Archive

Archive for June, 2014

Nat’s courts good, Labour’s courts bad?!

30 June 2014 1 comment

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party-logos - which

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It seems that some special Courts are “bad”, according to National;

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National - Labour's quake court poorly considered

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… whilst other special Courts are good, according to National;

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New ACC tribunal to replace District Court

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Kinda hard to know what National thinks is a “good” or “bad” idea…

… unless it involves giving away our taxdollars to corporates in subsidies and bailouts, and screwing the poor, beneficiaries,  and workers even further.

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References

TV3 News:  National – Labour’s quake court poorly considered

NZ Herald: New ACC tribunal to replace District Court


 

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Vote and be the change

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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Political cartoon of the Week!

29 June 2014 2 comments

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john key cartoon garrick tremain

 

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Why this young chap will be voting National…

28 June 2014 3 comments

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20 September

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Why Curwen Rolinson will be voting “National” (actually, for Paul Goldsmith) on Election Day…

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why I'm voting national in Epsom

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… in Epsom, it will be every Labour, Green, Mana, and NZ First supporters duty to cast their electorate vote for Paul Goldsmith!

A vote for National candidate, Paul Goldsmith, is one more vote to keep ACT’s David Seymour out.

Because, you know, it just makes good sense!

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References

Facebook: Why I’m voting National

Previous related blogposts

Interview: A Young NZer’s Thirst to make a Difference

Other blogs

The Daily Blog: Curwen Rolinson – The Campaign To Elect Paul Goldsmith

The Daily Blog: Pat O’Dea – Mana Candidate for Epsom Strategy Statement

 


 

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Vote and be the change

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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The Donghua Liu Affair – Damn lies, dirty tricks, and a docile media

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Dirt Unit

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Preface

The style of political journalism is an important issue as increasing political resources go into controlling news and there are fewer news media resources  available to cut through the spin. Such a situation plays into the hands of the Croby/Textor political manipulators. Their aim is not to create interested, intelligent and engaged citizens, because that is not in their clients’ short-term interests. Their job is easier if the public is ‘sick’ of politics, ‘bored’ by the election and not thinking hard about the issues – and not challenged by a strong, independent  media. Vote winning can then be the science of winning people over via vague feelings of self-interest, indignation, fear or jealousy.” – Nicky Hager, p262,  “The Hollow Men

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Timeline

11 April 2003:  David Cunliffe writes to Immigration NZ, on behalf on his constituent, Donghua Liu;

“I have been approached by my constituent Donghua Lui [sic] who is concerned at the time it is taking to process his Investment Category application.

Mr Liu’s [sic] application was accepted for processing by the Business Migration Branch on 13 August 2002.

Mr Lui [sic] wishes to set up a joint venture including Well Lee Ltd, Equus Hawk o8 ltd and Tan Long Property Development Co Ltd who will export large quantities of agricultural and horticultural products to China.

It is hope that products from the company will be available to the market in July 2003.

I am aware of the difficulties facing the Business Migration Branch of New Zealand Immigration Services in coping with the overwhelming numbers of applicants that have applied for consideration under these categories and the time taken to verify documents. However it would be very helpful to Mr Liu to be advised of an estimated period of time period [sic] in which he could expect a decision on his case.

Your assistance in this matter is appreciated.

Yours sincerely

David Cunliffe
MP for New Lynn”

2004: Donghua Liu granted permanent residency by then-immigration minister Damien O’Connor, against  official advice.

2006: Donghua Liu claims that he;

…visited Barker in Hawke’s Bay… having dinner with him at an exclusive lodge and then meeting for breakfast the next morning. Liu said he made a donation to Hawke’s Bay Rowing, which Barker was associated with.

(The claim is made eight years later.)

3 June 2007: Donghua Liu claims that he  supposedly won  a $15,000 signed book at a Labour Party fundraising auction.

In the same year, he also claims to have paid “close to $100,000” for four bottles of wine [‘Cold Duck’? – Blogger] at a 2007 Labour Party fundraiser.

(These claims are made seven years later, and the Labour Party says it cannot find any record of the alleged donations/payments. The date, 3 June 2007, is contained in a NZ Herald story, on 22 June 2014.)

Liu also claims;

That he spent $50-60,000 hosting then-labour minister Rick Barker on a cruise on the Yangtze River in China.

(This claim, also, is made seven years later.)

2010: Donghua Liu given NZ citizenship, by Immigration Minister Nathan Guy,  against official advice, and after lobbying by Maurice Williamson, then Minister for Building and Construction, and John Banks, then Mayor of Auckland. Maurice Williamson performs the citizenship ceremony the day after it is granted, in his electorate offices.

2 September 2011: The first stage of a proposed $70 million hotel project is opened by Donghua Liu, with Prime Minister John Key attending;

The project, which is the brainchild of Remuera businessman Donghua Liu, will involve the development of open spaces, high-value residential apartments, education facilities and a new five-star hotel.

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Opening of Boulevard hotel project - john Key - Donghua Liu.

Opening of Boulevard hotel project - john Key - Donghua Liu - (2)jpg

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“My vision is to create buildings and open spaces that fit with Newmarket’s already proud heritage and community and help promote New Zealand tourism to visitors from China and elsewhere,” Mr Liu, a New Zealand resident since 2004, said today.

2012: A business, owned by Donghua Liu, donates $22,000 to the National party.

April, 2013: Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse meets  with Chinese businessman Donghua Liu (which the Herald will report on 7 May 2014).

13 March 2014: John Key denies anything “untoward” in Donghua Liu receiving a ministerial waiver (from Guy Nathan) to become a NZ Citizen, which was followed later by a $22,000 donation to the National Party;

“I just don’t accept the proposition there’s anything untoward there.”

Key said a minister advocating a person for citizenship was “not at all unusual”.

Liu was a substantial investor in New Zealand and “lots of people get ministerial waivers”.

14 March: Donghua Liu arrested and charged with domestic violence assault on two women.

22 March: NZ Herald reports that Donghua Lui’s $70 million four-star hotel project has failed to materialise;

Liu also told Chinese media at the ribbon-cutting ceremony that his plans for the $70 million redevelopment of the former Carlton Bowling Club site was unlikely to go beyond the design stage unless the Government cut the $10 million threshold.

“Like many developers throughout the construction, our group is constrained by a lack of access to capital. An improvement to business migrant rules would allow the group to source the equity capital it needs from overseas, particularly from China,” Liu told a Chinese newspaper at the launch.

“Without that improvement, it is likely that stages two and three will be stalled indefinitely.”

The same Herald article refers to right-wing commentator; National Party apparatchik, and professional lobbyist, Matthew Hooton, being hired by Donghua Liu, to change business migration laws in this country;

Liu hired consultancy group Exceltium, run by political consultant Matthew Hooton, to lobby the Government over the business immigration rules.

1 May: National Minister, Maurice Williamson forced to resign after attempts by him to influence a police investigation into Donghua Liu’s alleged assault case, becomes public knowledge.

3 May: Donghua Liu signs statement claiming donations amounting to $150,000 were made to the Labour Party, which the NZ Herald will report on 22 June.

7 May: NZ Herald reports;

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse has confirmed that he met with Chinese businessman Donghua Liu, and heard his requests for a change in immigration policy. 

Mr Woodhouse said Mr Liu – who was involved in National MP Maurice Williamson’s resignation – lobbied him in April or May at the businessman’s Newmarket hotel.

The minister said Mr Liu lobbied him to change the rules of the business migrant scheme.

“We traversed a range of … issues about how the investor category could be improved, and I took on board those issues.”

Mr Liu was seeking a new immigration category in which non-English speakers could pay less than the $10 million threshold.

May 8*: Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse is questioned in the House and by media about his meetings and any National Party association with Donghua Liu. Mr Woodhouse requests information on the file to see if there is anything relevant that he needs to know about.

The Herald [also] requests Liu’s residency file under the Official Information Act (OIA)

May 9*: In response to file review, Mr Woodhouse is verbally advised – among other things – of the existence of two Parliamentary advocacy letters regarding Donghua Liu, one from Mr Cunliffe and another from the office of Chris Carter.

Weekend of 10-11 May*: Mr Woodhouse informs Prime Minister John Key’s Office of the existence of the letters.

Week 12-16 May*: Mr Woodhouse’s office receives hard copy of letters.

Mid-late May*: Mr Woodhouse’s office provides copy of letters to the Prime Minister’s office.

16 June*: The Herald run story on Labour donations and connections. The Herald’s OIA request is declined on privacy grounds. The Herald puts in a refined OIA request for MP representations for Donghua Liu to Immigration NZ.

17 June: David Cunliffe denies ever having advocated for Donghua Liu.

18 June*: Immigration NZ release Mr Cunliffe’s 2003 Donghua Liu letter to the Herald

19 June: John Key says he had previously known about the 2003 letter;

“Can’t exactly recall, I think it was a few weeks ago.”

A Radio NZ report quoted Deputy PM, Bill English;

19 June morning:

But hours later on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report programme on Thursday, Bill English had a different story, saying no one in Government knew about it until Wednesday. “As I understand it, it’s a response to an OIA (Official Information Act request) to the Immigration Service and we wouldn’t know a lot about what’s on their files,” he said.

19 June afternoon:

However in the afternoon, Mr English told reporters the letter had been sent to Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse some time ago as part of information he received from the Immigration Service after Mr Williamson’s resignation.

“For a number of weeks there were questions in the House about Mr Donghua Liu and you would expect a competent minister to get together the relevant information.”

June 19*:

• 2pm Mr Woodhouse denies telling Mr Key about the letters

• 3pm Mr Woodhouse says officials from his office briefed Mr Key’s office on the letters.

• 7pm Mr Woodhouse’s office says the minister himself told Mr Key’s office about the letters and his office also gave copies of the letters to Mr Key’s office.

19 June: Shane Jones denies he is the source of  revelations regarding David Cunliffe and Donghua Liu.

19 June: Key confirms he knows more about the revelations;

“I’ve heard the rumours and in the end we’ll see what actually comes out but I’ll be very very amazed if the amount is $15,000.”

Asked if it was hundreds of thousands of dollars, Key said: “We’ll see … that’s for the Labour Party to make clear to the New Zealand public.”

20 June: Blogger lodges formal OIA request to John Key, Bill English, and Michael Woodhouse;

This is a request lodged under the Official Information Act.

Please provide me with copies of all correspondence, minutes, notes, reports, and any other written or otherwise recording, relating to any and all activities surrounding the procurement; storage; and planned circumstances of the release of the letter between David Cunliffe and Donghua Liu dated 11 April 2003.

This includes a request for all communications relating to the letter between David Cunliffe and Donghua Liu dated 11 April 2003, which may have occurred between yourself; any and all staffmembers in your office; any member of the National Party; any blogger; any media person; and any other group or individual who was contacted on this issue.

Information may be emailed to me, or, if the file is too large, I can supply a postal address for hard copies.

Regards,
-Frank Macskasy
Blogger

21 June: Donghua Liu claims that  he has donated money “equally to Governments of both colours”.

22 June: NZ Herald publishes claim that Donghua Liu has contributed $150,000 to Labour Party. The claim is made in a signed statement by Liu. The Herald report states that Liu paid $100,000 for a bottle of wine;

Millionaire businessman Donghua Liu spent more than $150,000 on the previous Labour government, including $100,000 on a bottle of wine signed by former prime minister Helen Clark at a party fundraiser.

However, a Radio NZ report on the same day states that the money was paid for four bottles;

General secretary of the Labour Party Tim Barnett said the newspaper told him it was $100,000 for four bottles, not one, but even so, he does not have record of such a transaction.

23 June:

7.32am: NZ Herald editor, Tim Murphy, interviewed in Radio NZ’s “Morning Report“, and says that the Herald received a copy of Donghua Liu’s  3 May signed statement “on Saturday”. Murphy confirms that the document was a statement, not an affidavit. Murphy refuses to say how the Herald acquired the statement.

11.05am: Mike Williams, past-President of Labour Party,  states on Radio NZ’s “Nine To Noon” politics panel, that he is  not aware of any donation from Donghua Liu, nor any fund-raising event of Liu’s description, on the date Liu asserts.

“This, this,  supposedly happened on my watch.  And I’ve got a lot of problems with that. I think if anyone had paid $100,000 for a bottle of wine, I would know about it.”

Williams says that he and Party General Secretary, Mike Smith, were assiduous in record keeping and a donation of that magnitude could not be over-looked.

Williams also referred to Liu claiming that he donated “equally to Governments of both colours“, and suggested that if that was correct, that National had failed to properly report and account for $130,000 in donations.

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Questions

1.

If, as Mr Liu claims, he donated $150,000 to the Labour Party in 2007, why has no one come forward to confirm this event? $150,000 is a large sum of money and very difficult to forget. Even John Key, with the best of his brain-fades, could not help but recall such an event.

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Mr Liu has signed only a statement, not an affidavit. There is a great deal of difference between the two forms of documents. A signed statement has very  little legal standing.

But a signed and witnessed affidavit is a legal document, as outlined in Section 197 of the Evidence Act 2006, to whit;

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197 Solicitor may take affidavit or declaration

  • (1) It is lawful for any solicitor of the High Court to take the affidavit or declaration of any person in relation to any criminal proceedings that are certified in accordance with this section to be pending in any overseas court.

    (2) An affidavit or declaration referred to in subsection (1) must be intituled In the matter of section 197 of the Evidence Act 2006, and a declaration referred to in subsection (1) may be expressed to be made under the provisions of this section.

