy calebmorgan
    1 week ago
  • Bryce Edwards: Political Roundup – The missing election policy on free dental visits
    Over the last three years there have been growing calls for the government to provide dental services under the health system – universal free dental care. This is because at the moment there’s an anomaly in which teeth are regarded as different from the rest of the body which means ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #37
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Sep 6, 2020 through Sat, Sep 12, 2020 Editor's Choice With California ablaze, Newsom blasts Trump administration for failing to fight climate change Trinity River Conservation Camp crew members drown ...
    1 week ago
  • Letter to the Editor
    Dear Sir, As we head into the run up to the upcoming election I feel it is my duty to draw your attention to the lack of fun we are currently forced to ensure by the Adern regime. In their efforts to keep the nation’s essential workers, health compromised people, ...
    My ThinksBy boonman
    1 week ago
  • Participating in Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training
    It finally happened: about 13 years after first watching Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” (AIT) in 2007 when it became available in Germany, I recently completed the Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training! Participating in this particular training had been on my to-do list for quite some time but it ...
    1 week ago
  • Dysfunctional Design
    Windows 95 is famous for requiring the shutting down the system by clicking ‘start, like stopping your car by turning the ignition key on. Why are so many interfaces so user-unfriendly? The Covid app to register your entering premises can be so clumsy. Sometimes I have signed in, sat down ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Josh Van Veen: Can we trust the polls?
    Is the 2020 election result really the foregone conclusion that the polls and commentators are suggesting? Josh Van Veen suggests otherwise, pointing to some of the shortcomings of opinion polling, which could ready some politicians to say “bugger the pollsters” on election night.   In November 1993, opinion polls foretold ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • The UK wants climate action
    Back in 2019, six select committees of the UK Parliament established a Citizen's Assembly to investigate how to respond to climate change. The Assembly's deliberations were forced online by the pandemic, but it has finally reported back, and overwhelmingly supports strong action: Taxes that increase as people fly further ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • In the US, the End of Days.
    I am feeling a bit impish today and so for no particular reason I thought I would share this thought, which I first posted over on twitter: “Hurricanes, wildfires, floods, heatwaves, street protests, armed vigilante militias, a lethal pandemic and a corrupt authoritarian using the federal government for partisan and ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Government too slow in deploying military to assist with Covid-19 response, former defence minister ...
    Wayne Mapp (Photo: Tsmith.nz via Wikimedia) A former Minister of Defence says the government was too slow to involve the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) in New Zealand’s response to Covid-19. But Wayne Mapp, a National MP from 1996-2011 who served as Minister of Defence for three ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    1 week ago
  • Underwhelming
    Transport is our second biggest polluter after agriculture, making up 17% of our national emissions. Cars and trucks emit 15 million tons of CO2 every year. So, if we're serious about tackling climate change, we need to eliminate this entirely. Public transport and better urban design will be a key ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Five things we know about COVID-19, and five we don’t
    Five things we’ve learnt 1. We know where the virus ultimately came from We know that the virus originally came from bats, and most probably a species of horseshoe bat in South East Asia. However, the spike protein in SARS-CoV-2, which allows the virus to attach to cells and infect ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Stewardship land is conservation land
    The Greens' greatest disappointment while in government this term has been the failure to implement a ban on mining on conservation land. Promised by Jacinda Ardern immediately after gaining power, it had long been assumed that the problem was NZ First (who have a long history of environmental vandalism). But ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The price of Green co-operation just went up
    If they get into Parliament, everyone expects the Greens to form a coalition with Labour. But James Shaw has said that that might not be the case, and that they might instead choose to sit on the cross-benches: The Greens are prepared to forego a coalition or confidence and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Swimming with whales: you must know the risks and when it’s best to keep your distance
    Chantal Denise Pagel, Auckland University of Technology; Mark Orams, Auckland University of Technology, and Michael Lueck, Auckland University of Technology Three people were injured last month in separate humpback whale encounters off the Western Australia coast. The incidents happened during snorkelling tours on Ningaloo Reef when swimmers came too close ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Driving Out The Money-Changers Of Reactionary Christianity.
