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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    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • By George! Splendid streets take shape down south
    The revitalisation of Auckland city centre, especially around Wynyard Quarter, Te Komititanga, and Queen Street, is top of mind for Greater Auckland readers – but other cities around Aotearoa New Zealandare installing people-friendly streets. This guest post by Jessica de Heij, who grew up in the Netherlands and is an ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    3 days ago
  • Bernard's Pick 'n' Mix for Thursday, July 11
    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 7:30 am on July 11 are:Scoop: NZ First Minister acted 'contrary to law’. Casey Costello has been severely reprimanded by the Chief Ombudsman and forced ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Thursday, July 11
    TL;DR: The top six announcements, rulings, reports, surveys, statistics and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the day to 6:00 am on Thursday, July 11 are:Economy: Te Pūtea Matua The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) announced its Monetary Policy Committee decided to hold the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • Farmers’ revenge meets Green resistance
    If there was one issue that united farmers in opposition to the Labour Government, it was the battle of the waterways between farmers and Environment Minister David Parker. Parker won the first round with his 2020 National Policy Standard on Freshwater Management (NPSFM) which imposed tough new standards on waterways ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    3 days ago
  • Personal Reflections: 10th July
    Please note: This is a personal reflection and does not refer to politics. These entries are not sent to subscribers.Text within this block will maintain its original spacing when publishedHubris and Pride Out of the fire and into the frying pan? Swimming with the big sharks Tonight, I am excited. ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    3 days ago
  • Oh Vienna
    Nothing can warm your heart like the sight of your daughter stepping off a train. Mary-Margaret arrived on Saturday to ride with us to Vienna.You know your way around a bike? the guy at the hire shop asks her. Yep. She’s ridden them on rail trails, Auckland’s mean streets, commutes ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    3 days ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: New Zealand forges deeper ties with NATO
    Christopher Luxon is finding his foreign policy feet. Now eight months into the job, New Zealand’s Prime Minister is in Washington DC this week to attend the NATO summit. It is the third year in a row that Wellington has been invited to the annual gathering of the North Atlantic ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: National’s carbon capture fantasy
    As the climate crisis has grown worse, the tactics of the polluting industries have shifted. From denying climate change, they then moved on to pushing "carbon capture" - dumping their emissions underground rather than in the atmosphere. It's a PR scam, intended to prolong the life of the industry we ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Harsh Truths.
    The Way We Were: An indelible mark was left upon a whole generation of New Zealanders by the Great Depression and World War II; an impression that not only permitted men and women of all classes and races to perceive the need to work together for the common good, but also ...
    4 days ago
  • Explainer: Simeon Brown's CCUS Announcement
    Sources for the data and research:Peter Milne: Time’s up on Gorgon’s five years of carbon storage failureSimon Holmes a Court: "Does best CCS power station in world provide model for Australia?" Chris Vanderstock: "The truth about Carbon Capture and Storage"   "Sunk Costs": documenting CCS's failure to meet every, single, target, ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    4 days ago
  • The Kiwirail Interislander saga continues
    This morning, 1 News is reporting that the cancellation of the i-Rex ferries has so far cost taxpayers $484 million.That's almost half a billion dollars. That could probably fund thousands of new doctors, maybe complete a few hospital rebuilds, or how about money for our experienced police so they don’t ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    4 days ago
  • Bernard’s Chorus for Wednesday, July 10
    As foreshadowed in legislation passed quietly under urgency just before Christmas, the Transport Minister has personally watered down standards for car imports in a way expected to add millions of tonnes to our climate emissions Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My top six things to note around housing, climate ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Christopher Luxon's business acumen
    It’s April, and the relatively new Prime Minister of New Zealand is on his first overseas mission to South East Asia.Christopher Luxon walks into the room. A warm smile on his face. A hand extended to his counterpart.“We are open for business,” he says confidently. “New Zealand is under new ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    4 days ago
  • Meet New Zealand's Russell Brand?
    Hi,There is an all too common story within the guru community, and we see it play out again and again. The end is nearly always the same — a trail of victims and confusion left in the guru’s wake.As seen in the recent case of Russell Brand, the guru simply ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    4 days ago
  • Why is the Government flooring it on unsafe speeds?