    (3) No affidavit or declaration referred to in subsection (1) may be taken unless the solicitor taking it has received a written certificate—

    • (a) from the overseas court that the affidavit or declaration is required for the purpose of criminal proceedings pending in the court; or

    • (b) from an overseas representative of the country in which the overseas court exercises jurisdiction that he or she believes the affidavit or declaration to be required for the purpose of criminal proceedings pending in the overseas court.

    (4) A certificate for the purposes of subsection (3)(a) may be given by any Judge or judicial officer of the overseas court, or by any Registrar or other officer of that court.

    (5) If a certificate is given under subsection (3)(b), the jurat or attestation of the affidavit or declaration must state the name and official designation of the overseas representative on whose certificate the affidavit or declaration has been taken.

    (6) In this section—

    affidavit means any affidavit or affirmation made before a solicitor of the High Court

    declaration means any written statement declared by the maker of the statement to be true in the presence of a solicitor of the High Court.

    Compare: 1908 No 56 s 48F(1)–(6)

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Making a false declaration under the Act, is covered under Section 198;

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198 False affidavit or declaration

  • (1) Every affidavit or declaration taken under section 197 is deemed to have been made in a judicial proceeding within the meaning of the Crimes Act 1961, and any person who falsely makes an affidavit or declaration of that kind is guilty of perjury or of making a false declaration accordingly.

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Which infers that the signed statement which Liu made, and which the Herald claims to have in it’s possession, does not have the same weight as an affidavit.

If it can be proven that Liu was lying, he will suffer no legal consequences.

It may explain why Liu refuses, point blank, to swear an affidavit. Why has Liu not made an actual affidavit?

3.

On 19 June, Bill English, John Key, and Michael Woodhouse, offered varying accounts when and how long, they had been in possession of the 2003 letter between Cunliffe and Immigration NZ.

It was not until some hours later that they amended their public statements.

Can they explain their discrepancies in the varying times they gave?

4.

On 21 June,  Donghua Liu claimed that  he has donated moneyequally to Governments of both colours“.

But according to him, he gave $150,000 to Labour, and only $22,000 to National. That is not “equally to Governments of both colours” by any measure or definition. He (supposedly) gave $128,000 more to Labour than to National.

Can he explain that discrepancy in his statement?

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On 22 June, NZ Herald journalist, Bevan Hurley, wrote that Liu paid $100,000 for a bottle of wine;

Millionaire businessman Donghua Liu spent more than $150,000 on the previous Labour government, including $100,000 on a bottle of wine signed by former prime minister Helen Clark at a party fundraiser.

However, this was contradicted by a  Radio NZ report on the same day, stating that the money was paid for four bottles;

General secretary of the Labour Party Tim Barnett said the newspaper [NZ Herald]  told him it was $100,000 for four bottles, not one, but even so, he does not have record of such a transaction.

Can Hurley, or any other person working for the Herald, explain that discrepancy?

6.

If, as a 22 March NZ Herald story stated, that Donghua Lui’s $70 million four-star hotel project has failed to materialise, what action has this government taken on what appears to have been a breech of the business migration visa conditions (?)  of Liu’s residency and subsequent citizenship?

What guarantee can there be, that migrants given residency and citizenship, under the Investor Plus (Investor 1 Category), and Investor (Investor 2 Category), who promise to undertake specific developments,  will carry out their obligations?

What sanctions and remedies are available, should migrants given residency and citizenship, under the Investor Plus (Investor 1 Category), and Investor (Investor 2 Category), who promise to undertake specific developments, fail to do so?

7.

On 22 June 2014, Labour Party president, Moira Coatsworth categorically stated;

No-one has provided any documentary evidence to us that contradicts our records.

We continue to call on Donghua Liu and any third parties who might have information about these allegations, including the Prime Minister, to place what they know into the public domain or to refer to the regulators.

We have had no approaches from the Electoral Commission or any regulatory agency. We have always cooperated with regulators, and will always do so when required.

The same Herald story reveals that the Herald refuses to provide a copy of Liu’s signed statement to the Labour Party, which Coatsworth says,

“We consider this to be a denial of natural justice.”

7a. Why has the Herald refused to provide a copy of Liu’s signed statement to the Labour Party?

7b. Why has Liu refused to provide evidence of a $150,000 payment/donation to the Labour Party?

7c. How was Liu’s alleged payment made? Cheque? Bank transfer? A suitcase stuffed full of money? (Even a cash payment could be proven by showing when and where a withdrawal of that amount was made.)

7d. Can Liu provide witnesses to the event?

7e. Why has the Herald not made the statement public?

8.

Liu claims he signed a statement on 3 May 2014, to the effect that he “donated” $150,000 to the Labour Party.

8a. Why did he feel the need to make such a statement?

8b. Did someone else prompt or request for him to make such a state?

8c. Why did Liu not offer a copy to the Labour Party?

8d. Who else has a copy of the statement?

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9a. Who else knew about the 2003 letter, before it was published by the Herald?

9b. Was the Herald ‘tipped of’ about the letter before it lodged it’s OIA request?

9c. What was the involvement of John Key, Bill English, Michael Woodhouse, and Key’s chief of staff, Wayne Eagleson, in this affair?

9d. What active role did  Mathew Hooton have, in this affair?

9e. What active role did  the head of Key’s media team, Jason Ede, have in this affair?

10.

How does Liu reconcile his claims for the date of the Labour Party fundraiser being held on 3 June 2007 (as reported in a NZ Herald story, on 22 June 2014) when the Labour Party can find no record of any such event occurring on that day?

11.

Will the Police proceed in their prosecution of Donghua Liu?

Or will charges for assaulting two women be dropped “for lack of evidence”?

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And perhaps the last question – the most important question – why hasn’t the media been asking these questions?

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Conclusions

  • Donations via Electoral Commission

If New Zealanders cannot stomach state funding for political parties, and the elimination of private donors to parties, then the next best thing – Plan ‘B’ – is that all donations,  or fund-raising over a certain amount ($1,000? $5,000?), be channelled through the Electoral Commission. The Commission would duly record each donation and donor’s details, and pass it on to the relevant party.

This might not be the solution to the problem of unrecorded donations, but it might  be a helpful tool. It would certainly give the Commission an opportunity to make immediate, further enquiries relating to a specific donation. Eg; a fund-raising dinner at Antoinette’s in 2010, which raised $105,000 from twentyone donors, but which was recorded only as a ‘lump sum’ donation from the restaurant – without naming all twentyone people who gave money.

This might offer an additional measure of transparency to the donations system.

Any party avoiding the system would do so at it’s peril, eventually being found out.

  • Cancel Investor Visa (Investors 1 & 2 Category)

It is perhaps time for the Investor Visa (Investors 1 & 2 Category) to be reviewed, and dumped.

The system appears to be open to rorting, with a residency-for-donations system in place that has been exploited by National (and Labour?).

But it is not just that Donghua Liu gave $22,000 to National, and was subsequently  granted citizenship.

We have also seen the case of Susan Chou, of Oravida Ltd, whose company  donated $200,000 in two amounts in 2010, and $156,600 to the National Party in three lots, throughout 2011 (31 May, 22 November,  and 30 November). A month later, on 27 January 2012,  National Government ministers approved Shanghai Pengxin’s application to purchase sixteen Crafar farms in receivership.

Oravida, as many will recall, was the dairy company at the center of a recent scandal involving Minister Judith Collins and her husband, David Tung. Tung also happens to be a company director of Oravida.

If this is not corruption, then it certainly has the perception of it.

Whether Labour has also exploited the business migration scheme is unknown. Liu’s claims may be real – or an utter fabrication and part of a very cunning smear campaign against Labour, during an election that promises to be close-run.

The only way to eliminate any possibility of inappropriate activities such as citizenship-for-donations, and other favours-for-donations, is to dump the business migration scheme once and for all.

It is simply too open to abuse.

  • Extreme caution  with relations with business people

If the Oravida scandal;  Kim Dotcom saga, and Donghua Liu mystery have shown anything, it is that ministers of the crown should exercise extreme caution when dealing with members of the business community. Especially businesspeople from cultures where “gifting” for political patronage is considered the norm.

After the wounds inflicted on Judith Collins and David Cunliffe, and the destruction of John Banks’ and Taito Phillip Fields‘ political careers, it would be a very, very foolish Member of Parliament or Minister of the Crown, to try his/her luck with secret dealings.

We are simply too small a country.

  • The C.R.E.E.P.** Team

It is my sincerest, honestly-held  belief, that the Donghua Liu Affair has been a carefully orchestrated dirty trick, designed to smear the leader of the Labour Party, David Cunliffe.

It is my sincerest, honestly-held  belief, that it was not orchestrated by anyone within the Labour Party, such as the ABC faction. Their careers would be gone by breakfast if it could be shown that any of them were responsible, in part, or whole.

It is my sincerest, honestly-held  belief, that this smear campaign was orchestrated deep within the National Party, and that at least two well known National Party apparatchiks were involved.

It is my sincerest, honestly-held  belief, that Donghua Liu was persuaded to participate in this scheme around early May, when he signed his statement. It is my sincerest, honestly-held  belief, that he was offered, in return, that charges against him for assaulting two women, would either be dropped, or “no evidence presented” at the Court case.

It is my sincerest, honestly-held  belief, that this smear campaign was designed as ‘utu’ for the forced resignation of Maurice Williamson. Donghua Liu signed his statement two days after Williamson’s resignation.

Therein lies the clue: Donghua Liu signed his statement two days after Williamson’s resignation. Because Williamson’s resignation left some very, very angry people who could barely wait to exact revenge.

It is my prediction that the truth will come out very quickly on this issue, and it will destroy National’s chances to win this election – much like “Corngate” nearly  destroyed Labour’s chances to win the 2002 general election.

This will end John Key’s career.

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* Timeline info  taken from NZ Herald story, Woodhouse ‘clarifies’ story on Cunliffe’s Liu letter. Hat-tip, Martyn Bradbury, from blogpost, Cunliffe can’t remember an 11 year old letter and has to resign but Woodhouse can’t remember a 6 week old letter he told Prime Minister about and isn’t resigning?

** CREEP – Committee to RE Elect the Prime minister (See: Watergate)


References

NZ Herald: David Cunliffe wrote letter supporting Liu’s residency bid

Fairfax media: David Cunliffe advocated for Donghua Liu

NZ Herald: Businessman ‘donated to Governments of both colours’

NZ Herald: Businessman gifts $150k to Labour Party

Fairfax media: Key – ‘Nothing untoward’ in citizenship waiver

NZ Herald: Businessman in citizenship row up on violence charges

Radio NZ: Labour has no record of reported Liu donation

NZ Herald: Labour Party hits back at donation claims

Otago Daily Times: Losing patience with politicians

NZ Herald: Citizenship, then $22k for Nats

Scoop Auckland:Share PM to open first stage of Donghua Liu’s $70m Newmarket redevelopment project

NZ Herald: Weeds choke $70m dream

TV3: Maurice Williamson resigns as minister

NZ Herald: Labour Party hits back at donation claims

NZ Herald: MP confirms meeting with Donghua Liu

TV1 News: Cunliffe – ‘I did not tell a lie’ about Liu

Radio NZ: Cunliffe accuses Govt of smear campaign

NZ Herald: Woodhouse ‘clarifies’ story on Cunliffe’s Liu letter

Radio NZ: PM and deputy at odds over Cunliffe letter

TV3: Shane Jones denies he is Cunliffe source

Fairfax media: David Cunliffe digs in amid rumours, poll woe

NZ Herald: Businessman ‘donated to Governments of both colours’

Immigration NZ:  Migrant Investment categories

NZ Herald: Businessman gifts $150k to Labour Party

Radio NZ: Morning Report – New Zealand Herald stands by its story

Radio NZ: Nine To Noon politics panel

Legislation:  Evidence Act 2006

Radio NZ: Labour dismisses Liu donation claims

Immigration NZ:  Migrant Investment categories

TV3:  Key not talking about fundraising dinner

Interest.co.nz: Govt Ministers rubber stamp Overseas Investment Office approval of Shanghai Pengxin’s Crafar farms bid

Previous related blogposts

National’s fund-raising at Antoine’s – was GST paid?

Doing ‘the business’ with John Key – Here’s How (Part # Rua)

Other blogposts

The Standard: The middle of Queens birthday weekend? Yeah right!

The Daily Blog: Cunliffe can’t remember an 11 year old letter and has to resign but Woodhouse can’t remember a 6 week old letter he told Prime Minister about and isn’t resigning?


 

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Lorde wants you to vote

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 23 June 2014.

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‘Tricky’ media…

25 June 2014 4 comments

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NZ Herald - if you think, the bolsheviks win

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In case anyone finds it hard to believe that some in  the msm (mainstream media) are politically partisan, the screen-shot below – of a recent NZ Herald story – should help  dispel such doubts;

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NZ Herald - Key on Liu-Labour link - More to come - David Cunliffe

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Notice the two disparate images.

On the left, Key’s image portrays him as smiling and obviously confident and relaxed.His authority is not under threat.

The image on the right, depicting David Cunliffe, shows him scowling; mouth open in mid-retort; obviously in a defensive and angry position. His leadership authority is shown to be in question in that image.  (Hence the old expression, “if you become angry, you have lost the argument“.)

It is a subtle piece of visual propaganda; one is calm, poised, confident. The other is emotional, upset, obviously responding to an attack.

So this is supposedly  an example of an impartial, non-partisan media?

And journos wonder why a large sector of  society view them with disdain and suspicion?