    Den Of Thieves: They describe themselves, and the money-making rackets they dignify with the name of church, “Christian”, but these ravening wolves are no such thing. The essence of the Christian faith is the giving of love – not the taking of money. It is about opening oneself to the ...
    1 week ago
  • Could academic streaming in New Zealand schools be on the way out? The evidence suggests it should b...
    David Pomeroy, University of Canterbury; Kay-Lee Jones, University of Canterbury; Mahdis Azarmandi, University of Canterbury, and Sara Tolbert, University of Canterbury Academic streaming in New Zealand schools is still common, but according to recent reports it is also discriminatory and racist. Also known as tracking, setting and ability grouping, streaming ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • A Time To Begin Again.
    A New Holy-Day: Perhaps, by accepting this gift of Matariki from the first arrivals in Aotearoa, we late arrivals, shorn of our ancestors’ outlandish fleeces, can draw strength from the accumulated human wisdom of our adopted home. Perhaps, by celebrating Matariki, we can learn to take ownership of our colonial ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s tax trauma victims and how they might help the Greens
    If there was any doubt left, we can surely call it now. Time and date. End of. Finito. Perhaps you thought you saw a flickering eyelid or a finger move? You were wrong. Labour has given up on tax reform for the foreseeable future. One of the key remaining left/right ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    2 weeks ago
  • Bryce Edwards: Political Roundup – Labour gives up on tax transformation
    Will the rich get richer under Labour’s latest tax policy? Based on the analysis in reaction to yesterday’s announcement, the answer would seem to be yes. The consensus from commentators is that inequality and severe economic problems will remain unchanged or even be made worse by Labour’s new policy. Although ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour on energy: Business as usual
    Labour has released its energy policy, and its basicly business as usual: bring forward the 100% renewable target to 2030, build pumped storage if the business case stacks up, restore the thermal ban and clean car standard (but not the feebate scheme), and spread a bit of money around to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Overshoot
    California is burning down again. In Oregon, the city of Medford - a town the size of Palmerston North - has had to be evacuated due to the fires. In the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Rene has become the earliest "R"-storm to form since records began, beating the previous record by ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Says it all
    What's wrong with Labour? The end of yesterday's RNZ health debate says it all: Do you have private health insurance? Reti: "I do." Hipkins: "Yes, I do." Hipkins is Minister of Health. But it turns out that he won't be waiting in the queue with the rest ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Secret Lives of Lakes
    McKayla Holloway The helicopter carries a team of four Lakes380 scientists and me; we hug the Gneiss rock walls that tower over Lake Manapouri. It’s arguably one of New Zealand’s most well-known lakes – made famous by the ‘Save Manapouri’ campaign of the 1970s. My chest is drawn back into ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Winning Joke: Why The Traditional Left Will Just Have To Live With Rainy-Day Robertson’s Disappoin...
    Rainy-Day Man: Is Labour’s tax policy a disappointment? Of course it is! But it’s the best the Traditional Left is going to get. Why? because Labour’s pollsters are telling them that upwards of 200,000 women over the age of 45 years have shifted their allegiance from National to Labour. (Where else, ...
    2 weeks ago

  • $27million investment in global vaccine facility
    The Coalition Government has committed to invest $27 million in COVID-19 vaccine development through the global COVAX Facility, Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The COVAX Facility is a key part of our COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy to obtain safe and effective vaccines. It allows us to invest in a high-quality, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Government backing Māori landowners
    The Government will provide up to $1.69 million through the One Billion Trees programme to Māori landowners to make their whenua more productive through the planting of forests, both native and exotic, and improve economic and environmental outcomes, Forestry Minister Shane Jones has announced. “Around 1.5 million ha of land ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New tools to make nature more accessible
    People planning to head outdoors now have a resource that lets them know how accessible an area is for people with varying levels of mobility, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. The Halberg Foundation, Sensibel, and the Department of Conservation (DOC) have launched Accessibel, a new tool which helps ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • PGF makes Māori history more accessible
    One of the most significant battle sites of the 1860s Land Wars will receive $2.96 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to improve the site and help tell the New Zealand story to visitors, Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. Nanaia Mahuta ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Making it official: The journey of te reo Māori | Kia whakapūmautia: Ngā piki me ngā heke o te r...