    Feedback closes midnight Thursday 11 July, on the draft speed-setting rule. See our previous post on the subject for details, and guidance on having your say. Among other things, it proposes to raise speeds in cities back up to a universal 50km/h (with no option of 30km/h), and will restrict safe ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    4 days ago
  • American Boy
    Take me on a trip, I'd like to go some dayTake me to New York, I'd love to see LAI really want to come kick it with youYou'll be my American boy…Love letters straight from the heart. Hmm, I think that’s a different tune, but that’s where we’ll begin. With ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • Bernard's Pick 'n' Mix for Wednesday, July 10
    Photo by Jannis Brandt on UnsplashTL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 7:00 am are:Investigation: Benefitting from the misery of others. Over 40% of emergency housing funding went to a concentrated group ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Wednesday, July 10
    Photo by Mr Cup / Fabien Barral on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the day to 6:30 am on Wednesday, July 10 are:Climate: Minister for Transport Simeon Brown announced changes to the Clean Car Importer Standard that ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • How rural families are saving thousands with electric vehicles
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Daisy Simmons (Photo credit: Automotive Rhythms / CC BY-NC 2.0) Some people thought Juliana Dockery and her husband Sean were being impractical when they bought an electric vehicle in 2022. Why? Like one in five Americans, they live in a rural area ...
    4 days ago
  • Love to complete it all
    Photo credit: Rob DickinsonThis is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: What’s left of the Emissions Reduction Plan?
    In 2019, Parliament, in a supposed bipartisan consensus, passed the Zero Carbon Act. The Act established long-term emissions reduction targets, and a cycle of five-yearly budgets and emissions reduction plans to meet them, with monitoring by the independent Climate Change Commission. In theory this was meant to ensure that the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • The President They Have Got.
    “This cannot be real life!” Confronted with the choice of recommitting themselves to the myth of Joe Biden, or believing the evidence of their own eyes, those Americans not already committed to Donald Trump will reach out instinctively for the President they wish they had – blind to the President they ...
    5 days ago
  • Has Progressivism Peaked?
    Let’s Go Crazy! AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) rarks-up the voters of New York’s 16th Congressional District.HAVE WE MOVED past peak progressivism? Across the planet, there are signs that the surge of support for left-wing causes and personalities, exemplified by the election of the democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC) to the US House ...
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Dawn Chorus for July 9
    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:Labour may be looking at signing up for an Irish style 33% inheritance tax instead of or as well as a capital gains tax;Sam Stubbs has proposed the Government sell ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Mr Luxon goes to Washington.
    Once fastened servile now your getting sharpMoving oh so swiftly with such disarmI pulled the covers over him shoulda' pulled the alarmTurned to my nemesis a fool no fucking godTuesday morning usually provides something to write about with a regular round of interviews for the Prime Minister across Newshub, TVNZ, ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Kiwirail at Councils Transport & Infrastructure Committee
    Last week at the Council’s Transport and Infrastructure Committee, Kiwirail gave an update about the state of the network and the work they’re doing to get it ready for the opening of the City Rail Link. There were a few aspects that stood out to me so I’ve pulled them ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    5 days ago
  • Bernard's Pick 'n' Mix for Tuesday, July 9
    Photo by City Church Christchurch on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six links elsewhere I’ve spotted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 8:00 am are:Scoop: Waipareira Trust political donations probe referred to Charities Registration Board NZ Herald-$$$’s Matt NippertScoop: Migrant whistleblowers speak out after ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • What’s next after Supreme Court curbs regulatory power: More focus on laws’ wording, less on the...
    This article by Robin Kundis Craig, Professor of Law, University of Kansas is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. Federal Chevron deference is dead. On June 28, 2024, in a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court overturned the 40-year-old legal tenet that when a federal ...