If the Reader’s Digest  Most Trusted Professions for 2013 is any indication, journalists need to work on their integrity;

1. Paramedics
2. Firefighters
3. Rescue volunteers
4. Nurses
5. Pilots
6. Doctors
7. Pharmacists
8. Veterinarians
9. Police
10. Armed Forces personnel
11. Scientists
12. Teachers
13. Childcare workers
14. Dentists
15. Farmers
16. Bus/train/tram drivers
17. Flight attendants
18. Architects
19. Chefs
20. Electricians
21. Miners
22. Computer technicians
23. Postal workers
24. Hairdressers
25. Builders
26. Plumbers
27. Mechanics
28. Accountants
29. Truck drivers
30. Waiters
31. Bankers
32. Charity collectors
33. Shop assistants
34. Clergy (all religions)
35. Cleaners
36. Personal trainers
37. Lawyers
38. Taxi drivers
39. Financial planners
40. CEOs
41. Call centre staff
42. Airport baggage handlers
43. Journalists
44. Real estate agents
45. Insurance salespeople
46. Politicians
47. Sex workers
48. Car salespeople
49. Door-to-door salespeople
50. Telemarketers

Lumped in with politicians, car salespeople, etc, is not a desirable place, one would think.

This will be a dirty election as the Right (National and ACT) with their media allies (NZ Herald, NBR, and rantback radio hosts) pull out the stops to destroy a resurgent Left. Those who hold power will not give it up easily.

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Rich people paying rich people to tell the news

 

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References

NZ Herald:  Key on Liu-Labour link: More to come

Reader’s Digest: New Zealand’s Most Trusted Professions 2013


 

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john key is scared of your vote

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 20 June 2014.

 

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Let’s cast the net and see what rotten fish we catch…

25 June 2014 9 comments

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Dirt Unit
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Let’s cast the net and see what rotten garbage we dredge up.

No doubt a request like the ones below may result in two things;

  1. Furrowed brows in the Prime Minister’s Department, as  Jason Ede and other National Party apparatchiks work out how to fulfil their legal obligations under the Act – without disclosing how this little anti-Cunliffe campaign was orchestrated.
  2. Other MSM media following suit with their own requests.

National may well find that they have opened a can of worms with their dirty tricks ‘black ops’.

Here we go…

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from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: John Key <john.key@parliament.govt.nz>
date: Thu, Jun 19, 2014 at 9:35 PM
subject: Official Information Request
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Kia ora Mr Key.
This is a request lodged under the Official Information Act.
Please provide me with copies of all correspondence, minutes, notes, reports, and any other written or otherwise recording, relating to any and all activities surrounding the procurement; storage; and planned circumstances of the release of the letter between David Cunliffe and Donghua Liu dated 11 April 2003.
This includes a request for all communications relating to the letter between David Cunliffe and Donghua Liu dated 11 April 2003, which may have occurred between yourself; any and all staffmembers in your office; any member of the National Party; any blogger; any media person; and any other group or individual who was contacted on this issue.
Information may be emailed to me, or, if the file is too large, I can supply a postal address for hard copies.
Regards,
-Frank Macskasy
Blogger

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from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Michael Woodhouse <michael.woodhouse@parliament.govt.nz>
date: Thu, Jun 19, 2014 at 10:00 PM
subject: Official Information Request
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Kia ora Mr Woodhouse.
This is a request lodged under the Official Information Act.
Please provide me with copies of all correspondence, minutes, notes, reports, and any other written or otherwise recording, relating to any and all activities surrounding the procurement; storage; and planned circumstances of the release of the letter between David Cunliffe and Donghua Liu dated 11 April 2003.
This includes a request for all communications relating to the letter between David Cunliffe and Donghua Liu dated 11 April 2003, which may have occurred between yourself; any and all staffmembers in your office; any member of the National Party; any blogger; any media person; and any other group or individual who was contacted on this issue.
Information may be emailed to me, or, if the file is too large, I can supply a postal address for hard copies.
Regards,
-Frank Macskasy
Blogger

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from: Frank Macskasy <fmacskasy@gmail.com>
to: Bill English <bill.english@parliament.govt.nz>
date: Thu, Jun 19, 2014 at 9:36 PM
subject: Official Information Request
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Kia ora Mr English.
This is a request lodged under the Official Information Act.
Please provide me with copies of all correspondence, minutes, notes, reports, and any other written or otherwise recording, relating to any and all activities surrounding the procurement; storage; and planned circumstances of the release of the letter between David Cunliffe and Donghua Liu dated 11 April 2003.
This includes a request for all communications relating to the letter between David Cunliffe and Donghua Liu dated 11 April 2003, which may have occurred between yourself; any and all staffmembers in your office; any member of the National Party; any blogger; any media person; and any other group or individual who was contacted on this issue.
Information may be emailed to me, or, if the file is too large, I can supply a postal address for hard copies.
Regards,
-Frank Macskasy
Blogger
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Let’s see what the Nat’s reaction is?

And let’s see if anyone in the MSM has the intestinal fortitude to lodge their own applications or craven surrender to the National Party dirty-tricks machine..

My money is on craven surrender.
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References

NZ Herald:  National denies dirty tricks campaign against Cunliffe

Other blogs

The Standard: Good news, National are afraid of David Cunliffe

The Daily Blog: The Trap Is Sprung: Why David Cunliffe Must Not Resign

Recommended Reading (note the date)

The Dim Post: What the opposition are up against


 

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1496189_1409071792672271_1235209203_o

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 20 June 2014.

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Labour’s collapse in the polls – why?

24 June 2014 7 comments

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Red Arrow Down

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In recent months, successive polls have not favoured the Labour Party and the Left Bloc.

A TV3 Reid Research Poll in mid/late May gave a  shock result for Labour;

National:  50.3% (+ 4.4%)

Labour: 29.5% (- 1.7%)

Greens: 10.2% (- 1%)

NZ First: 5.6% (+ 0.7%)

A Roy Morgan poll in late May/early June – one of the more accurate of polls – fared no better;

National: 52.5%  (+ 7%)

Labour:  29% (- 1.5%)

Greens:  9% (- 4.5%)

NZ First:  4.5% (- 1.5%)

A mid-June Herald Digipoll presented similar results;

National: 50.4% (- 0.4%)

Labour:  30.5% (+ 1%)

Greens:  10.7% (- 2.4%)

NZ First:  3.6% (n/c)

The most recent stats,  from a June  Fairfax/Ipsos poll, was even worse;

National: 56.5 (+ 8.9%)

Labour:  23.2% (-6.3%)

Greens:  11.9% (- 0.8%)

NZ First:  3.2% (- 0.5%)

Though National’s 56.5% is in pure la-la land (they scored only 47.31% in the 2011 General Election), the overall pattern seems fairly clear; National is rising, whilst the Labour-Green bloc is falling, and – on face value – close to collapse. (I also do not believe that NZ First will not cross the 5% threshold.)

I put National’s rise and the Left’s fall down to three significant factors;

1. National’s May 15 Budget which took a lurch to the left with extra social spending; removing tariffs (temporarily) on building materials; and the promise of a budget ‘surplus‘.

It was a typical electioneering budget, increasing spending on social areas that had been  been previously starved of funding in recent years. Even the so-called “surplus” was questioned by the Opposition.

2. Increasing economic activity, predicated mainly on three factors;

3. Infighting between Labour and it’s potential coalition partners.

On 7 June, I blogged on the issue of Labour’s unprovoked and negative attacks on it’s potential allies. I wrote;

Going by recent public comments made by Labour MPs and candidates, it seems that the Labour Party is either planning to sit this election out – or some of it’s higher-ranking public individuals are out of control.

How else to explain recent statements made in the mainstream and social media by Labour people, attacking others on the Left?
[…]

Being “principled” and attacking potential allies will result in looking weak and fractured, in the eyes of the public.

Being “principled” and attacking potential allies smacks of dis-unity. Dis-unity, in the eyes of the public, is not a Government-in-waiting. It is Labour unable to set aside self-interest and party-politics for the good of the nation.

If the public perceive that Labour is more interested in attacking it’s own potential allies – and here is the nub of the problem – then why should people vote for such a fractious party that appears unable to work alongside said potential allies?

National – polling in high 40s and low 50s – cultivates potential allies.

Labour – polling in high 20s and low 30s – undermines, attacks, and marginalises it’s own potential allies.

[…]

How many times have we heard the public say, “why can’t they work together for the good of the country?”.

Well, National’s strategists have understood and implemented this very simple truism; the public do not like seeing squabbling politicians. The public want political parties to work together, collegially to solve pressing problems.

That is why Key keeps repeating his mantra,

“We’ve shown we can deliver strong and stable government and can work with other parties for the good of the country blah blah blah..”

That is why National is high up in the polls.

That is why Labour is floundering and losing support. And respect.

Not only do I not resile from the above comments I wrote on 7 June, but I reassert that recent polling has more than proven my point.

We on the Left can do very little about National’s fudging of Budget figures, nor economic  growth created by demands from an earthquake-ravaged city; a housing bubble; and Chinese consumption.

We can, however, get our own house in order when it comes to inter-party relationships.

If Labour wants to portray itself as a credible government-in-waiting, it must demonstrate that it is capable of working across all sectors in society.

If they cannot work collegially with other Left-leaning parties – then why on Earth should the public believe that Labour could  work with other sector-groups? The ‘signals’ that various Labour MPs (Hipkins, Nash, Goff, Shane Jones, Davis, et al) are sending is one of fractious in-fighting; of “greedy little little children grabbing all the toys in the cot, and not prepared to share and play together”.

This is not a political party demonstrating readiness to be a government. It is a party showing  desperation to grab votes at any expense.

Unless Labour is looking forward to sitting on the Opposition benches for the next ten years, it must change it’s internal culture. We talk about the “Police culture” needing change – I submit that Labour itself needs to look deep within itself and understand why the public are not responding to their policies and messages.

Why is  the public turned off  from Labour?

How does the public view Labour’s bitter attacks on the Greens and Mana-Internet?

What  does the public want?

Ask those three questions at the next focus groups, Ms Coatsworth, and you may start to understand why it is that Labour is not connecting with voters.

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References

TV3 Reid Research: 3 News Reid Research Poll

Roy Morgan: National (52.5%) surges to election winning lead while Labour/ Greens (38%) slump to lowest

NZ Herald: National flies high as new party nibbles into Greens

Fairfax media: Ipsos June 2014 Poll – The Party Vote

Wikipedia: New Zealand general election, 2011

NZ Herald: Budget 2014 – Bigger surplus unveiled, doctor visits for kids

Interest.co.nz: Government to temporarily remove duties and tariffs on building materials

Dominion Post: Wellington rape centre forced to cut hours

Fairfax media: Rape crisis line forced to cut staff

Fairfax media:  Budget 2014: Surplus real, says English

NBR: Auckland house prices continue their relentless rise

NZ Herald: Big resurgence in NZ house-building

Stats NZ: Dairy product exports grow for 20 years

Stats NZ: Logs to China drive our forestry export growth

Daily Blog:  The secret of National’s success – revealed

Previous related blogposts

Letter to the Editor: playing politics with rape victims, National-style

Budget 2014 – How has National exposed itself in Election Year?

 

 

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Why I am a Leftie

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 19 June 2014.

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Three suggestions for Labour

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20 September

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After all the blogposts and policy suggestions, it all boils down to these three pieces of advice for Labour;

 

1. Minister for Children

 

The Leader of the Labour Party should make the strategic decision that, should Labour lead the next government post 20 September, that David Cunliffe will create a new role; Minister for Children.

Not only because Child Poverty is becoming the defining “issue” (actually, more like a slowly developing crisis) of this decade – but because this alone differentiates Labour from National.

National’s “brand” is pro-business.

Labour’s “brand” is pro-people.

What better way to remind people of this truism than by David Cunliffe announcing before the election that should he lead the next government, that eliminating the scourge of child poverty from our fair nation will be the top priority of his administration. Therefore, unlike the current Prime Minister who is ostensibly the “Minister for Tourism” but who spends his holidays on a beach in Hawaii – a Labour Prime Minister will take his role more seriously.

What more serious role can an elected leader have, than to take responsibility for the next generation?

David Cunliffe
Prime Minister
Minister for Children

It just sounds right.

 

2. Coalition Partners

 

For god’s sakes – stop slagging off  potential coalition partners. It shows Labour to be insecure, petty, and desperate for votes.

National demonstrates it’s supreme confidence as a party fit to govern by working alongside other parties.

In the last few weeks, various attacks by Labour MPs on the Green Party and Mana-Internet have both shocked and dismayed many activists. These activists are the core support who believe and work toward a progressive government.

If they are demoralised at the meaness of spirit shown by certain Labour MPs – and at Cunliffe’s silence on the matter – then what on Earth is the public to think? How can the voting public see Labour as fit-to-govern when it shows no willingness to work alongside potential coalition partners?

The public want politicians to work together for the benefit of the country. If they cannot see collegial behaviour from Labour – they will either not bother to vote, or will vote for a party that has demonstrated a willingness and capability to work collectively with others.

All the grand policies and eloquent speeches will count for nothing, if all that voters see is a bunch of fractious, mean-spirited, politicians bad-mouthing others.

The public are not fools. Do not think they have not noticed.

 

3. Who Dares, wins elections!

 

Be bold.

Give the country something else to vote for. Give them a positive vision that we can be better than just “consumers”. We are also be citizens, and New Zealand has done great things in the past.

We can do great things again.

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Never surrender your vote

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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The Boundless Arrogance of the Right

21 June 2014 4 comments

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John Key - That's all folks

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As at 5pm on Friday, 13 June, John Banks resigned from Parliament.

In retrospect… As per usual, those on the Right appear unable to accept that they too must uphold the laws of the land.

Michelle Boag (Fmr National Party president)

The verdict in the John Banks trial will send a “chill up the spine” of every political candidate, says former National Party president Michelle Boag.

