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Archive for 4 April 2012

John Key’s List of Achievements

4 April 2012 9 comments

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Another day in a lie of the National Party

4 April 2012 1 comment

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Key & English: Lying Bastards

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= That Was Then =

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Liar, liar! Pants on fire!

"National’s rebalancing of the tax system is self-funding and requires no cuts to public services or additional borrowing." - http://www.national.org.nz/files/2008/ECONOMY/Tax_Policy_Paper.pdf

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Still Lying

"This makes it absolutely clear that to fund National’s tax package there is no requirement for additional borrowing and there is no requirement to cut public services." - http://www.national.org.nz/files/2008/ECONOMY/Tax_Policy_Paper.pdf

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"If National is elected to lead the next government, I personally guarantee that we will...
...Ensure government spending is focused on frontline services such as health and education by capping the number of bureacrats and putting real discipline around government spending." - http://img.scoop.co.nz/stories/images/0810/9610985fe02ddcb32279.jpeg

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= This Was Before=

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Of course, the “cap” soon turned into cuts. Two thousand five hundred cuts.

It’s not very  fashionable to say it these days – but these were 2,500 hard working, dedicated, state sector workers who made sure that the wheels of government moved efficiently. They made sure police got their cars, radios, and tasers. They made sure doctors got their hi-tech machines-that-went-*ping*  and medicines.  They made sure schools were resourced (as much as penny-pinching politicians might permit).

And all the other jobs that are quietly done, out of sight, and which make our society function. John Key said pretty much the same thing in a speech, in March 2008.

Key was also adamant that National would not cut front-line staff, and instead would re-direct resources to where it was needed,

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Still telling porkies

"We are not going to reduce the number of front-line staff. Let me make this absolutely clear – under National the numbers of doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers, police and other front-line staff will grow.
In addition, we are not going to radically reorganise the structure of the state sector. Our focus will be on delivering services. Just as Labour has done, we will take opportunities to make changes to some agencies as part of the usual business of government. However, there will be no wholesale reorganisation or restructuring across the state sector." - http://www.johnkey.co.nz/index.php?/archives/335-SPEECH-Focusing-on-the-Front-Line.html

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Both Key and English repeated the mantra; “no cuts to frontline staff, no cuts to frontline staff, no cuts to frontline staff, no cuts to frontline staff...”

The public came to believe Dear Leader and Little Leader.

Until the day of reckoning, and the lie was exposed…

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= This Was Before=

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The first lie was that there would be a cap on the state sector.

The second lie was that there would be not cuts.

The third lie was that cuts would be made on the “backroom bureacracy”  (whatever that is), and not on the front line.

All  lies.

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Full Story

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Does anyone know if, or when  John Key, Bill English, aren’t telling lies?

This blogger has been politically involved since his late teens.  I have lived through the Muldoon regime; the Lange/Douglas “reforms”; the cock-ups of the Bolger/Richardson/Birch/Shipley circus; and the safer, more steady stewardship of Clark and Cullen.

I can tell the reader one thing: of all the governments we have had since the 1970s, the two most mendacious; dishonest; deceptive and manipulative ones have been;

*drumrolllllll*
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May we have the envelope please.

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And the winners are…

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#1. Key & English
#2. Lange & Douglas

No need to clap.

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Even Bolger – to his credit – kept to his word on most of his policies and pledges.

To my fellow New Zealanders – even to you folk who naively voted for National last November – I offer you this prediction; by the time the next election rolls around, you will be climbing over each other to cast your ballots, and to vote to throw out this shabby, dishonest, visionless ratbag regime.

You will have had a gutsful of Key’s empty promises and National’s shady dealings with casinos and other corporate interests.

You will have had enough of the relentless bad news; the growing inequality; the lack of jobs and spreading poverty; and losing more of your friends and family to Australia.

You may not even be here in New Zealand by the next election.

But I hope you still vote. We will need it.

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NZ’s 21st Century Growth Industries – Drugs, Gambling, & Prostitution

4 April 2012 2 comments

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Further to my Blogpiece – Drugs & Gambling – NZ’s 21st Century Growth Industries? – we can now add prostitution to tobacco and gambling as New Zealand’s new growth industry,

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Full Story

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According to the Herald story, the 15-story brothel will consist of the following,

  • The owners want to build 15-storey tower building on the site of the Palace Hotel.
  • It would be used for a mix of activities including a brothel, Penthouse Club, hotel and offices.
  • The first two levels of the black-toned glass building will be blank and layered by a LED screen mesh facing Victoria St.