    5 days ago
  • The folly of retreat in the face of defeat
    Note: This is a long readPolitical discourse on social media taught me that bad faith operators and tactics are not only prevalent, they are widespread and effective.Thanks for reading Mountain Tui! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.Their objectives are much narrower than one might imagine.The ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • The Parent Zone
    Hi,I am about to wing my way back to New Zealand for the Webworm popup this Saturday in Auckland — can’t wait to see some of you there! In the meantime, I highly recommend the latest pet thread over on the Webworm app. All I’ll say is that readers here ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • Tuesday: The Kākā’s Journal of Record for July 9
    Photo by Alex Zaj on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, speeches, news conferences reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the day to 6:00 am on Tuesday, July 9 are:Politics: Full news conference: 'Please resign', Chloe Swarbrick tells Darleen Tana RNZ VideoPaper: Increasing speed ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Breaking up is so hard to do
    The fundamental weakness of the waka jumping legislation is once again on display, as the Greens seem reluctant to trigger it to remove Darleen Tana from Parliament altogether. Tana has been suspended from the Greens Caucus while it had barrister Rachel Burt investigate allegations that she had been involved in ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the privatising of state housing provision, by stealth
    Kāinga Ora’s “independent review” was carried out by the same National Party leader whose own administration’s inadequate housing build – and selling of state houses- had caused Kāinga Ora to embark on its crash building programme in the first place. To use a rugby analogy, this situation is exactly like ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • “Laser focused on the cost of living crisis”
    Cartoonist credit: Christopher Slane ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the elections in France, Iran and Britain
    As Werewolf predicted a week ago, it was premature to call Emmanuel Macron’s snap election call “a bitter failure” and “a humiliating defeat” purely on the basis of the first round results. In fact, it is the far-right that has suffered a crushing defeat. It has come in third in ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    6 days ago
  • The UK needs proportional representation
    Like a lot of people, I spent Friday watching the UK election. There's the obvious joy at seeing the end of 14 years of Tory chaos, but at the same time the new government does not greatly enthuse me. In order to win over the establishment, Starmer has moved UK ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Bernard's Chorus for Monday, July 8
    TL;DR: Thanks for the break, and now I’m back. These are the top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so:Chris Bishop’s pledge to ‘flood the market’ with land to build new houses both out and up remains dependent ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • French Left Wins Big
    Usually I start with some lyrics from the song at the end of the newsletter, to set the mood. But today I’m going to begin with a bit of a plea. About six weeks ago I decided to make more of my writing public with the hope that people would ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Satire: It's great our Prime Minister is so on the ball
    ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • This is the real reason David Seymour needs to reinterpret the Treaty of Waitangi
    This is republished from an earlier write upDavid Seymour is part of the ACT Party. He's backed by people like Alan Gibbs, and Koch money. He grew up as a right wing lobbyist - tick tick tick. All cool and fine - we know.What's also been clear is a fervent ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Going for Housing Growth: Filling the housing donut?
    Hot take: it should be affordable to live in Auckland. You may not be surprised to learn I’m not the only one with this hot take. Indeed, the Minister of Housing recently took the notable step of saying house prices should come down, something common wisdom says should be a politically ...
    Greater AucklandBy Scott Caldwell
    6 days ago
  • Bernard's Pick 'n' Mix for Monday July 9
    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Monday, July 9, the top six links elsewhere I’ve spotted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so are:Scoop: Probation officer sacked for snooping is linked to alleged spy Jian Yang. Corrections dismissed Xu Shan over his ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • What has the Government done for you so far?
    List effective 1 July 2024Consumer and household (note: road and car costs are under infrastructure)Cancelled half-price public transport fares for under-25s and free fares for under-13s funding, scrapping the Labour government-era subsidies. The change will not affect pre-existing discounts funded directly by councils.Cut funding for free budgeting services. One third of the ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Monday, July 8
    Photo by Amador Loureiro on UnsplashTL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Monday, July 8, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last three days were:Local Government Minister Simeon Brown announced the Coalition Government would not be responding to ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s diary for the week to July 15 and beyond
    TL;DR: The six key events to watch in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy in the week to July 15 include:PM Christopher Luxon is travelling to Washington this week to attend a NATO meeting running from Tuesday to Thursday. Parliament is not sitting this week.The RBNZ is expected to hold the OCR on ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #27
    A listing of 31 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 30, 2024 thru Sat, July 6, 2024. Story of the week Our Story of the Week is brought to us by Dr. Ella Gilbert, a researcher with the British ...
    6 days ago
  • The Great Splintering: Thoughts on the British Election
    I can remember 1997. Even living on the other side of the world, having a Scottish father and Welsh grandfather meant I acquired a childhood knowledge of British politics via family connections (and general geekery). And yes, I inherited the dark legends of that evil folk-devil, Margaret Thatcher. So when ...
    7 days ago
  • 2% royalties for mining? Deal!
    Snapshot postToday, Shane Jones was courageous enough to front Q&A with Jack Tame. Thanks for reading Mountain Tui ! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.Jack Tame is a bit of a legend. And that’s only because he strikes me as a good journalist i.e. well ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    7 days ago
  • Aotearoa Says – No Diggity.