Boag, who was an adviser to Banks during the failed 2010 Auckland mayoral campaign, said although Banks had been found guilty, he had done just the same as “every political candidate who has put in a donation form”.

Don Brash (Fmr Reserve Bank Governor; Fmr National Party leader; Fmr ACT Party leader)

“So the court has found John Banks guilty. Three observations. First, I have known John Banks for 30 years and have not found him to be anything other than an honest man. Second, it is a huge tragedy for a man who has overcome great personal difficulties; served with distinction as a Member of Parliament, as a Minister, and as the mayor of Auckland; and helped to raise three Russian orphans.

But third, when I contrast what John Banks was found by the court to have done with what Helen Clark’s Labour Party did in 2005 – without the slightest attempt by the Police to call her to account – the offence of which he has been found guilty is utterly trivial.

In 2005, the Labour Party spent Parliamentary funding to the extent of more than three-quarters of a million dollars on explicit electioneering, despite having been warned against doing so by both the Auditor General and the Chief Electoral Officer just weeks before the election. Yes, they eventually repaid that money, but only under strong protest. And of course by that the time the election was won.

And what they could not undo, and were never held to account for, was grossly overspending the legal limit on spending in that election. The Police, in a disgracefully biased decision, decided not to prosecute, despite the Labour Party’s own auditors finding that the Party had unambiguously breached the legal spending limit if spending on their infamous “pledge card” was election spending. And did anybody who saw that “pledge card” think it was NOT part of Labour’s election campaign?

Whatever John Banks did in trying to raise money to finance his mayoral campaign in 2010 did not affect the outcome of that election. By contrast, Labour’s illegal behaviour almost certainly did affect the result of the 2005 election.”

Gerry Brownlee (Leader of the House, National Minister)

 “As I understand it he is not convicted and therefore can stay in parliament and exercise his vote.”

Found guilty – but “not convicted”. Ethics 101, according to Gerry Brownlee.

Ironically, Kim Dotcom has not been found guilty of any crime in New Zealand and yet the Nats wants him extradited to the United States. As in, potentially goneburger to a US jail.

David Farrar (Blogger, National Party apparatchik)

“…Banks was wrong to break the law, but Labour’s law breaches in 2005 were much more significant and did have an impact on the election result.”

Based on Farrar’s bizarro-world “logic”, burglars should not be prosecuted because home invasion robberies “were much more significant and did have an impact” on home-owners?!

John Key (Fmr money trader, current Prime Minister)

“It’s not for me to critique the ruling by Justice Wylie it would be quite inappropriate of me to do that…but if you ask me at a personal level whether my experience of John Banks is an honest person then the answer is yes.”

John Key (again)

“In the end, Mr Banks may appeal, I don’t know the details of that but in my experience of dealing with him over the period of time that he’s been both the leader of the Act Party and in Parliament and in my previous dealings with him, I’ve always found him to be very honest.”

So honest that he (a) was tried in a Court of law, (b) was found guilty, and (c) has resigned.

Is this what Key meant when he said on 17 November 2008;

“I expect high standards from my ministers. If they don’t meet the standards I set, then obviously I will take action if necessary.”

John Key (and again)

First Key said he was not in a position to offer any advice to Banks;

“It’s not for me to offer a view on that. In the end he is the leader of another political party.  I can’t offer him advice any more than I could offer David Cunliffe advice on whether he should resign.”

Then he decided to give advice – to David Cunliffe;

Asked about Cunliffe’s claims that the Government was being propped up by a “corrupt” politician, Key said Cunliffe should rule out working with the Internet Party.

“I’m not going to be lectured by David Cunliffe. If he was the man of principle he says he is, he’d be ruling out the Internet Party and Kim Dotcom who’s before the court and is a convicted fraudster, but he’s not going to do that. Most people will see it for what it is, which is politics.”

Point of interest; John Key appears to be out-of-the-loop and several months behind-the times. John Banks was not the  “leader of another political party“. The current leader of ACT is Jamie Whyte.

Kerre McIvor (Right-wing NZ Herald columnist)

“…Graham McCready, the convicted tax fraudster and the man who brought the private prosecution against Banks after the police declined to lay charges, is an odd creature.

The charms of Kim Dotcom have never been apparent to me and they didn’t become any more obvious in this case.”

Richard Prebble (Fmr Labour and ACT Party MP)

Act Party campaign director Richard Prebble, said the verdict was in conflict with the attitude towards campaign donations that he’d encountered during his years in parliament.

“I’ve looked at MPs’ declarations – which are only for $20,000 – and a third of MPs, under this ruling, should be out of parliament. I’ve seen declarations that are total fictions.”

Prebble said the loose approach to the rules revealed “the nonsense of the thing”. He said when he started his career in local body politics, he wasn’t required to fill in electoral donation forms, “and I’m not sure why you have to now.

“It’s just part of the political correctness of New Zealand, and all we do is catch people out with paperwork.”

Prebble said while the nominal reason for requiring electoral donation returns might be to prevent the impression of undue influence by political funders, “the real reason is to intimidate people to stop them giving money to your political opponents.

So Prebble has “seen declarations that are total fictions” – but done nothing about them?! Is this how a former ACT Leader and MP upholds the law? By turning a blind eye to it being broken? Very civic minded, I don’t think.

As for the electoral law on donation returns being “ just part of the political correctness of New Zealand, and all we do is catch people out with paperwork” – so some laws exist  merely to  inconvenience us? Perhaps quite a few others who are currently “guests of Her Majesty” thought along the same lines.

John Thompson (ACT Party president )

“We believe that he can carry on in doing his constituency work … It would be more pleasant if there was a different verdict, yes.”

Well… yes. I’m sure it would be more pleasant. So would world peace and an end to hunger, disease, pollution…

However, let’s work with what we’ve got, eh, John?

My thoughts (as a Left wing blogger)

Those on the Right of the political spectrum probably believe that Banks’ actions were minor. They  point the finger at alleged wrongdoing by Labour or other parties on the Left. They may even believe that the trial and guilty verdict was unnecessary.

Meanwhile, on the Left, the belief (unsurprisingly) is diametrically opposite;  the crime of electoral fraud is not minor; pointing to alleged wrongdoing by Left-wing parties  is a vain attempt at deflection to distract public attention; and the guilty verdict was necessary.

Everyone has missed the point.

The trial was very much necessary. (The verdict was, I submit, secondary.)

Either the law on Electoral Returns is a law to be enforced, or it should be repealed and left up to individual parties and candidates to make voluntary disclosures.  But it cannot be left to stand and be observed in a half-hearted, cavalier fashion.

Otherwise, every member of Parliament runs the risk of being prosecuted by the Police or a well-motivated member of the public, sometime in the future. In other words, this was a “wake up call” to every elected representative, whether in a local body or Parliament.

It will be a very, very foolish politician – whether from the Left or Right – who takes a punt at fudging their Electoral Return from now on.

Because, in the final analysis, no Right or Left wing party activist, supporter, voter, or blogger, wants one of their own to be dragged through the Courts, embarrassing themselves and their Party. Whether Left or Right, we want our own people to be ‘squeaky clean’.

The wake-up call has been sounded for both sides of the political spectrum.

Let’s hope it was heard..

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References

Fairfax media: F*** off, says under-pressure Banks

Facebook: Don Brash

TVNZ News: John Banks could be thrown political lifeline

Kiwiblog: Brash on Banks

ODT: Banks gets to stay in Parliament

NZ Herald: Top ministers in Key’s Cabinet focused on economy

NZ Herald: Shame sticks to both sides of this episode

Fairfax media: PM ducks Banks questions

NZ Herald:  Bryce Edwards – The John Banks guilty verdict

Other blogs

Gordon Campbell on the John Banks verdict


 

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20 september 2014 VOTE

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 14 June 2014.

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The Mendacities of Mr Key #5: Has Tim Groser shown the P.M. to be a liar on the TPPA?

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lying politician

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In the ongoing debate on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations, Dear  Leader John Key has been at pains to try to reassure New Zealanders that any TPPA document would be “first  presented to Parliament”.

On 1 October 2013, Key said;

With all [free trade agreements] the way that they work is that have to be ratified by Parliament, and we have to build a parliamentary majority, and all of that has to happen through the transparency of the deal.”

“…my advice is that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will require legislation, so, ultimately, once it has gone through the select committee and the public have had their chance to have input, and it has gone through all of those various stages, the Government of the day will require a parliamentary mandate, so by definition people would have had a lot of input.”

And on 31st March this year, Key asserted on NewstalkZB;

In the end, this thing has to go through our Parliament has to be ratified by our Parliament and has to bear scrutiny and I believe is in the best interests of New Zealand.”

Professor Jane Kelsey was one of many who countered Key’s assertions that Parliament would “ratify” any final agreement. Also on 31 March, she stated;

 “How many times do the Prime Minister and other members of the government have to be hauled up for misrepresenting the role of Parliament in making treaties, especially the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement’? The Prime Minister is either woefully ignorant of the fundamental process of treaty making, as set out in the Cabinet Manual, or he is wilfully misrepresenting the process to the New Zealand public.

Parliament’s role in treaty making is largely symbolic. It has no power to decide whether or not the TPPA should be signed or ratified and no ability to change its terms TPPA or require it to be renegotiated.

The select committee process is a farcical exercise because its members know they cannot change the treaty.

At most, Parliament could refuse to pass legislation that is required to bring a particular law into compliance with the TPPA. But the government will have plenty of non-legislative ways to achieve compliance.”

Finally, on 15 June, on TVNZ’s Q+A, National’s own Trade Minister, Tim Groser responsible for TPPA negotiations clearly and utterly refuted any notion that the TPPA would have to be “ratified” by Parliament;

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“Oh well, we wouldn't put [this] before the New Zealand Parliament. If we're the government of the day, that has to put the ratifying legislation through Parliament, a deal didn't make a great deal of sense to New Zealand.”

Oh well, we wouldn’t put [this] before the New Zealand Parliament. If we’re the government of the day, that has to put the ratifying legislation through Parliament, a deal didn’t make a great deal of sense to New Zealand.”

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Note the first part of Groser’s response to interviewer,  Corin Dann;

Oh well, we wouldn’t put [this] before the New Zealand Parliament.

There we have it. The Trade Minister himself confirming what Jane Kelsey and other critics of the secret deal-making  surrounding the TPPA have said all along: once the government agrees to a final document, it will not require ratification by Parliament.

John Key making a mistake once, is understandable.

John Key repeating that same mistake at least  three times is no longer a “mistake”. It becomes willful misinformation. A deliberate lie.

Caught out again – this time by one of his own Ministers!

Charge: broken promise/deflection/half-truth/hypocrisy/outright lie/misinformation?

Verdict: Outright lie/misinformation

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References

TV3: Key accused of spreading TPPA ‘mistruths’

Parliament:  Questions for Oral Answer — Questions to Ministers

NewstalkZB:  Key defends TPPA negotiations

Scoop media: One more time, PM: Parliament does not get to ratify TPPA

TVNZ: Government may not seek bipartisan support for a TPP – Groser

Previous related blogposts

The Mendacities of Mr Key #4: “Trolls & bottom-feeders”

 


 

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TPPA thuggery

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 16 June 2014.

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Review: TV3′s The Nation – When current affairs gets it right

20 June 2014 1 comment

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After my uncompromising critique of an episode of TV’s The Nation, broadcast on 24 May, I was gratified and relieved that the producers and hosts of the programme had returned to a degree of journalistic/media professionalism that we should expect as the norm for current affairs in this country (and which is too often lacking).

The Nation, broadcast on 14 June, was good, solid, current affairs which left the viewer better informed after watching it. Hosts Lisa Owen and Patrick Gower, and reporter Torben Akel,  were on form with their respective interviews.

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Hosts for TV3's "The Nation", Lisa Owen and Patrick Gower

Hosts for TV3’s “The Nation”, Lisa Owen and Patrick Gower

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First up; Hekia Parata, on what is rapidly devolving into another of National’s disastrous, ill-considered attempts to insert neo-liberal “reforms” into our education sector. National’s $359 million  so-called “Teaching & leadership career pathways” has been roundly condemned by the  primary school staff union, NZEI, and the Principals Federation asserting that it is unacceptable and unworkable.

Parata responded to questioning from Patrick Gower;

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The Nation - Patrick Gower - Hekia Parata - TV3 - National - education

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[FULL TRANSCRIPT: Hekia Parata]

A decidedly ‘robotic’ performance from an automaton-like Hekia Parata. (Have National Party strategists and contract scientists actually built a look-a-like android  replacement replacement for Parata, to minimise potential stuff-ups from the mishap-prone education minister? And how did they make the android more realistic than the original?!)

Whether she actually convinced teachers and parents watching her performance is doubtful. When politicians avoid giving direct answers to questions, the inescapable conclusion is that they’re hiding something.

What is Parata hiding?

Perhaps the very real likelihood that the so-called “Teaching & leadership career pathways” policy is National attempt to introduce performance-pay-by-stealth?

In fact, my money is precisely on that call: performance-pay-by-stealth.

At any rate, she stayed on-message, and it was fairly obvious that Parata had been well-schooled by her tax-payer funded media-minders. She passed National’s Standard for evasiveness to questions.

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Next up, a serious look at one of this country’s worst pressing social problems – child poverty. The Right can bleat on about “SkyTV aerials”; ill-informed moralists who lead ‘saintly lives’ can pass judgement on “poor parenting”, and  the middle classes can turn a blind eye – but none of that will diminish a growing social crisis in our midst.