Which should give “work” to a few dozen women as sex-workers? Let’s make an estimated guess;  fifty women working at this  ‘Mega Brothel’.

Plus 50 new jobs at the expanded cigarette plant in Petone.

Plus an estimated 1,000 jobs building Skycity’s convention centre.

Plus 900 estimated jobs staffing the new convention centre.

50

+ 50

+1,000

+900

_______

= 2,000

_______

Excellent! Two thousand new jobs. All we have to do is,

  • Train up 50 of our daughters, sisters, wives, girlfriends to be prostitutes
  • Manufacture and  export a lethal product that kills people
  • Expand a casino so we can have more problem gamblers

Two thousand new jobs. That should go some way to creating the 170,000 new jobs that John Key promised us last year,

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Full Story

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I guess we can look forward  to  Dear Leader’s  promise  of  ‘ A Brighter Future “?

Though maybe not. The 2,000 jobs above are more than  cancelled out by the 2,500 state sector workers sacked through this government’s fanatical cost-cutting exercise. So no gain there.

National will have to oversee more casino expansions; more Mega Brothels built; and maybe a few dozen more cigarette manufacturers, breweries, and distilleries. We’ll have those 170,000 new jobs,quick-smart!

I wonder though –  will WINZ be sending unemployed women to apply for jobs at brothels, or risk losing their benefits?

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Postscript: This blogpiece is not meant as criticism of the Prostitution Law Reform Act 2002, nor of those men and women who work in the sex industry.  This blogger is critical of an economic policy that results in few job opportunities except in ‘vices’, and which seems to be this country’s only current growth industry.

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Other Blog’s  Posts

Does it sicken anyone else listening to our Prime Minister defend gambling?

Additional

Govt folds for SkyCity

Green Party: Gambling Policy Summary

Tumeke: Sky City to gain $25 million from 350 more pokies in dirty deal with Government

NZ Herald: Axe tobacco, ban cigarette exports – health professor

NZ Herald: ‘Big Tobacco’ on trial  – Canada’s biggest-ever lawsuit

NZ Herald: Government gets big bucks for bad habits

NZ Herald: Public urged to give input on Auckland high-rise brothel

Scoop.co.nz:  Tourists Come to See Country & Culture – Not Casinos

Dominion Post: Will Key become Johnny-no-friends?

NZ Herald: Sky casino wants more cashless gambling

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As clear as mud

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= That Was Then =

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Enter “John Key transparency” as  parameters in a Search Engine field, and you get about 820,000 results from ‘Google’ and 2,360 from ‘Bing’. (Does the latter seems to know something we don’t?)

Transparency was one of Key’s major “buzz words” for his election campaign in 2008 and last year. He mentions it often, as in a speech he gave Local Government NZ on 26 July 2010, where the word was used six times,

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"It’s worth noting here also that the world has changed in terms of the appetite for transparency around the way we spend money...
... Of course, transparency is as important as ever in election year – be it local body elections or central government elections."

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Indeed, Dear Leader, indeed. Transparency is very important.

We’re glad you’re so supportive of transparency in government. Now, let’s check ‘your score-card’…

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= This is Now =

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Regrettably,  National appears to have abandoned all notions of transparency, and has closed down several issues from public scrutiny.

Two issues, in particular have all but been shut down by National. A veil of secrecy has been draped over the Judith Collins/ACC scandal  and National’s negotiations with Skycity to amend legislation so that the casino can expand by increasing it’s pokie machines by an estimated 350 to 500.

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Full Story

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As Economic Development Minister David Carter revealed, on 20 January, National was in negotiation with SkyCity to extend  its licence beyond its current 2021 expiry, and  to increase the number of gaming tables and pokie machines at SkyCity’s Auckland casino.

The deal would go like this; in return for building a $350 million convention centre, National would relax or amend bits of legislation that would allow Skycity to expand it’s gambling operations. Some estimate an extra 350 to 500 pokie machines would be added to the casino.

Skycity chief executive, Nigel Morrison, was quite clear that without government concessions  to their gaming license, the proposed convention centre would be only a “breakeven proposition for Skycity”.

