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Archive for March, 2012

Nick Smith – #Rua

28 March 2012 6 comments

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    “Tens of thousands of New Zealanders have had to wade through ACC claims. A fair chunk of those will have had to fight for one thing or another. They don’t get to email their old pal the minister for help, or take their case to several Cabinet ministers, or get meetings with senior managers, or lobby board members.

    Pullar shouldn’t have received any special assistance or access just because she’s well-connected. And clearly she did. Indeed, I reckon that happens quite a lot in this small country and it’s not good.” – Tim Watkin, ‘Pundit’

Indeed.

One salient point of Ms Pullar having to pull strings with various Ministers of the Crown is that in itself is indicative that matters are seriously amiss with ACC.

If  National supporters like Bronwyn Pullar are finding it tough to deal with ACC, they need to reconsider their ideology and not skirt around the effects of National’s hard-line policies which are affecting the Corporation’s customer-relations and impacting on clients.

One of the hopes of ordinary folk is that those who vote for the government-of-the-day (in this case, National) experience/suffer the consequences  of their Party’s policies. That makes everyone sit up and take notice.

For a National supporter  to attempt to avoid the consequences of National’s policies is not on. They need to “take the hits” like the rest of us.

Perhaps when sufficient numbers of National supporters/voters experience the impact of National’s right-wing policies, they may think twice when next casting their votes on Election Day.

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(Note: I take no pleasure in Smith’s errors of judgement. God knows I’ve made a couple of big mistakes in my past. It would be churlish of  me not to  wish him well for his personal future, and for his family.)

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Other Blogposts

The Standard: Confused? A guide to the letters & leaks in the Nats’ Civil War

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National signals epic fail – and waves flag of surrender

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Last year’s election was fought on two main issues;

  • the economy and jobs
  • a tea-party in Epsom

Ignoring the last item, National was adamant that it had policies that would deliver 170,000 new jobs for this country,

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Full Story

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Key said,

New Zealand can’t keep borrowing money at $380 million a week. We can’t have New Zealanders exposed to high interested rates, New Zealanders need a plan for jobs.

This is a budget that actually delivers that.

Treasury say in the Budget, as a result of this platform on what we’ve delivered, 170,000 jobs created and 4% wage growth over the next three to four years.” – Ibid

Unfortunately, even the pro-National Party group, Business NZ could see no discernible plan from National,

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Nearly five months after Business NZ’s extraordinary criticism, National still appears to have no plan for job creation, aside from relying on Christchurch’s re-build – and a fair whack of sheer hope. Instead of implementing an economic plan from jobs, what we have is,

When the Ministry of Economic Development and Ministry of Science and Innovation, Steven Joyce, said,

A more efficient and effective ministry focused on lifting overall productivity and supporting the growth of competitive businesses is a crucial element in creating more jobs and higher wages, and boosting our standard of living.” – Source

… it appears that National has some fairly bizarre ideas as to what will create jobs.

No less disappointing is this statement from Finance Minister Bill English,  and Development Minister Steven Joyce, speaking in unison like Tweedledee and Tweedledum,

“Sustainable economic growth which creates permanent worthwhile jobs is best achieved by building a competitive economy that allows business to trade successfully with the rest of the world,” the Ministers say. ” – Source

In effect, National has adopted a hands-off policy to job creation, leaving it to the “market” to deliver new jobs,

The reality is that if we want more and better jobs for New Zealanders we need to encourage more businesses to be based here. To do that, the Government is focused on making it easier for businesses to access the six key areas they need to grow.  ” – Ibid

So having abrogated all responsibility for direct job creation in this country, National is defaulting to Plan B;

  • Deflect reponsibility by shifting blame on to victims on economic stagnation
  • Paint welfare beneficiaries as “lazy lifestylers”
  • Make life harder for welfare recipients
  • Look tough in front of National voters

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National’s Bene-Bashing Bill  will include,

  • Managed payments for young people and teen parents that will pay essential costs directly and provide a payment card for living costs.
  • Youth service providers will be incentivised to help young people into work, education or training.
  • Young people will be encouraged to take budget or parenting courses with weekly bonus payments.
  • Introduction of a guaranteed childcare assistance payment.
  • Information sharing between government departments to target school leavers likely to go on a benefit at 18.
  • Sole parents on the DPB, women alone and widow’s benefits will have to look for part-time work when their children are five or older.
  • They will have to look for full-time work when their children are 14.
  • If they have additional children while on a benefit they will have to look for work after one year.