Prior to the introduction of neo-liberalism; the “free” market; de-regulation; and “more choices”, the term “child poverty” was unknown. Food banks barely existed, as this 2005 Child Poverty Action Group report pointed out;

There have always been foodbanks in Auckland, but until recently these were small- scale operations and, like the soup kitchens, were there to deal with emergencies and the requirements of the handful of indigents that have always been present in the urban areas of New Zealand. Data from the Presbyterian Support Services Foodlink Directory5 shows there were 16 foodbanks in Auckland in 1989. By 1994 this had mushroomed to over 130 (Mackay, 1995).

Nationally, the number of foodbanks exploded following the 1991 benefit cuts, and the passage of the Employment Contracts Act (ECA). For those in already low-paid and casual jobs, the ECA resulted in even lower wages (McLaughlin, 1998), a situation exacerbated by the high unemployment of the early 1990s (11% in 1991). The benefit cuts left many with debts, and little money to buy food (Downtown Community Ministry, 1999). In 1992 the introduction of market rents for state houses dealt another blow to state tenants on low incomes. By 1994 it was estimated that there were about 365 foodbanks nationally, one-fifth of which had been set up in the previous year (Downtown Community Ministry, 1999). This figure was an estimate, based on information from the 1994 foodbank conference. There were no nationally collated figures, a weakness that persists in the sector today.

Regarding what in some cases was a quadrupling of demand for food parcels after 1991, Mackay cautiously hypothesizes that “it is likely that much of it was driven by the benefit cuts of April 1991” (Mackay, 1995). Foodbank workers themselves were unequivocal that the 1991 benefit cuts were the key driver of increased foodbank use. Reflecting those most likely to be unemployed or on low wages, up to 90% of foodbank users were dependent upon some form of income support, and Maori and Pacific Island families were over- represented among those seeking assistance (Mackay, 1995).

Lisa Owen interviewed Jonathan Boston (Professor of Public Policy at Vic, co-chair of Child Poverty Expert Advisory Group), who has written New Zealand’s first book on Child Poverty in this country. That interview was followed up by Commissioner for Children, Dr Russell Wills.

 

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TV3 - The Nation - Lisa Owen - Interview Dr Russell Wills

L-R: Lisa Owen & Dr Wills; Lisa Owen and Jonathan Boston

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[FULL TRANSCRIPT: Jonathan Boston & Russell Wills]

Both interviews made for compelling, informative viewing.

Dr Wills  and Prof Boston are professionals; academics;  with a deep understanding of problems and issues confronting our society. Neither men have a political agenda – theirs is simply to inform anyone who will listen that child poverty is a problem we can no longer afford to ignore.

Dr Wills made this simple statement in a level, calm tone – but which was nevertheless dramatic for it’s content;

“My weekend will be full of poor mostly Maori and Pacific preschool children with infectious diseases that our English registrars often haven’t even seen before. Now we see acute rheumatic fever. We see tuberculosis.  We have admissions to intensive care with children with illnesses that should have been treated in primary care but they couldn’t afford to go. We just don’t see those kinds of issues in our elderly people and I think that’s a great shame.”

I wonder, though,  if the inquisatorial approach taken by Lisa Owen to interview Messrs Wills and Boston was applicable in this instance? The inquisatorial style works well for political or activist public figures who may not always be forthcoming in disclosing facts.
But when it comes to academics and professionals such as Professor Boston and Dr Wills, I submit that such people will usually always  be forthcoming, even when academics are often loathe to talk in terms of absolutes, or provide simplistic answers to complex questions.
For example, Lisa Owen asked Dr Wills;

OWEN: But these are tight financial times as you would appreciate; you have said previously the questions is: are we prepared to give up something for the vulnerable. So who is the ‘we’ that has to give up something?

WILLS: It’s people like us Lisa. The fact is that we have large numbers of poor children in New Zealand who are missing out on things that our kids take for granted. So the kids that I see on the children’s ward often live in cold, damp, crowded houses. They often can’t afford to go to the GP. They commonly don’t have their own bed. They frequently all crowd around together in the living room to sleep.

OWEN: I appreciate what you’re saying there but when you say it’s people like us, that’s a nebulous concept. Don’t we need to pin down where this money is going to come from? Isn’t super or capping or raising the age, isn’t that a place where we can get a certain lot of money?
There was something a little  disturbing about the suggestion that “when you say it’s people like us, that’s a nebulous concept“.

It’s almost as if Lisa Owen had taken Margaret Thatcher’s dogma (“there is no such thing as society“)  and applied the notion to the question. Has New Zealand society become so individualised; so fragmented – that it is now a “nebulous concept“?

Sometimes we learn more from the interviewers than from  the people they are charged with interviewing.
Both men had a wealth of insights and knowledge to share with the audience. Their interviews could easily have been doubled in length to facilitate deeper under-standing of the issues involved. Perhaps canning Hekia Parata’s drivel would have provided extra time?
The audience would certainly have ended up better informed. (We already understand the fact that politicians often spout rubbish; talking a lot, but saying nothing.)

.

Next up; the one and only (some might breath a sigh of relief at that), Colin Craig. Perhaps one of the oddest political aspirants to hit our political stage in recent times, Colin Craig had some very strange things to say in his interview;
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The Nation - Patrick Gower - Colin Craig - Conservative Party - TV3 - National - election 2014

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[FULL TRANSCRIPT: Colin Craig]

Gower started the interview with this bizarre exchange – almost reminiscent of a school Head Master dressing down an errant pupil;

Patrick Gower: I want to start with this extraordinary political cry for help that you made this week, effectively asking the Prime Minister to pull a candidate out of a seat for you.

Colin Craig: I didn’t do that.

Gower: Yes you did.

Craig: No, I didn’t.

I was expecting an impatient, testy, Gower to stand, pick up a nearby cane, and instruct  Craig,

Gower: Right boy, that’ll be enough fibbing! Bend over for six of the best!

Craig, of course, supports beating children, so this scenario would not be entirely implausible. And no one would have blamed Gower in the least.

Gower then asked Craig this salient question;

Gower: So which one of those could you beat? Which one of those three candidates could you beat? And tell the truth.

To which Craig responded;

Craig: Well look, I don’t think I could beat any of them unless we run a fantastic local campaign and people get behind us. Last time I –

Interesting.

Interesting because of what was not said, rather than what was.  No outrage over “dirty deals” in this interview, as Mr Gower expressed recently regarding the Mana-Internet alliance;

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Patrick gower - twitter - laila harre - mana internet party alliance

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And…

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Patrick gower - twitter - laila harre - mana internet party alliance (2)

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I suspect, however, that the difference in style in Gower’s critiquing the deals between the Right – and that between Mana and Internet (no deals in recent times  have been proven between Labour and other parties on the Left, despite claims) –  is not so much a matter of bias, rather one of common acceptance.

In short, we are used to an ex-trader Prime Minister doing behind-the-scenes deals so it is the ‘norm‘ when the Right does it.

But not the ‘norm’ for the Left because, to date, such deal-making has been rare.

Unfair?

Yes, of course it is.

But nothing will ever change because (a) the public have more or less accepted such political wheeling-and-dealing as par-for-course amongst right-leaning politicians and their parties;  (b) it serves the interests of the Right, and (c) the media can get stuffed (in the eyes of the Right) because in the end, what matters is political power – not  chest-thumping from a few media talking-heads.

That’s the way it is.

The Left can (a) adapt and engage in their own deal-making or (b) remain “above it all”;  maintain a holier-than-thou attitude; and hope the voting public notice and duly reward them with their votes. Option ‘B’ is like going to a gunfight armed with a knife and hoping the gun misfires. There is no Option ‘C’.

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The last interview, by Torben Akel,  with Todd Barclay – the National candidate replacing outgoing MP, Bill English in Southland – was perhaps the most curious.

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The Nation - Torben Akel - Todd Barclay - Southland electorate TV3 - National - election 2014

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At only 24, Todd  Barclay is one of Parliament’s youngest MPs. In itself, this not a negative factor, as we need representation from and for young people in our House of Representatives.

What was at issue was Barclay’s relative lack of life experience.

As Torben Akel asked in a introduction voice-over,

“But age aside, does Barclay have the real world experience to be an MP. Or does he represent the rise of an insulated careerist political class?”

National’s own website highlights Barclay’s limited life-experience;

Working in Wellington and then Auckland, Todd worked for Bill English and cabinet ministers Hekia Parata and Gerry Brownlee. He left Parliament to work for one of New Zealand’s leading public relations consultancies, before taking on a role as Corporate Affairs Manager for Philip Morris.

To be fair, one has to wonder just how much life experience a person can achieve by age 24. Though Barclay’s experience, thus far seems constrained to working for various ministers in Parliament and for a tobacco company that peddles products that kill people.

Not exactly a CV to be proud of.

In fact, it could be said that politics and public relations revolve around manipulating reality rather than living in it.

All up, a good interview; low-key and yet illuminating. Torben Akel did a good job presenting the person and his record, and then let the viewer decide for him/herself what to make of this young man.

Now it’s up to Southlanders if this is who they want as their representative.

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Postscript #1

The parameters “child poverty” nz  on Google returns 178,000 results;

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child poverty - google results - Google - search engine - new zealand - nz

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Not exactly something to be proud of, eh, New Zealand?

Postscript #2

It is has been said before and it is worth repeating again; the greatest disservice that TVNZ and TV3 programming managers have done to the viewing public; their own staff; and to their entire network is to ‘ghettoise’  “The Nation” and “Q+A” on early morning and late night time-slots in the weekends.

Maori TV schedules “Native Affairs” on Monday evenings  at  8.30pm.  This suggests that the management at Maori TV have sufficient faith in their ‘product’ that they are willing to give it a prime time viewing slot.

Sadly, the same cannot be said for TVNZ and TV3.

(And no, we will not settle for “Seven Sharp” or “The Paul Henry Show“.)

Postscript #3

National’s media release on it’s “Teaching & leadership career pathways” was published on it’s on party website; the Beehive website; and on Scoop Media. There’s a slight ‘risk’ in publishing an official party policy communique on an independent website – you never quite know what else is going to appear alongside the text;

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scoop media - internet party - 359m for teaching  leadership career pathways - national party - government - education (1)

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scoop media - internet party - 359m for teaching  leadership career pathways - national party - government - education (2)

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scoop media - internet party - 359m for teaching  leadership career pathways - national party - government - education (3)

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scoop media - internet party - 359m for teaching  leadership career pathways - national party - government - education (4)

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I’m sure Parata, Key, et al in the National Party would be “delirious with joy” at having a political advert for Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party nested within their pride and joy educational policy statement release…

… Not!

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References

Beehive: $359m for teaching & leadership career pathways

Radio NZ: NZEI, principals unite against policy

TV3 The Nation: Interview – Education Minister Hekia Parata

TV3 The Nation: Interview transcript – Education Minister Hekia Parata

Salvation Army: Hard to swallow – Child Poverty Action Group

BWB Books: Child Poverty in New Zealand

TV3 The Nation: Interview – Jonathan Boston & Russell Wills

Wikiquote:  Margaret Thatcher

TV3 The Nation: Interview – Conservative Party leader Colin Craig

Twitter: Patrick Gower

TV3 The Nation: The new breed of career MPs

National Party: National Selects Todd Barclay For Clutha-Southland

National Party: $359m for teaching & leadership career pathways

Beehive: $359m for teaching & leadership career pathways

Scoop Media: $359m for teaching & leadership career pathways

Previous related blogposts

Review: TV3′s The Nation – “Let them eat ice cream!”

Patrick Gower – losing his rag and the plot

Doing ‘the business’ with John Key – Here’s How

Additional

Facebook: Inside Child Poverty

Bryan Bruce: How to vote strategically improves children’s lives

Child Poverty Action Group

 

Events

Tuesday 17 June, 5.30pm
Panel discussion with Jonathan Boston,
Damon Salesa, Susan St John and Russell Wills. Chaired by Tracey McIntosh.
Fale Pasifika, University of Auckland
26 Wynyard St, Auckland

Thursday 19 June, 8.00am – 4.00pm
Inequality: Causes and Consequences
Student Union Memorial Lecture Theatre
Victoria University of Wellington

Friday 20 June, 5.30pm
Lecture and book launch
Speakers include: Justine Cornwall, Jonathan Boston, and Cathy Wylie
Royal Society of New Zealand
11 Turnbull St, Thorndon, Wellington


 

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20 september 2014 VOTE

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 16 June 2014.

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= fs =

Living in John Key’s “rock star economy”

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This piece, from a regular Facebook user and commentator on public and political issues, caught my attention;

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Dear Mr. Key.

The following report is indicative of the reality of living in your Rockstar economy. This crap is the daily norm in the lives of Mum & Dad victims all over the country. Some of them are fortunate to just get robbed as against getting stabbed to death. Do these sort of issues ever affect you in Remuera or Omaha or Hawaii ? Why not have a quiet word to the comedy duo Collins and Tolley and see if one or both are remotely interested in fulfilling their sworn oaths of office ?

Have a self centered weekend.

Edmond.

 

Jenny Petera works hard to make a go of Birdie’s Cafe in Kaitaia’s main street. So…

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It reminded me of something John Key said, in one of his many election speeches ranting about the many supposed “failures” of the Labour government. Specifically, on 29 January 2008, in a speech entitled A Fresh Start for New Zealand;

 

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This time a year ago, I talked about the underclass that has been allowed to develop in New Zealand. Labour said the problem didn't exist. They said there was no underclass in New Zealand. But who now could deny it? 2007 showed us its bitter fruits. The dramatic drive-by shooting of two-year-old Jhia Te Tua, caught in a battle between two gangs in Wanganui. The incidence of typhoid, a Third World disease, reaching a 20-year high. The horrific torture and eventual death of three-year-old Nia Glassie. The staggering discovery of a lost tribe of 6,000 children who are not enrolled at any school. The list goes on and on. The fact is, that under Labour, there has been no let-up in the drift to social and economic separatism. We don't need more of their hand-wringing, their strategies, and their interdepartmental working groups. What's needed is the courage to make the tough calls to fix these problems. Today, I'm going to announce a new set of policies which will leave you in no doubt that National has that courage.