    The journey towards recognising Māori as an official language and taonga has been captured as a web series and launched today during Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, announced Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni. “Te reo Māori is a living language, and understanding its significance, and pathways to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Better-than-forecast GDP reflects decision to protect New Zealand
    Today’s better-than-forecast GDP figures show the expected impact of the decision to act quickly to protect New Zealanders from the global COVID-19 pandemic. GDP fell 12.2% in the June quarter from March, reflecting decisions to close New Zealand’s borders and enter Alert Level 4. “This result was better than the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Boost for COVID-19 related Pacific education needs
    The Government is investing $39.7 Million over four years to support the educational needs of Pacific learners and families in the regions hardest hit by COVID-19, with Auckland getting an immediate boost, Associate Minister of Education Jenny Salesa says.   “Like all New Zealanders Pacific families want learners to do well ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • More resources for kiwi conservation
    New Zealand’s goal of 100,000 kiwi by 2030 is being helped by an extra $19.7 million in funding to accelerate iwi and community efforts to protect kiwi, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced. “$19.7 million of Jobs for Nature funding is being invested in kiwi conservation activities including increased predator ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Improving access to affordable electricity
    Ensuring New Zealanders can get the best deal on their electricity takes a step in the right direction today with the South Island launch of the EnergyMate pilot run by the Electricity Retailers’ Association, says Minister of Energy and Resources, Dr Megan Woods. EnergyMate is an industry-led programme providing coaching ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government achieves 50 percent women on state boards
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter announced today that the Government has reached its target of 50 percent on women on state sector board and committees – setting a new record level of women on state sector boards. “This Government is committed to having more women in leadership roles - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Record transport investment to help economic recovery and save lives
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford released today the final Government Policy Statement on land transport (GPS) 2021 which outlines the planned $48 billion investment in services and infrastructure over the next decade. “The final GPS supports our Government’s five-point plan for economic recovery by confirming our record investments in transport infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Advancing clean energy technology
    Three ambitious and cutting-edge research programmes that will lift New Zealand’s advanced energy technology research capability over seven years, have been supported by Government today, says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. The projects will each receive a share of $40.7 million investment from the Strategic Science Investment Fund. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Major milestone reached in Pike River Re-entry
    The critical area for forensic examination known as Pit Bottom in Stone has been reached in what is a major milestone for the Pike River re-entry project, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little announced. “The infrastructure located in Pit Bottom in Stone is of very significant interest in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Economic recovery guides Govt response to retirement income policy review
    The Government is working on how New Zealand’s retirement income policies and settings can best support Kiwis in light of the COVID-19 economic recovery, with the help of the Retirement Commissioner’s latest review, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said. “The Retirement Commissioner’s three-yearly review into New Zealand’s retirement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Iwi community hub opens in Murupara
    A new digital hub and development centre in Murupara will be instrumental in growing the region’s productivity, said Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau at the official opening of two community initiatives today. “I’m pleased to be here celebrating a significant milestone for two projects set to make a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • PREFU shows economy doing better than forecast
    PREFU shows economy doing better than forecast Unemployment to peak at 7.8%, down from 9.8% forecast in the Budget Year-to-June accounts show tax revenue, debt and OBEGAL better than forecast Global forecast downgraded as COVID-19 second waves and uncertainty grows Balanced plan to support critical public services, manage debt and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Spruce-up for Ōtaki community facilities
    The Kāpiti Coast town of Ōtaki will receive $1.4 million in Government funding for two projects providing scores of jobs for locals while improving community facilities, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The Māoriland Charitable Trust will receive a $900,000 Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) grant to upgrade the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • PGF funding for Jobs for Nature programme