Marcus Curley, equity analyst for Goldman Sachs was somewhat more candid when he told Interest.co.nz,

More recently, media reports (NZ Herald, February 2, 2012) have pointed to a potential increase in machine numbers at Auckland Casino between 350 and 500. Any proposed changes to gambling legislation would be subject to a full public submission process under the usual select committee process. We believe the incremental revenue from additional machines and tables will be critical in achieving an acceptable financial return on the convention centre project. “

Meanwhile, community groups, anti-gambling organisations, Opposition Parties, and even conservative-moral organisations such as Family First have condemned any suggestion for Skycity to expand it’s gambling operations. The results would be obvious except to (a) the most naive (b) the most blind, that more gambling tables and pokie machines would lead to more problem gambling.

(By coincidence, the small minority  who support Skycity’s plans are National MPs and some vociferous right wing/free market extremists/nutcases. As I said, naive and blind.)

Quite rightly, on 12 June 2011, John Key stated categorically,

Any changes to gambling regulations will be subject to a full public submission process. ” – Source

Unfortunately, as we all know by know, what John Key says – and what he eventually ends up doing – are not always the same thing.

All negotiations between National and Skycity are now being conducted in strictest secrecy. Neither John Key nor Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce are publicly disclosing what concessions National is prepared to make to Skycity.

Outgoing Internal Affairs Minister, Amy Adams, has refused to release any information or reports on government negotiations, citing “commercial sensitivity”. This is a common feature of the gambling industry, as Statistics NZ  reports,

The social and economic costs and benefits of gaming are difficult to measure as official statistical information on the industry is limited. Detailed financial information is often hard to access for reasons of commercial sensitivity…” – Source

In December 1997, as public opposition to casinos grew, a moratorium was passed on new casinos opening in New Zealand.

End of story: no more casinos.  (Oh, yeah, right… )

What Skycity is intending – with National’s secret complicity – is to by-pass that moratorium by expanding their existing  casino. No new casino – just 500 more tables and pokie machines. Because gambling is now a multi-billion dollar industry, as this data from Statics NZ sadly shows,

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Source

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This is grossly dishonest. It shows that National is willing to assist a corporation to circumvent the law and public opinion. And John Key is more than willing to allow all this to happen in secrecy, without public scrutiny.

The most absurd aspect of National’s refusal to disclose to the public what is taking place, is their constant buck-passing and referral to “commercial sensitivity”.

What “commercial sensitivity”? Skycity is the only casino in Auckland. It has very little competition as there are no other casinos competing for their clientele.

So why is it “sensitive” for National to disclose it’s negotiations with Skycity?

How can  “any changes to gambling regulations be subject to a full public submission process” if we, the public, don’t know what’s going on?

Why this paranoid need for such secrecy?

What is John Key and National hiding?

In an almost prophetic article written by Gordon Campbell in November 2008, he said,

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The Key government has made it clear that public –private partnerships (PPPs) will be a major part of the country’s planning over the next decade. These projects entail a major commitment of taxpayer funds and public liabilities.

Before we begin down that track, what kind of commitments will the new government provide that ‘commercial sensitivity” will NOT be invoked to conceal from the public the details of these contracts ? Upfront, there needs to be a commitment to utter transparency in the structure and ongoing outcomes of PPP contracts – and the firms bidding for the work need to be told beforehand that their acceptance of such transparency will be a condition of them getting the work. In Canada and in Australia, it has proved extremely difficult for the public to find out just how PPP contracts involving hundreds of millions of dollars of their money are structured, and how the patterns of risk and profit will actually play out, over time.

Why, without a commitment to forego commercial sensitivity on PPPs, we may never know how well or badly the Key government is performing in one of its pet areas. Key has promised “outcomes, results and accountability” from the new Cabinet that is being sworn in today. The media is currently celebrating that kind of talk – without bothering its pretty little head unduly about how, and whether, they will be able to measure the walk. ” – Source

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Full Story

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In a move reminiscent of John Key’s use of the Police as National’s private para-military security force, in the Teapot Tape fiasco, ACC Minister Judith Collins  has laid a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner. She has also, allegedly, issued a defamation lawsuit against Labour MPs Trevor Mallard, Andrew Little, and Radio NZ. It is unclear, at this stage if she has actually carried out her threat of legal action.