Source

No mention of jobs.

No suggestion of  “more exports, more real jobs”,

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In fact, like Dear Leader’s   “State of the Nation” speech on 15 March, there is very little emphasis at any job creation whatsover. Throughout his  2,990 word-speech, job-creation is not mentioned once. But Key does refer to an expectation in  “reduction in long-term welfare dependency“.

How a “reduction in long-term welfare dependency” can be achieved whilst not investing in job creation is one of those unanswerable puzzles  of right wing parties like National.

It probably also did not help the plight of unemployed, solo-parents, etc, that Paula Bennett did away with most of the Training Incentive Allowance – an allowance she herself benefitted from when she was a  solo-mother,  going through University.

National is trapped. Trapped in a free-market paradigm of  hands-off government where only the ‘Market’ can create jobs, and a right wing government’s role is simply to keep taxes low; ministeries small; and regulations minimal.

The trap is that when the ‘Market” fails to deliver expectations, National is left with the ultimate responsibility of why the economy is still stagnating and so many people are out of work.

Default Plan B: shift responsibility onto welfare beneficiaries and infer that they are choosing a deliberate “lifestyle” and “welfare dependency”.

Outcome: National absolved of reponsibility.

The irony is that while right wingers are hot on personal responsibility – right wing parties like National are quick to dodge any form of it.

I leave the final word to the National Party and it’s “values”,

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Actually, no, I’ll have the last word: when National fails to deliver – expect blame to be dumped on scapegoats. Preferably the most vulnerable ones who can’t fight back.

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Additional

TVNZ: Budget 2011 – Govt predicts 170,000 new jobs

NZ Herald: Business NZ sees no economic plan

NZ Herald: Cycleway jobs fall short

NZ Herald: ‘Super ministry’ plans unveiled

Bill English: Business success at heart of Govt growth plan

Previous Blog posts

Performance Pay? Why not!

Once upon a time there was a solo-mum

Great Myths Of The 21st Century (#2)

Hypocrisy – thy name be National

Good onya, Sue!

Hon. Paula Bennett, Minister of Hypocrisy

Can we do it? Bloody oath we can!


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ACC Email Leak – Solved!

28 March 2012 4 comments

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Who leaked Michelle Boag’s email to the media?

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The Suspects

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Was it ACC?

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So, not ACC.

Next suspect,

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Not Ms Boag either.

Next suspect?

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So rule out Judith Collins.

Next?

No one? No other suspects?

In which case, the answer is obvious: the email leaked itself!

Bad, bad email!

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User Pays: the eventual conclusion

27 March 2012 1 comment

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Superman, for hire? Not quite right, is it…

Of course, we rightly view such a scene with aversion.  Some things, we just don’t expect to see with a  price levied.

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Our British cuzzies recently discovered this on Monday, when it was discovered that the governing UK Conservative Party’s top fundraiser Peter Cruddas, had been selling access to senior British government MPs and Ministers. The full story is worth reprinting,

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In a sting operation, ‘The Sunday Times’  secretly videotaped fundraiser Peter Cruddas  discussing donations. The film showed him telling undercover reporters: “200 grand ($317,000), 250 is premier league … it’ll be awesome for your business.”

If donors met Cameron, Cruddas claimed in the recording, “within that room, everything is confidential and you will be able to ask him practically any question that you want.”

‘We will listen to you’
He suggested they could even influence party policy, saying: “If you are unhappy about something, we will listen to you and we will put it into the policy committee at (the prime minister’s official residence).”

Cameron responded by saying Cruddas’ actions had been “completely unacceptable.” Cruddas, a millionaire, resigned within hours of the report.

Cruddas made the remarks to two journalists he thought were international financiers and who were accompanied by a lobbyist.

“Because we depend on donors so much we have to be careful” to show “you cannot buy access,” he said according to The Sunday Times. But, he told the undercover reporters, if you donate “you could well be at a private house having a private dinner with George Osborne, David Cameron, William Hague, the chairman around the table.”