“This time a year ago, I talked about the underclass that has been allowed to develop in New Zealand. Labour said the problem didn’t exist. They said there was no underclass in New Zealand.
But who now could deny it? 2007 showed us its bitter fruits. The dramatic drive-by shooting of two-year-old Jhia Te Tua, caught in a battle between two gangs in Wanganui. The incidence of typhoid, a Third World disease, reaching a 20-year high. The horrific torture and eventual death of three-year-old Nia Glassie. The staggering discovery of a lost tribe of 6,000 children who are not enrolled at any school.
The list goes on and on. The fact is, that under Labour, there has been no let-up in the drift to social and economic separatism.
We don’t need more of their hand-wringing, their strategies, and their interdepartmental working groups. What’s needed is the courage to make the tough calls to fix these problems.
Today, I’m going to announce a new set of policies which will leave you in no doubt that National has that courage     […]      Violent youth crime is at an all-time high. Robbery is up. Grievous assaults are up. Aggravated robbery is up. Young criminals are graduating from petty crime to more serious crime; unexploded time-bombs on a fast-track to Paremoremo. The victims are people like you and me. Innocent Kiwis randomly beaten by teens on the North Shore. A Wellington Uni student beaten to a pulp on his walk home. A dairy worker stabbed to death in South Auckland last week. A 14-year-old arrested at the weekend for a fatal stabbing in Tokoroa. The list goes on and on. Rather than being the hope for our future, these young people represent our future fears. The habit of the Clark Government is always to shy away from these problems. They prefer to poke their noses into the lives of good parents while ignoring the ticking time bombs right in front of them. That’s not my approach. Today, I’m going to outline some new policy that forms part of National’s plan for giving young people the future they deserve. This Youth Plan will have two major aspects to it. One part is about education. The other part is about rolling up our sleeves to prevent New Zealand’s youth crime problem from becoming tomorrow’s crisis. This plan is about giving all young people the opportunity and responsibility to better themselves, no matter what their circumstances, abilities, or track record. That’s the Kiwi Way.”

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Beware of Tories banging on about “being tough on crime”;

 

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National Party staying strong on crime

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Electioneering on being “tough on crime” is easy. Any loud mouth Tory fool, desperate for our votes, can do it.

Actually addressing the root causes of crime – unemployment, poverty, increasing inequality, social dislocation, youth alienation, easy availability of cheap liquor, viewing humans as “consumers” rather than citizens; and the neo-liberal cult of selfishness/individualism all contribute to social stresses on the individual.

Let me point to two different commentators on the concept of society;

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“And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour…”

“And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour…” – Margaret Thatcher, Former UK Prime Minister

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"Create a society that values material things above all else. Strip it of industry. Raise taxes for the poor and reduce them for the rich and for corporations. Prop up failed financial institutions with public money. Ask for more tax, while vastly reducing public services. Put adverts everywhere, regardless of peoples ability to afford the things they advertise. Allow the cost of food and housing to eclipse people's ability to pay for them. Light blue touch paper." - Andrew Maxwell, Irish Comedian

“Create a society that values material things above all else. Strip it of industry. Raise taxes for the poor and reduce them for the rich and for corporations. Prop up failed financial institutions with public money. Ask for more tax, while vastly reducing public services. Put adverts everywhere, regardless of peoples ability to afford the things they advertise. Allow the cost of food and housing to eclipse people’s ability to pay for them. Light blue touch paper.” – Andrew Maxwell, Irish Comedian

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So which view is closer to the truth?

It may be worth pondering that if Margaret Thatcher was correct, that there is no such thing as society“, then the notion  of “anti-social” behaviour is difficult to sustain. How can one be “anti” something that does not exist?

The free marketeers; the neo-liberals; those who promote the Individual rights over Community needs, seem surprised that after decades of implementing their philosophy that only the Individual exists – that there exist individuals who care very little (if anything) for their communities and other people.

For those individuals, as Margaret Thatcher once maintained, there is no such thing as society, or community.  There is only Me. And what I want.

Now… light blue touch paper. Let’s see what happens.

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References

Facebook:  Edmond Slackbladder

Northern Advocate: Second raid leaves cafe owner fuming

John Key: A Fresh Start for New Zealand

Margaret Thatcher Foundation: Woman’s Own – interview – 31 October 1987

Previous related blogposts

Random Thoughts on Random Things #6


 

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Kirk

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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= fs =

Internet Party Candidates announced…

19 June 2014 6 comments

… and what a cool looking bunch!

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Internet Party

left to right: Chris Yong (Party list 2), Miriam Pierard (Party list 3), Laila Harré (Party list 1), Beverley Ballantine (Party list 5), David Currin (Party list 4)

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The Internet Party today released their candidates list. Definitely a cosmopolitan, 21st Century-looking group.

In fact, they kinda remind me of another group of adventurous young people, from the BBC fantasy-sf series, Torchwood;

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Torchwood

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Part of the introductory voice-over narrative of Torchwood could easily be a mission-statement for a modern, 21st Century social democratic, people’s-internet party;

The twenty-first century is when everything changes. And you’ve got to be ready.

What better changes could there be, than the  modernisation of socialism, and the formation  of a newer, sophisticated, more adaptive Left wing?

Everything changes…”

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References

The Daily Blog:  UPDATE – The Internet MANA Party list

Wikipedia: Torchwood

Additional

Scoop media: Internet Party Candidates Online to Reboot Government

Party Lists – Election 2014


 

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vote

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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= fs =

Categories: The Body Politic Tags:

Letter to the Editor: The National House of Cards (v.2)

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old-paper-with-quill-pen-vector_34-14879

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FROM:   "f.macskasy" 
SUBJECT: Letter to the Editor
DATE:    Thu, 19 Jun 2014 13:52:49 +1200
TO:     "NZ Herald" <letters@herald.co.nz>

 

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The editor
NZ Herald

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So let me get this straight; the Nats have "found" an eleven
year old letter, purportedly from David Cunliffe, relating
to Donghua Liu's legitimate application to the Immigration
Service. 

Locating a letter from eleven years ago, from a government
department?

I had no idea our bureaucracy was so incredibly
super-efficient.

It also appears that John Key and Bill English seem to have
differing stories when they  got hold of this mysterious
"letter". Key says he  "can't exactly recall, I think it was
a few weeks ago."

But English says he did not know anything about it.

So what is the story? When did they "get hold" of this
letter? Who gave it to them? And how on earth could it have
been "found" after eleven years?

Methinks there is more to this issue, and the dodgy
shenanigans being played out by senior National ministers in
an apparent dirty tricks campaign, is the real story.

It is high time for Key and English to come clean. What are
they up to?


-Frank Macskasy

[address & phone number supplied]

 

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References

Radio NZ: PM and deputy at odds over Cunliffe letter

Radio NZ Interview: Deputy PM says Cunliffe’s credibility shot

NZ Herald: Key on Liu-Labour link – More to come

The Daily Blog: The Trap Is Sprung – Why David Cunliffe Must Not Resign

 


 

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Skipping voting is not rebellion its surrender

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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= fs =

Letter to the Editor: The National House of Cards

19 June 2014 2 comments

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old-paper-with-quill-pen-vector_34-14879

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FROM:   "f.macskasy" 
SUBJECT: Letter to the Editor
DATE:    Thu, 19 Jun 2014 09:31:52 +1200
TO:     "Dominion Post"  <letters@dompost.co.nz> 
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The Editor
Dominion Post

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So National's party strategists have begun their "House of
Cards"  dirty tricks campaign? Finding an eleven year old
letter, to try to discredit David Cunliffe,  must have been
the "luckiest" stroke in history.

It is going to be a nasty campaign and the Nats will pull
out all stops to win.


-Frank Macskasy

[address & phone number supplied]

 

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References

NZ Herald: Key on Liu-Labour link – More to come

The Daily Blog: The Trap Is Sprung – Why David Cunliffe Must Not Resign

 


 

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Skipping voting is not rebellion its surrender

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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= fs =

This is why I changed my views on abortion…

17 June 2014 2 comments

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no lies

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In my teens and early 20s, I was fairly conservative in some of my political views.

This is one reason why I changed my views on abortion, some thirty years ago;

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anti abortion meme - Green Party

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Any political group that has to resort to using lies to promote it’s agenda is not worthy of support.

If an anti-abortion group has to rely on mis-representing another group’s policies to promote it’s own ideology, then that ideology is bankrupt.

That is why I went from being conservative to pro-choice. I could not sustain a belief that, as I gradually found out, was based on mis-information; exaggeration; and outright lies.

Pro-life?

More like pro-lies.

This is what the actual Green Party policy really states;

 

  • To support the freedom to have an abortion the Green Party will:

  1. Decriminalise abortion by removing it from the Crimes Act.

  2. Allow terminations after 20 weeks gestation only when the woman would otherwise face serious permanent injury to her health, or in the case of severe fetal abnormalities (as is current practice).

Whether or not you agree with the Green’s policy is entirely up to you. I’m not here to persuade you one way or another.

But at least let your decision be made on the truth, rather than a lie.

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References

Pro-life.org: How Green’s became NZ’s abortion party

Green Party: Women’s Policy – Valuing Women

 


 

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Vote and be the change

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 11 June 2014.

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= fs =

Online Voting – no longer a viable option post-2013

15 June 2014 6 comments

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dear-leader-is-watching

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There has been public debate recently on the prospect of employing online voting for local body and general elections. The suggestion is made to counter falling voting numbers, as the 2011 general election recorded the lowest voter turn-out (74.21%) since 1887.

But a recent ‘tweet’ by civil liberties advocate; professional techer; and co-founder of the blog, Tech Liberty, made this pertinent point about the wisdom of online voting;

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Thomas Beagle - GCSB - online voting - privacy - Twitter - tweet

 

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Thomas Beagle has raised an important point.

The safety and inviolability of privacy in our voting system is integral to democracy. If there were to be even a hint or whiff that this privacy had been violated – the damage it would cause our fragile democratic system might not be repairable for generations.

We have already had assault after assault on our freedoms and privacy – especially since 2008. A few examples in a Roll of Dishonour include;

For a party that advocates getting the State our of lives, National has been working over-time to snoop, pry, mis-use private information; leak information for political advantage; and to increase the surveillance powers of government agencies.

As Keith Holyoake, a former National Prime Minister said in 1959;

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National we will give you honest government

‘The National Party believes in a property-owning democracy. … We believe in the maximum degree of personal freedom and the maximum degree of individual choice for our people. We believe in the least interference necessary with individual rights, and the least possible degree of state interference.’

One suspects that the spirit of Holyoake would be in utter despair at what his party has become since he uttered those words.

Since National has been in office, we have had legislation enacted that has vastly increased State surveillance powers in a way few thought possible in our once fiercely privacy-protective society;

Search and Surveillance Act 2012

On 1 October 2012, a new law came into effect,

“The Search and Surveillance Act, which was passed through Parliament in March, extends production and examination orders to the police and legalises some forms of surveillance.

It will let more government agencies carry out surveillance operations, allows judges to determine whether journalists can protect their sources, and changes the right to silence.”

Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill

On 21 August 2013,

“… John Key introduced the Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill, which would extend the powers of the GCSB to enable it to collect information from all New Zealanders for the use of other government departments including the New Zealand Police, Defence Force and the Security Intelligence Service.Under the bill, the GCSB will have three main functions. Firstly, it will continue to collect foreign intelligence but it will not be allowed to spy on New Zealanders. Secondly, it will give the GCSB a legal mandate to assist the police, Defence Force and the Security Intelligence Service. Thirdly, it will extend the GCSB’s cyber-security functions to encompass protecting private-sector cyber systems.

Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act 2013

“The technical Telecommunications Interception Capability and Security Bill will compel telecommunication firms to assist intelligence agencies in intercepting and decrypting phone calls, texts and emails. ..

[…]

The bill has two parts – interception and network security. It replaces other legislation and is a partner to the Government Communications Security Bureau bill, passed earlier this year.

It compels telecommunications firms and online service providers to give “surveillance agencies” (the police, Security and Intelligence Service (SIS) and the GCSB) access to their clients’ communications.”

The rise of State power and increasing surveillance is simply unprecedented in our history.

We now have at least four state agencies that can pry into our lives; the Customs, Police, SIS, and GCSB.  Add WINZ, the IRD, Immigration, et al to the list, and it becomes apparent that this country has become a Westernised, consumer-driven, version of the former East Germany.

We even have our own Stasi-like para-military that raids villages out in the back-blocks, away from prying eyes of the public and media;

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Armed par-military police, during the 2007 Urewera raid.

Armed par-military police, during the 2007 Urewera raid.

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In five years we have become a quasi-police state.

In April 2013, the Kitteridge Report revealed that up to eightyeight New Zealanders had been illegally spied on by the GCSB.

A month later, in May 2013, not only was no one held to account and not  prosecuted;

“…it could not be established that any GCSB staff had the necessary criminal intent to illegally intercept private communications in this case, and GCSB staff cannot be criminally liable”.

– but a subsequent whitewash determined;

“The Inspector-General formed a view that there have been no breaches, although the law is unclear and the Inspector-General recommends amending it,” GCSB Director Ian Fletcher said in a statement.