    Strictly biz, don't play aroundCover much ground, got game by the poundGetting paid is a forteEach and every day, true player wayOne month ago tens of thousands of Kiwis took to the streets to protest against the coalition’s Fast Track legislation. Concerned that it would prioritise some people making a ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    7 days ago
  • Strangers and others
    For a moment yesterday I thought I might have been trailing my old friend Simon Wilson across the Danube, over cobbled stones, and into the old town square of Linz. Same comfortable riding style, same jacket, same full head of hair, but no, different friend of cycling.There is a kindred ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    7 days ago
  • Killing the Golden Goose of New Zealand's economy
    IntroductionIn New Zealand, the National party generally retains a reputation of being pro-business and pro-economy.Thanks for reading Mountain Tui ! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.The underlying assumption is National are more competent economic managers, and by all accounts Luxon and his team have talked ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Newshub Signs Off
    Wait for the night, for the light at the end of an era'Cause it's love at the end of an eraThe last episode of Newshub, the final instalment of TV3 News, aired last night. Many of us who took the time to watch felt sad and nostalgic looking back over ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago

  • Prime Minister wraps up US visit in California
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has finished a successful four-day visit to the United States with meetings in California on his final day focusing on innovation and investment.  “It has been fantastic to be in San Francisco today seeing first-hand the deepening links between New Zealand and California. “New Zealand company, EV Maritime, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Prime Minister leads Indo-Pacific Four at NATO
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon today chaired a meeting of the Indo-Pacific Four (IP4) countries – Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand. The IP4 met in the context of NATO’s Summit in Washington DC hosted by President Biden. “Prosperity is only possible with security,” Mr Luxon says. “We need ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • District Court judges appointed
    Attorney-General Hon Judith Collins today announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges.   The appointees, who will take up their roles in July and August at the Manukau, Rotorua and Invercargill courts, are:   Matthew Nathan Judge Nathan was admitted to bar in New Zealand in 2021, having previously been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Urgent review into Wairoa flood response begins
    Environment Minister, Penny Simmonds today announced the terms of reference for a rapid review into the Wairoa flood response. “The Wairoa community has raised significant concerns about the management of the Wairoa River bar and the impact this had on flooding of properties in the district,” says Ms Simmonds. “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZDF’s Red Sea deployment extended
    New Zealand has extended its contribution to the US-led coalition working to uphold maritime security in the Red Sea, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The decision to extend this deployment is reflective of the continued need to partner and act in line with New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government provides support to tackle tax debt and compliance
    New compliance funding in Budget 2024 will ensure Inland Revenue is better equipped to catch individuals who are evading their tax obligations, Revenue Minister Simon Watts says. “New Zealand’s tax debt had risen to almost $7.4 billion by the end of May, an increase of more than 50 per cent since 2022. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Taking action to reduce road cones
    The Coalition Government is taking action to reduce expenditure on road cones and temporary traffic management (TTM) while maintaining the safety of workers and road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  Rolling out a new risk-based approach to TTM that will reduce the number of road cones on our roads.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Celebrating 100 years of progress
    Te Arawa Lakes Trust centenary celebrations mark a significant milestone for all the important work done for the lakes, the iwi and for the Bay of Plenty region, says Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka. The minister spoke at a commemorative event acknowledging 100 years ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Foreign Minister to travel to Korea and Japan
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to the Republic of Korea and Japan next week.    “New Zealand enjoys warm and enduring relationships with both Korea and Japan. Our relationships with these crucial partners is important for New Zealand’s ongoing prosperity and security,” says Mr Peters.    While in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Huge opportunity for educators and students as charter school applications open
    Associate Education Minister David Seymour says today is another important step towards establishing charter schools, with the application process officially opening.  “There has already been significant interest from groups and individuals interested in opening new charter schools or converting existing state schools to charter schools,” says Mr Seymour. “There is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Decreasing gas reserves data highlights need to reverse oil and gas exploration ban
    MBIE’s annual Petroleum Reserves report detailing a 20 per cent reduction in New Zealand’s natural gas reserves shows the need to reverse the oil and gas exploration ban, Energy Minister Simeon Brown says.“Figures released by MBIE show that there has been a 20 per cent reduction in New Zealand’s natural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Providers of military assistance to Russia targeted in new sanctions
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced further sanctions as part of the Government’s ongoing response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.    “Russia’s continued illegal war of aggression against Ukraine is a direct and shocking assault on the rules-based order. Our latest round of sanctions targets Russians involved in that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • OECD report shows New Zealand is a red tape state