Osborne, the cabinet minister in charge of economic and financial matters, and Foreign Minister William Hague are both members of Cameron’s center-right Conservative Party, which leads the governing coalition alongside the Liberal Democrats.

Embarrassing
The funding issue is embarrassing for Cameron, who promised before coming to power in May 2010 to curb corporate lobbying, saying it was the “next big scandal waiting to happen.”

Following the report, Cameron admitted he had used his official home at 10 Downing Street to host dinners for Conservative donors.

The scandal threatened to undo Cameron’s efforts to shake off his party’s image of being too close to the interests of business and the rich as Britain undergoes an austerity program to cut its budget deficit.

“This is not the way that we raise money in the Conservative party, it should not have happened,” said Cameron. “I will make sure that there is a proper party inquiry to make sure this can’t happen again.”

While there were also tax cuts for lower earners, the government’s recent budget went down badly with many Britons, giving the impression the government was looking after the wealthy and cared little for those suffering rising unemployment and falling incomes as the economy struggles to recover from recession.

Previous attempts to reform the political funding system have foundered on the Conservatives’ reluctance to cap donations from wealthy individuals and the opposition Labour Party’s desire to avoid limits on contributions from unions.

Msnbc.com’s F. Brinley Bruton and Reuters contributed to this report.

Acknowledgement for source: MSNBC World News

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By the next day, Britain’s Prime Minister and Leader of the UK Conservative Party, David Cameron, admitted what ‘The Sunday Times’  had uncovered,

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The article further states,

Of a dozen couples or individuals who dined with Cameron, including eight who were at a post-election celebration in July 2010, six were financiers, including three hedge fund managers, and two were property magnates. Two run manufacturing firms.

The Chequers list included the names of party treasurers as well as the millionaire property developer David Rowland and Lebanese businessman Fares Fares...

As other parties offer supporters and donors access to meetings and debates with leaders and senior officials, the Conservatives have a system for encouraging political and financial support. Their Web site offers a hierarchy of “Donors Clubs” where minimum levels of donation give increasing degrees of contact with party officials and representatives.

For the 50,000-pound ($80,000) annual membership of the “premier supporter group” – The Leader’s Group – “members are invited to join David Cameron and other senior figures from the Conservative Party at dinners, … lunches, drinks receptions, election result events and important campaign launches”. “

Cameron was at pains to reassure British voters that,

“We are more transparent than any government and any prime minister have ever been. We behaved properly.

“What Cruddas was doing was totally unacceptable.”

We have a saying here in New Zealand for that kind of statement,

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Of  course, such things don’t happen here in New Zealand. Our own National Government does not do “favours” for cash donations to the Party…

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From the Electoral Commission webpage,  “Returns of party donations exceeding $30,000“,

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Source

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From the Electoral Commission webpage,  “Returns of party donations exceeding $20,000“,
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Source

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Those are the facts, as presented from various sources.

I invite you, the reader, to draw your own conclusions, regarding the individuals; companies; their donations  and their links  to National.

(Note: The Electoral Commission webpage on returns of party donations includes donations to Labour, ACT, The Greens, and NZ First.)

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How to make a Right Winger spit the dummy…

27 March 2012 1 comment

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… in one easy step,

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The response was vitriolic, on the Comment Board at the conclusion of the story. There appeared to be a definite right-wing flavour to the virulent comments critical of Ms Wade-Brown’s trip. I re-post a few here,

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Phil   #1   08:40 am Mar 27 2012

Why does she not just pick up the phone and call them? Save ratepayers some money maybe? Chinese businesses like to have face to face meetings but I reckon if they want to do business internationally they have to get over it, people cant afford to fly across the world just for them, money is tight right now. In effect, business interests are being subsidized by the ratepayer.

wajoh   #5   09:09 am Mar 27 2012

I wonder if someone could give us the facts & figures of the success or otherwise of this junkets?

anne   #7   09:37 am Mar 27 2012

In times of austerity these sort of trips are a ‘personal want’ than a need,costing the rate payers dearly,there is no need when modern technology exsists. The govt and local govt continue to slap voters with the bills for their wasteful spending on needless endless trips away and social get-togethers.STOP IT NOW.