    The Provincial Growth Fund will provide $11.88 million to fund fencing and waterway projects nationwide that will improve the environment and create jobs in their communities, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. “These projects will create more than 100 jobs nationwide with work starting within the next couple ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Procurement to promote jobs, Māori and Pasifika businesses and sustainability
    As part of the COVID-19 recovery, the Government has strengthened its procurement rules to ensure its annual $42 billion spend creates more jobs, uses more sustainable construction practices and results in better outcomes for Māori and Pasifika, Government Ministers announced today.   Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford says the $42 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Timaru’s Theatre Royal to be upgraded and new heritage facility built
    The Government is supporting a major upgrade of Timaru’s iconic Theatre Royal and the construction of a new connected Heritage Facility museum and exhibition space with $11.6 million from the Government’s Infrastructure Fund, Jacinda Ardern announced today. “We heard the call from the community and the council. The Theatre Royal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • District Court judge appointed
    Chrissy Montague (formerly Armstrong), barrister of Auckland has been appointed as a District Court Judge with Family Court jurisdiction to be based in Wellington, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Ms Montague commenced practice in Auckland in 1987 and went into general practice dealing with Wills, Estates, Trusts, Conveyancing, Relationship Property ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Approval given to Commercial Film and Video Production Proposal
      A Proposal to provide for the development and operation of commercial film and video production facilities in areas of Christchurch has been given the go ahead. Hon Poto Williams, Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, has approved the Proposal, which was prepared and submitted by Regenerate Christchurch. Minister Williams ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Supporting a thriving wānanga sector to benefit Māori learners
    As part of the Government’s focus on building closer partnerships with Māori and enhancing the quality of, and access to, Māori medium education, a payment of $8 million will be made to Te Wānanga o Raukawa in partial recognition of its Waitangi Tribunal claim (WAI 2698), Associate Education Minister Kelvin ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature boosts efforts to restore Kaimai-Mamaku
    The Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage has announced a $19 million investment over four years in an important forest restoration project involving a partnership between the Department of Conservation, iwi/hapū, the Bay of Plenty and Waikato Regional Councils, community conservation groups and organisations such as Forest and Bird across the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand first in the world to require climate risk reporting
    New Zealand will be the first country in the world to require the financial sector to report on climate risks, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. The changes build on the huge progress this Government has made to tackle the climate crisis. “Today is another step on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Economic data highlights impact of Auckland moving out of Level 3
    Economic activity across the Auckland region and the country bounced back to levels experienced under Alert Level 1 following Auckland’s move out of Alert Level 3, analysis in the Treasury’s latest Weekly Economic Update shows. The analysis of economic data since Auckland’s move out of Level 3 shows: Auckland card ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM statement on Cabinet COVID-19 Alert Level review
    Takiri mai te ata, ka ao, ka ao, ka awatea, tihei mauriora! Tātou katoa ngā iwi o Aotearoa, tēnā koutou! Tēnā tātou e whakanuia ana i te wiki nei, te wiki o te reo Māori Greeting to you all from Otepoti, Dunedin.  This week is the Māori Language week and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More mental wellbeing services for young people in regions
    More mental health and addiction services are available for young New Zealanders in Rotorua and Taupō, Wairarapa, South Canterbury, Dunedin and Southland from next month, Health Minister Chris Hipkins and Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter say. “The Government is serious about making sure New Zealanders struggling with mental health ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government joins forces with Central Otago communities to clean up waterways
    The Manuherekia catchment in Central Otago is the third exemplar catchment to be targeted as part of the Government’s plan to clean up waterways by supporting community-led programmes.   Environment Minister David Parker said the Manuherekia catchment is vitally important to the people of Central Otago.  “The Manuherekia rises in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government confirms new Dunedin Hospital design
    The Government has agreed on a preferred design for the new Dunedin Hospital featuring two separate buildings, and has provided funding for the next stages of work.   Minister of Health Chris Hipkins says Cabinet has approved in principle the detailed business case for the new hospital, giving people in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Join the one in a million reo Māori moment
    New Zealanders across the country are set to mark history as part of the Māori Language Week commemorations led by Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori this year.  Māori Development Minister, Nanaia Mahuta says the initiative will mark history for all the right reasons including making te reo Māori ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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