    Minister for Regulation David Seymour says that the OECD Product Market Regulation Indicators (PMRI) released this morning shows why New Zealanders sorely need regulatory reform. “This shocker result should end any and all doubt that the Government must go to war on red tape and regulation,” says Mr Seymour.  “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government unveils five-point climate strategy
    The coalition Government is proud to announce the launch of its Climate Strategy, a comprehensive and ambitious plan aimed at reducing the impacts of climate change and preparing for its future effects, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “The Strategy is built on five core pillars and underscores the Government’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • National Bowel Screening Programme reaches 2 million life-saving screening kits
    The National Bowel Screening Programme has reached a significant milestone, with two million home bowel screening kits distributed across the country, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti announced today.   “This programme, which began in 2017, has detected 2,495 cancers as of June 2024. A third of these were at an early ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Granny flats popular with all ages
    More than 1,300 people have submitted on the recent proposal to make it easier to build granny flats, RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop and Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk say. “The strong response shows how popular the proposal is and how hungry the public is for common sense changes to make ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • $25 million boost for conservation
    Toitū te taiao – our environment endures!  New Zealanders will get to enjoy more of our country’s natural beauty including at Cathedral Cove – Mautohe thanks to a $25 million boost for conservation, Conservation Minister Tama Potaka announced today.  “Te taiao (our environment) is critical for the country’s present and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand increases support for Ukraine
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Foreign Minister Winston Peters have announced a further $16 million of support for Ukraine, as it defends itself against Russia’s illegal invasion. The announcement of further support for Ukraine comes as Prime Minister Luxon attends the NATO Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC. “New Zealand will provide an additional ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Country Kindy to remain open
    Associate Education Minister David Seymour says that Country Kindy in Manawatu will be able to remain open, after being granted a stay from the Ministry of Education for 12 weeks. “When I heard of the decision made last week to shut down Country Kindy I was immediately concerned and asked ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government lifts Indonesian trade cooperation
    New export arrangements signed today by New Zealand and Indonesia will boost two-way trade, Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says. Mr McClay and Dr Sahat Manaor Panggabean, Chairman of the Indonesia Quarantine Authority (IQA), signed an updated cooperation arrangement between New Zealand and Indonesia in Auckland today. “The cooperation arrangement paves the way for New Zealand and Indonesia to boost our $3 billion two-way trade and further ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Carbon capture framework to reduce emissions
    A Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) framework has been released by the Coalition Government for consultation, providing an opportunity for industry to reduce net CO2 emissions from gas use and production, Energy Minister Simeon Brown says. “Our Government is committed to reducing red tape and removing barriers to drive investment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Faster consenting with remote inspections
    The Government is progressing a requirement for building consent authorities to use remote inspections as the default approach so building a home is easier and cheaper, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says. “Building anything in New Zealand is too expensive and takes too long. Building costs have increased by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Revision programme presented to Parliament
    A new revision programme enabling the Government to continue the progressive revision of Acts in New Zealand has been presented to Parliament, Attorney-General Judith Collins announced today. “Revision targets our older and outdated or much-amended Acts to make them more accessible and readable without changing their substance,” Ms Collins says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government aligns Clean Car Importer Standard with Australia to reduce vehicle prices for Kiwis
    The Government will be aligning the Clean Car Importer Standard with Australia in order to provide the vehicle import market with certainty and ease cost of living pressures on Kiwis the next time they need to purchase a vehicle, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“The Government supports the Clean Car Importer ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZQA Board appointments
    Education Minister Erica Stanford has today announced three appointments to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). Kevin Jenkins has been appointed as the new Chair of the NZQA Board while Bill Moran MNZM has been appointed as the Deputy Chair, replacing Pania Gray who remains on the Board as a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More support for Wairoa clean-up
    A further $3 million of funding to Wairoa will allow Wairoa District Council to get on with cleaning up household waste and sediment left by last week’s flooding, Emergency Management and Recovery Minister Mark Mitchell says.  In Budget 24 the Government provided $10 million to the Hawke’s Bay Region to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Minister thanks outgoing Secretary for Education
    Education Minister Erica Stanford has today thanked the outgoing Secretary for Education. Iona Holsted was appointed in 2016 and has spent eight years in the role after being reappointed in May 2021. Her term comes to an end later this year.  “I acknowledge Iona’s distinguished public service to New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Minister concludes local government review
    Local Government Minister Simeon Brown has concluded the Future for Local Government Review and confirmed that the Coalition Government will not be responding to the review’s recommendations.“The previous government initiated the review because its Three Waters and resource management reforms would have stripped local government of responsibility for water assets ...
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    1 week ago
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