Shirley   #10   10:34 am Mar 27 2012

What a waste of money perhaps she can spend that money on more nessessary things for NZ – don’t tell me she is going to waste money on flying maybe she could cycle there instead !!!!

Paul   #15   12:58 pm Mar 27 2012

$645 of my money going towards potential business ties? Never. She should stay here and educate people on the new road rules.

missy   #16   01:37 pm Mar 27 2012

What a complete waste of money and time. This is what is wrong with local politics – a trip to China is not one of the CORE RESPONSIBILITIES of Council. And, what about climate change, surely the air miles are also worth noting (seeing as she is a Greenie).

Other comments were simply derogatory ad hominem insults.

But a few, who actually bothered to take the time to read the article in it’s entirety, noticed this aspect of  the impending mayoral trip,

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It is unfortunate that some are so blinded by their politics of enmity, that they can utterly mis-read a media report.

None of Ms Wade-Brown’s trenchant critics referred to the fact that the former mayor, Kerry Prendergast, had led a visit to China only thirteen months prior to the current mayor’s election. But then, Ms Prendergast was closely aligned to the National Party.

Unfortunately, even  the National-leaning (?)  Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce president, Richard Stone,  was half-hearted in his support of mayoral-led delegation, with the caveat that he’d support Ms Wade-Brown’s trip    “if there was demand from businesses“,

Business delegations to China need high ranking political figures to lead them to be succesful.”

So far twenty  businesses have  expressed interest in the trip. So Mr Stone can sleep easy at night.  So can right wing critics.

The city’s $645 will be well spent.

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Gerry Brownlee – Diplomat (Part #Rua)

27 March 2012 3 comments

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Brownlee’s “apology”,

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I’m sure that New Zealanders have been the butt of all sorts of jokes at various times and not taken offence at such a thing,” he said.

“If I’ve offended people, I’m sorry about that, all I can say it was meant to be humorous and I apologise for people not seeing the humour in it.

Source

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Gerry Brownlee is sorry because “people [did not see]  the humour”   in his obnoxious comments?! How does that constitute an “apology”??

Gerry – shut the hell  up! You’re digging a bigger hole for yourself and continuing to insult a nation and people that have done nothing to earn your mis-guided  derisory “humour”.

You are an embarressment, Gerry.  I suggest you take a holiday. A longgggg holiday. In fact, don’t bother coming back.

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Additional

Facebook Page: Send Brownlee to Finland

Scoop: Lyndon Hood: Brownlee Fighting To The Finnish

Finnish Embassy in Canberra Email address:   “Juha Parikka” <sanomat.can@formin.fi>

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Gerry Brownlee – Diplomat

26 March 2012 11 comments

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Source

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Brownlee’s apalling gaffe requires a full apology. He has not only needlessly insulted an entire nation of people – but has brought our own country into disrepute.

Mr Brownlee is a lazy, obnoxious, narrow-minded bigot who has exhibited gross incompetance as Minister in charge of Christchurch’s re-build.

Accordingly, I have expressed my own views on Brownlee’s repulsive remarks, to the Finnish Embassy in Canberra,

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Subject: An apology
Date:       Monday, 26 March, 2012 5:32 PM
From:    “Frank Macskasy” <fmacskasy@yahoo.com>
To:          “Juha Parikka” <sanomat.can@formin.fi>

Dear Sir,

It is with utmost regret that one of our elected representatives, Gerry Brownlee, has made uncalled-for derogatory remarks about your country, Finland.

Mr Brownlee is not a very cultured man, and has been elected largely on the popularity of our current Prime Minister. Many New Zealanders view him as a clown; with disdain; and he does not speak for our country.

Please accept my sincerest apology.

Regards,
– Frank Macskasy

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“Frankly Speaking”——————————https://fmacskasy.wordpress.com
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Of course, my words are “essentially humorous and satirical“.

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Previous Blogpost

Finland, some thoughts

Gerry Brownlee – “In the public interest”

Additional

Helsinki Times: No room for complacency in Finnish schools system, expert warns

Helsinki Times: Lessons from the Finnish classroom

Yle.fn: New Zealand Minister attacks Finns as uneducated, unemployed

Video of Gerry Brownlee’s comments in Parliament

OECD Country statistical profile:  New Zealand 2011-2012

OECD  Country statistical profile:  Finland 2011-2012

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