Fletcher, Key, and other apologist for the GCSB’s law-breaking werelying. The law was not “unclear”. In fact, it was crystal clear that the Bureau could not spy on NZ citizens and permanent residents;

14  Interceptions not to target domestic communications
  • Neither the Director, nor an employee of the Bureau, nor a person acting on behalf of the Bureau may authorise or take any action for the purpose of intercepting the communications of a person (not being a foreign organisation or a foreign person) who is a New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident.

The Dominion Post’s Tracy Watkins got it right  when she wrote;

“The GCSB’s interpretation of the law was so loose it managed to spy on 88 New Zealanders even though the law specifically stated it was not allowed to do so.”

Amidst the increased surveillance by the various State agencies; the illegal mis-use of information; ministerial leaks to sociopathic bloggers like Cameron Slater; and previous illegal spying by the GCSB – the prospect of on-line voting is no longer feasible.

It is simply not safe to entrust the sanctity of the privacy of voting to an internet that is now more like an open postcard to the Police, SIS, GCSB, and god-knows-who-else.

We would have absolutely no way of knowing who was accessing our voting.

And if a State agency was caught illegally accessing New Zealanders’ voting records?

The Prime Minister would simply dismiss any such illegality with this kind of sophistry;

“In addition, the Act governing the [online voting process] is not fit for purpose and probably never has been.

It was not until this review was undertaken that the extent of this inadequacy was known.”

So why should we trust a man who has condoned previous acts of illegal state spying on individuals?

He’s done it before.

 

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References

Election Results: Party Votes and Turnout by Electorate

NZ History: Elizabeth Yates

Blog: Tech Liberty

Twitter: Thomas Beagle

Fairfax media: Paula Bennett accused of Muldoon-style bullying

TV3: Bennett accused of breaching privacy again

NZ Herald: GCSB report: 88 cases of possible illegal spying uncovered

Radio NZ: Key confessions over Whale Oil

Whaleoil: Know your Wharfies – Cecil Walker

Metro: Her Majesty

NZ Herald: Probe into email leak welcome, says Collins

Te Ara – Encyclopedia of NZ: National Party – Page 4 – Party principles

Legislation: Search and Surveillance Act 2012

NZ Herald: New police search and surveillance law in force

Parliament: Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill

Wikipedia: Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill

Legislation: Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act 2013

Fairfax media: Spying bill passes into law

TVNZ News: Spy agency could have illegally spied on dozens of Kiwis

Zdnet: NZ spy agency staff cleared in illegal spying probe

TVNZ News: GCSB cleared of illegal spying, though law ‘unclear’

Legislation: Government Communications Security Bureau Act 2003 – Para 14

Dominion Post:  Spy bungles start to entangle PM

Additional

NZ Herald: GCSB spying illegal, but no charges laid

Other blogs

The Standard: Tape of ACC-Pullar meeting raises more questions

The Jackal: Judith Collins defamation fail

Tech Liberty: Submission – Telecommunications (Interception Capability & Security) Bill


 

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Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 10 June 2014.

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ACT Party candidate David Seymour – revealed

13 June 2014 2 comments

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the nation_logo

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On TV3’s  ‘The Nation‘, host Lisa Owen set about discussing the Epsom-ACT-John Banks issue with Green candidate, Julie-Anne Genter; Labour candidate Michael Wood; ACT’s David Seymour, and a bag of flour standing in for National’s, Paul Goldsmith (the actual difference between the bag of flour and Goldsmith is still a matter for debate).

At first glance, Lisa Owen seemed hopelessly unable to extract straight answers from ACT’s David Seymour.

My mistake. She was allowing Seymour plenty of rope by which to hang himself, as he burbled on and on and on and… about how fricken marvelous he was, going from door to door. Evidently Seymour has knocked on 7,000 doors thus far? (Doesn’t he have a regular day job?)

The most illuminating aspect of the panel-discussion was that we gained insight into the three candidates.

Michael Wood – Labour

Never heard of him.

Even his Wikipedia entry has less content than a list of ingredients for vegemite.

Julie-Anne Genter – Greens

This woman oozes class, intellect, wit, and confidence. She ran rings around Seymour, giving Lisa Owen flanking support to handle the young ‘up-myself’ whippersnapper.

Ms Genter is the kind of politician New Zealand desperately needs – but doesn’t deserve.

Paul Goldsmith/Flour – National

Goldsmith refused to take part in the debate because, evidently, he was “out campaigning for the Party vote”.

Really? So appearing on a current affairs programme to promote your Party’s policies is not considered “campaigning”? Never mind. His stand-in – a bag of flour – made more sense than Goldsmith himself.

David Seymour – ACT

Arrogant.

Unwilling/unable to answer a direct question.

Yelled over others who happened to be speaking.

Did not listen.

In short, a perfect Tory politician.

If this is what he’s like now – outside Parliament what the devil will he be like as an actual MP?! Another Aaron Gilmore?

Listen to the panel yourself;

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david seymour - 7 june 2014 - TV3 - The Nation - ACT

David Seymour – avoiding answering questions on behalf of his electorate.

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Listen at 3:01 into the interview. The big *sigh* you can hear, as Seymour drones onnnn and onnnn and onnnn,  is probably Lisa Owen. If she’s thinking “My brain-cells are dying. God almighty, I don’t get paid enough to listen to this self-indulgent verbal diarrhea” – then I wholly sympathise. It was like listening to a blander, vanilla-version of Winston Peters. But at least Peters is entertaining. And often has a point to make.

Seymour could win Epsom outright by  anaesthetising the entire electorate with one of his interminable, monotone speeches, and then winning with just one vote cast. His own. Cunning bunch, these Tories.

At 6:30, Seymour attempted to deflect attention from ACT and John Banks by referring to Green Party co-leader, Russell Norman’s meeting with Kim Dotcom. It was a pathetic attempt, and he was shot down when  Julie Anne Genter pointed out the vain attempt at distraction. As she quite rightly pointed out, there is nothing illegal or untoward about elected representatives talking to New Zealand residents.

In fact, it is what MPs are paid to do.

Does Seymour plan not to talk with anyone should he be elected to Parliament? What kind of elected representative would that make him?

That attempt at evading the issue made Seymour look… dodgy. And god knows ACT has had plenty of dodgy characters within it’s ranks over the years.

At 7:50. Michael Wood refered to the dirty deal being done between National and ACT. At which point Wood brought out the bag of flour.

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goldsmith - flour - The Nation - Epsom

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A bit tacky.

John Campbell did it with much more style last year when he used a cardboard cutout of Hekia Parata when the Minister (often) refused interviews;

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Campbell Live - 5 February 2013 - Hekia Parata - No show - novopay

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But note Julie Anne Genter at 8:28. She all but took over as the host of the show by pointing out  some salient facts about Paul Goldsmith’s strange absence.

Poor Seymour. His response was to try to “stay on message”as he burbled on about “low taxes and stable centre-right government”. He was hopelessly outclassed by a Green MP who has been battle-hardened in Parliament’s debating chamber since 2011.

His inexperience showed when he made a major faux pas at 8:55, stating,

“And they do not want their neighbourhoods intensified with eight story towers next to their homes…”

That was almost too easy, and again, Genter jumped in, highlighting the policy contradiction between Seymour’s ranting against  “neighbourhoods intensified with eight story towers next to their homes” – and ACT’s new leader, Jamie Whyte, railing against the Resource Management Act;

There are far too many powers currently being given to various times of groups and bureaucrats around the country to interfere with people and the use of their property.” – Jamie Whyte, 28 February 2014

So we want to repeal the RMA and replace it with a law that addresses only real market failures, not fantastical injuries to Gaia or the sensitivities of people with no real interest in your land. It will be a very small law.” – Jamie Whyte, 1 March 2014

Perhaps Seymour hasn’t looked close enough at his own party’s policies – but allowing neighbourhoods to be intensified with multi-storey dwellings is precisely what would be allowed under ACT Party policy to do away with the RMA.

This ill-considered remark may come back to haunt him in the next three months of the election campaign. Epsom residents may be very interested to learn if ACT supports or rejects property rights when it comes to developing established urban land and neighbourhoods.

At 9:49, Lisa Owen asked the NZ$64,000 question;

I’m wondering if National and ACT are going to buddy up, why don’t you guys [Labour and Greens] buddy up.”

Wood replied;

We’re running a principled campaign [shouted interuption by Seymour]… We’re running a principled campaign. We want this to be a straight out contest of ideas and of parties. But we have a situation in which the National Party and the ACT Party are manipulating the system. And of course Labour voters and Green voters in the electorate will think about their options as the campaign goes on [shouted interuption by Seymour]…”

Seymour attempted to deflect focus from the National-ACT Epsom deal by demanding to know from both Genter and Wood if they would be encouraging their supporters to vote for Paul Goldsmith, to lock out ACT from winning Epsom.

Genter attempted to remind Seymour that since 2002, the Green Party has always only campaigned for  the Party Vote, not Electorate Votes. But Seymour was obviously not interested in listening and instead was more focused on deflecting focus from his own “arrangement” with National.

Wood responded with something less clear.

Several  interesting points emerged from the panel discussion;

  1. Seymour is nowhere as clever as he thinks he is and Julie Anne Genter ran rings around the baby-faced Tory Toff.
  2. Who is Michael Wood?!
  3. Who makes better pancakes – an absent Paul Goldsmith or a bag of flour?
  4. No matter how much Labour tries to rise above “dirty deals” and  “want this to be a straight out contest of ideas and of parties” – National/ACT will persist in tarring them with the same brush that has tarred Right as “dirty deal makers”.

With regards to #4 – it serves National/ACT’s purpose to throw as much mud around as possible – thereby increasing public cynicism and de-motivating voters to consider voting for a Left alternative. After all, what is the point of voters considering a Labour-led alternative if Labour, et al, are no different to the National-led bloc?

National does deal-making (whether one sees it as “dirty” or not) very well.

National wants to prevent similar deal-making between  Labour; the Greens; and Mana-Internet.

National therefore has engaged in a  covert strategy to paint all deal-making as dirty – even though they have no hesitation in doing it themselves in Epsom, Ohariu, and soon with the Conservatives. If the media questions this – they will deflect to Labour Greens, Mana, and the Internet Party doing the same thing. (Even though thus far only Mana-Internet have done any deals – two parties barely registering 2% between them in any given poll.)

National wants Labour to play by FPP rules –  which certain Labour MPs have obliged (see:  The secret of National’s success – revealed).

Meanwhile, National builds and supports deals with other parties as coalition partners for a post-2014 Third Term National-led government.

Meanwhile, the media focuses on perceived “dirty deals” by the Left, including Mana-Internet.

No wonder David Seymour kept banging on about alleged deal-making between the Greens and Labour in Epsom. That is the script he has been handed to read and speak.

The media dutifully oblige by repeating.

Just ask Patrick Gower.

 

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References

Wikipedia: Michael Wood

TV3: The Nation

NZ Herald: Act wants Resource Management Act dumped

ACT: Leader’s Speech to ACT New Zealand Conference – Saturday 1st March 2014

Previous related blogpost

Patrick Gower – losing his rag and the plot

The secret of National’s success – revealed.

 

 

 

 


 

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Key Banks - party anyone

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 8 June 2014.

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The secret of National’s success – revealed.

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labour mana greens internet

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1. Preface

Firstly, a disclosure on my part: I am a Green Party supporter (though by no means ‘wedded’ to that  particular party – or any party for that matter).

Secondly, it is not often I write a piece criticising others on the Left. I have long held the opinion that the Left needs to work together to achieve common goals, and that public displays of discord only serves to play into the hands of the Right.  And really, do we need to give the Right any further ammunition? Especially free of charge?!

2. What the hell is going on?!

Going by recent public comments made by Labour MPs and candidates, it seems that the Labour Party is either planning to sit this election out – or some of it’s higher-ranking public individuals are out of control.

How else to explain recent statements made in the mainstream and social media by Labour people, attacking others on the Left?

A few examples.

Kelvin Davis on 28 May  (see video at 1.29);

“People can see that this is just a stitch-up and I don’t think they like seeing Tai Tokerau being traded off like that. I think they’re taking the voters of Tai Tokerau for granted.”

Chris Hipkins on 30 May;

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chris hipkins - unprincipled sell outs - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

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The above ‘tweet’ was supported by none other than ACT Party-member, Peter McKeefry;

and we look forward to you Chippie slamming the corruption of democracy by the left in general debate.

Meanwhile, also on 30 May,  Labour MP and one-time Party leader, Phil Goff, added his three cents worth on Facebook;

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Phil Goff - facebook - Mana party - internet party - labour party

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Goff makes the point,

I am also opposed to anyone buying a political party and buying influence by splashing out $3 million as Dotcom proposes.”

Funny. That is precisely the same smear that the Right continually throw at Labour: that unions are “buying influence” with their donations to the Labour Party campaign ‘war chest’.

It can only be a facepalm moment when a senior, experienced, supposedly politically-savvy Labour politician utters a statement that parrots and validates Right-wing bullshit. Nice one, Phil. Got anything on ‘lazy benes’ spending up large on SkyTV, booze, and drugs?