It is this blogger’s belief that Collins has little interest in any actual investigation by the Privacy Commissioner, nor lawsuit against the two MPs and Radio NZ.

What we are witnessing is a cunning plan by the Minister. It is a plan so cunning that… she has all but succeeded in closing down one aspect of the ACC/Pullar/Collins/Smith/Boag/Slater/??? scandal.  She has successfully extricated herself from the issue by claiming some sort of “sub judice” principle,

Order Paper and questions

Questions for oral answer

3. Accident Compensation Corporation—Release of Personal Information

[Advance Copy – Subject to minor change before inclusion in Bound Volume.]

3. ANDREW LITTLE (Labour) to the Minister for ACC: When was the email she received between 12 March 2012 and 18 March 2012 from Michelle Boag concerning Bronwyn Pullar and the involvement of both in a meeting over a mass privacy breach first printed by her or a staff member in her office?

Hon JUDITH COLLINS (Minister for ACC) : Since this matter is before the Privacy Commissioner, it is not in the public interest for me to answer that.

Andrew Little: Does she stand by her statement in an interview on Radio Live this morning, commencing at 8.22 a.m., that “I know exactly what has happened in terms of my office and myself.”?

Hon JUDITH COLLINS: I stand by all my statements.

Andrew Little: In whose custody and control was the copy or copies of the email that was made in her office placed?

Hon JUDITH COLLINS: That matter is before the Privacy Commissioner, and it is not in the public interest for me to answer that.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I want to hear Andrew Little’s question.

Andrew Little: What instructions did she give to any staff in her office, or any ACC staff member, in relation to the Michelle Boag email or any copy of it?

Hon JUDITH COLLINS: Since that matter is before the Privacy Commissioner, it is not in the public interest for me to answer that. ” – Source

Collins has been repeating, by rote, “that matter is before the Privacy Commissioner, it is not in the public interest for me to answer that“.

It means every time the media, an Opposition MP,  or anyone else asks Collins to respond to an embarressing question regarding her involvement in the ACC/Pullar/[Collins]/Smith/Boag/Slater/??? scandal – she has a convenient excuse to avoid answering.

In which case, one can only wonder what it is that Collins does not wish to  comment on?

Ignoring an inconvenient question by responding with “No Comment” used to be the stock response of politicians caught in the public spotlight and media glare. It often signified that they were keeping their mouth firmly shut to avoid further implicating themselves in whatever scandal was the order of the day.

But “no comment” became synonymous with “I’m guilty as sin”.

Hence why the spin doctors, media advisors, political strategists, and other sundry Party apparatchiks now have a new means to protect their wage-paying  Parliamentary masters: sub judice.

The process is  ridiculously simple;

  1. Lay a complaint with Police/Courts/Commissioners – or alternatively initiate  an Inquiry
  2. Deflect any questions thereafter by saying “That matter is before the – – – – “
  3. Then shut up.

Easy-peasy.

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So much for Key’s committment to “tranparency”. His government is as transparent as a muddy river.

When a government resorts to this sort of subterfuge, it’s fairly obvious that transparency has given way to furtiveness and secrecy. It indicates a government that is badly on the back-foot; vulnerable to criticism; and in a defensive mode.

It took Labour three terms to achieve such a state of hyper-sensitivity to criticism.

National has achieved it after only one term. Not exactly a position of strength and confidence in which to begin their second term.

It is the first subtle indication of a government on it’s way out.  God knows how they will end this term, if this is how they are starting out.

Not very well, I suspect. In fact, prepare for an early election or change of government.

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Previous Blogposts

Drugs & Gambling – NZ’s 21st Century Growth Industries?

John Key has another un-named source???

Other Blog’s posts

Citizen A online NOW – ACC fratricide, Ports of Auckland legal failure and convention center bribes

Fearfactsexposed: Government’s control of media sends a shiver down democracy’s spine

Additional

Listen to more on Radio NZ’s  Morning Report

Gordon Campbell: 90s Cabinet Gets Key Coat of Varnish

Statistics NZ: Gaming: an economically significant industry

Casinos safer than pubs, Key says

SkyCity would need at least 350 extra gambling machines for NZ$350 mln convention centre investment to be worth it, Goldman Sachs analyst says

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