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Chris Hipkins on 31 May;

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chris hipkins - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

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Right-wing blogger and National apparatchik, David Farrar, caught on very quickly when Kelvin Davis re-tweeted one of National Party supporter, Hamish Price’s tweets, and posed this question;

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David Farrar - kelvin davis - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

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Hipkins again, on 1 June;

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chris hipkins -dodgy deals - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

 

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And just to make sure we all got the gist of his attacks on small parties (aka, Internet-Mana), Hipkins threw this ‘grenade’ into the mix on the same day;

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chris hipkins - small parties - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

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Of all the statements put out by Labour’s MPs, that one has to be the most asinine yet – as blogger Jackal (et al) tried to point out to Labour’s Napier candidate, Stuart Nash;

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jackal - jackal blog - stuart nash - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

 

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Kelvin Davis seems unable to comprehend that a “Labour victory” is unobtainable if Labour shafts potential coalition partners.  He could not answer the simple question; “How will you achieve a Labour  victory without coalition partners“?!

This simple fact not lost on National – and the Nats have consistently out-ranked Labour in every  poll to date! (More on this point in a moment.)

Twitter-user, Andrew Riddell  tried (in vain) to point out the futility of Labour’s attacks on Mana-Internet – and was “rewarded” with a very bizarre, Winston Peters-like evasive response by Labour’s Education spokesperson and MP for Rimutake, Chris Hipkins;

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chris hipkins -andrew riddell - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

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Kelvin Davis on 2 June;

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kelvin davis - twitter - ngatibird - laila harre - Mana party - internet party - labour party.

Kelvin Davis’ hardline statements were supported by rightwing Twitter members such as Hamish Price, Manoja St John – and by right-wing, National-supporting blogger, Keeping Stock;

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keeping stock -  mark mitchell - kelvin davis - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

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Note who “Favourited” Keeping Stock’s tweet – Kelvin Davis and  National Party MP, Mark Mitchell (red arrowed).

Amazingly, it was ‘ordinary’ Twitter users who tried to talk sense into Labour’s MPs and candidates;

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They want to be be in opposition. They can’t even function together as one team.

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Ppl don’t have the confidence to vote left bcause they can’t see how we will work together. Fix this!

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For someone who is pro-MMP you show a real inability to think in terms of left and right blocs.

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why use strategic friends and allies when you can just lose all by yourself?

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if u want to win need to get around your heads around the fact that MMP rules allow what happened and be more magnanimous

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that is not constructive. Think outside the “two big parties” box please.

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another crack at your future coalition partners.. It’s like you know you’re going to lose….

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Gee, , I’ve never heard you be so purposefully insulting … oh, wait. Yes I have.

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Speaking of sell outs.. I remember the time in 1984 when I voted Labour and got neoliberalism instead.

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Kelvin,you are in the wrong party .. join the Nats and make a REAL difference

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It is counter productive for the left to dis the left Instead its smarter 2 wish them well & focus on a left win

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Even more kinda sorta ironic that the Kelvin Scale is used to determine absolute zero.

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how many tory votes do you think that tweet scored you?

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Pull your head in .clowns like urself are gonna cost THE LEFT thats right THE LEFT. this election.

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Is Labour on a kamikaze mission? Goff, Davis & now Nash slagging off coalition partners. This is damaging.

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more the left stands undivided the easier it is for the country to think the right is the only consistent choice

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The last (but not really – there were many, many more)   made the point that really counts.

3. The Primal Urge to Self-Destruct?

I’m not sure what ‘game’ Labour is playing at here. Obviously they are trying to grab potential votes that might accrue to Mana-Internet – but the process they are using is so utterly destructive that it beggars belief.

In an MMP environment, both National and Labour need smaller parties as coalition partners. This was amply illustrated in 2011, when National all but endorsed John Banks for the Epsom electorate, and made Katrina Shanks an electorate candidate-in-name-only in Ohariu, to allow Peter Dunne the opportunity to win.

National fully understands the realpolitik of MMP.

Labour – it appears – is still playing by First Past the Post rules.

National set the rules for MMP  on 14 May 2013, when Justice Minister Judith Collins told the House that National would be rejecting the Electoral Commission’s recommendations to abandon the ‘coat tailing’ provision and to reduce the party threshold from 5% to 4% [which this blogger supports]. Collins gave the weak excuse,

“Mr Speaker, of course I did not hold the MMP Review. That was a matter that was undertaken by the Electoral Commission. But I can also say that I made it very clear that we need concensus on these matters for any change and there is no concensus for any change.”

The “concensus” that Collins referred to was ACT and Peter Dunne opposing the scrapping of coat-tailing because it would significantly damage their electoral chance to win extra seats with that provision.

As Gordon Campbell wrote;

National can hardly bitch and moan about this outcome either. For nearly 15 years, it campaigned loud and long against the evils of MMP and railed for a review of its shortcomings. Yet then Justice Minister Judith Collins promptly and cynically shelved the MMP review findings, once National realised that the review’s main recommendation – that the electorate seat coat-tails now being used by Harawira and Dotcom should be abolished – would hurt its own chances of getting Colin Craig and his Conservatives and the Act Party’s latest minion in Epsom onside, and into Parliament. If the Mana/Dotcom arrangement looks like cynical pragmatism, it is merely par for the course.”

Labour needs to get their head around one simple reality; that it must – must! – play by the rules which National have set. Playing by another set of rules will result in losing the election in September and staying on the Opposition benches.

If Labour is trying to paint itself as “principled” – they have failed. Right wing blogs and even msm journalists have tarred both main parties with the same brush, as TV3 journalist, Patrick Gower did in 2011, with an outrageous claim about Labour doing “dirty deals” with the Greens. (For the record, since 2002, the Greens’ policy has been to campaign for the Party Vote, not the Electorate Vote. Gower was making sh*t up when he claimed – without any actual evidence – that Labour and the Greens colluded in Ohariu in 2011.)

Being “principled” will not prevent public attacks by  right-wing commentators; headline-hunting conservative msm journos; business interests; National/ACT; etc.

Being “principled” will simply give National a free run in this years’ election.

Being “principled” and attacking potential allies will result in under-mining potential coalition partners.

Being “principled” and attacking potential allies will result in looking weak and fractured, in the eyes of the public.

Being “principled” and attacking potential allies smacks of dis-unity. Dis-unity, in the eyes of the public, is not a Government-in-waiting. It is Labour unable to set aside self-interest and  party-politics for the good of the nation.

If the public perceive that Labour is more interested in attacking it’s own potential allies – and here is the nub of the problem – then why should people vote for such a fractious party that appears unable to work alongside said potential allies?

National – polling in high 40s and low 50s – cultivates potential allies.

Labour – polling in high 20s and low 30s – undermines, attacks, and marginalises it’s own potential allies.

Contrast Labour’s current destructive pattern of behaviour with National’s attitude, as repeated ad nauseum by John Key;

 We’ve shown we can deliver strong and stable government and can work with other parties for the good of the country, even when those parties have different policies.

Labour says that it will campaign on it’s own policies.

So does National.

But the difference  – the B-I-G difference – is that in doing so, National does not attempt to subvert the chances of it’s potential allies. Quite the contrary, it nurtures it’s potential coalition partners like a farmer tending to his flock.

Is this “dirty deal-making” as sensationalist media headline-mongers keep hysterically screaming?

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Patrick Gower - laila harre - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

Patrick Gower - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

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– or has National understood what the public really, really, really want; constructive co-operation between political parties?

How many times have we heard the public say, “why can’t they work together for the good of the country?”.

Well, National’s strategists have understood and implemented this very simple truism; the public do not like seeing squabbling politicians. The public want political parties to work together, collegially  to solve pressing problems.

That is why Key keeps repeating his mantra,

 We’ve shown we can deliver strong and stable government and can work with other parties for the good of the country blah blah blah.. 

That is why National is high up in the polls.

That is why Labour is floundering and losing support. And respect.

That is why the latest Roy Morgan poll – the most reasonably accurate of all polls (except the one that really counts on Election Day) – had this recent shocking result;

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National (52.5%) surges to election winning lead while Labour/ Greens (38%) slump to lowest since last New Zealand Election as Greens propose a Carbon Tax to replace the Emissions Trading Scheme

Today’s New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows a strong gain in support for National (52.5%, up 7%) now at their highest since before the last New Zealand Election and well ahead of a potential Labour/Greens alliance (38%, down 6%) – almost matching their performance at the 2011 New Zealand Election at which the two parties polled a combined 38.5%.

Support for Key’s Coalition partners has also improved with the Maori Party 1.5% (up 0.5%), ACT NZ (1%, up 0.5%) and United Future 0% (unchanged).

Support has fallen significantly for all Opposition parties with the Labour Party down 1.5% to 29%, the Greens down 4.5% to 9% (the lowest support for the Greens since September 2011), New Zealand First 4.5% (down 1.5%) and Mana Party 0.5% (down 0.5%). Support for the Conservative Party of NZ is 1% (unchanged) and the Internet Party is 0.5% (unchanged).

If a National Election were held now the latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows that the result would be a landslide victory for the National Party and a third term for Prime Minister John Key.

 

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That is why the Left will lose on 20 September.

Unless Labour radically changes tack and demonstrates to the public that they are more interested in working together with potential partners – than wrecking their chances at winning votes – voters will be put off. Telling the public that Labour “can work with other parties after the election” is not good enough. Labour must show it can do it.

Otherwise, as one quasi-fascist right-wing blogger put it, the public will perceive that “things are falling apart for the Labour Party“.  He may have a valid point.

Again, as Gordon Campbell stated,

 Labour may just be mule-headed enough – and tribally fixated on the FPP-era of politicking – to try and get rid of Harawira at all costs, and thereby torpedo one of its main chances of forming the next government.

At which Scott Yorke at Imperator Fish added;

 How not to win an election…

…Pretend that we still have a First Past the Post electoral system.”

It is supremely ironic that National – the champion of the Cult of Individualism – can work collectively and collegially with other political parties. But Labour – a party of the left, which espouses collective action for the greater good – is desperately and greedily scrabbling for votes for itself and attacking  potential allies.

Also ironic is that the current MMP rules were set by a National government for the benefit of National. When other parties such as Mana-Internet try to use those very same rules, the reaction from National,  the media, and other right wing commentators, is both vicious and sustained.

Unfortunately, Labour have bought into National’s strategy.  The concept of “principles” – which utterly eludes the Right – has been used to frame the issue of small, left-wing parties “coat tailing” into Parliament. It is “un-principled” when the Left does it.

When National does it, they are being “pragmatic” and duly ignore the shrill screams of the likes of Gower, Garner, et al.

Because in the final analysis, National has sussed perfectly well what the public wants.

We have three months to do likewise.

Or we will lose.

 

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References

TVNZ News: Former MP Laila Harre tipped as Internet Party’s new leader

Twitter: Chris Hipkins

Facebook: Phil Goff

Twitter: David Farrar

Twitter: Hamish Price

Twitter: Chris Hipkins

Twitter: Chris Hipkins

Twitter: Jackal (Jackalblog)

Twitter: Andrew Riddell

Twitter: Chris Hipkins

Twitter: Kelvin Davis

Twitter: Keeping Stock

Fairfax media: Government’s MMP review response slammed

TV3: John Key’s State of the Nation speech – the main points

Kiwiblog: Mana-Dotcom Alliance

TV3: Dirty electorate political deals, done dirt cheap

Twitter: Patrick Gower

Roy Morgan Poll

Previous related blogposts

The Mana-Internet Alliance – My Thoughts

Patrick Gower – losing his rag and the plot

Judith Collins issues decision on MMP Review!

Additional

Fairfax media: Labour MPs not happy with Mana-Internet

Other blogs

The Standard: Labour’s Mana Internet Party dilemma

Gordon Campbell: Gordon Campbell on the rise of Laila Harré

The Daily Blog:  Authoritarian Labour: Why Kelvin Davis needs to STFU – and soon!

The Daily Blog:  Keep Calm And Carry On: Why the Left should ignore the next round of poll results

Imperator Fish: How to win an election

 


 

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Why I am a Leftie

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 7 June 2014.

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Random Thoughts on Random Things #6…

11 June 2014 4 comments

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In 1987, New Right, pro-free market, British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, was famously quoted saying;

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margaret-thatcher

“And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour…”

 

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(Interview 23 September 1987, as quoted in by Douglas Keay, Woman’s Own, 31 October 1987)

If , as the New Right maintains – “there is no such thing as society” – we should not be surprised that those who feel  alienated and adrift; angry and isolated; also believe  “there is no such thing as society“.

What else is there for them?

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social ills

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After all, if Margaret Thatcher was correct, “and, you know, there is no such thing as society” – then the term “anti-social” doesn’t apply.  How can one be “anti-social” without first acknowledging the existence of society?

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References

Wikiquote:  Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher Foundation: Woman’s Own – interview – 31 October 1987


 

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Why I am a Leftie

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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Letter to the Editor – Dom Post editorial off into LaLaLand…

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old-paper-with-quill-pen-vector_34-14879

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Today’s (9 June 2014)  editorial in the ‘Dominion Post was an interesting take on the John Banks Affair and National’s cynical exploitation of MMP’s “coat tailing” provision;

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Stuff.co.nz

Editorial: Discredited flaw still being exploited

Last updated 05:00 09/06/2014

Every electoral system has flaws which politicians exploit. The coat-tailing provision of MMP is now utterly discredited, but it survives because it serves powerful political interests – especially the National Party’s. The clause should be abolished, but no National-led government will do so.

Labour promises to quickly abolish the clause, which allows a party with just one electorate seat to avoid the 5 per cent parliamentary threshold, if it gains power. There is already a paradox here. Labour might have to rely on the votes of the Mana-Internet Party to do so. But Mana-Internet will get into Parliament only via the coat-tailing clause. Nobody believes it will get 5 per cent of the vote.

The case for abolishing coat-tailing is overwhelming, and was made by the Electoral Commission in 2012. That inquiry grew out of John Key’s promise to “kick the tyres” of MMP, but his government ignored the recommendations. The reason is quite simple: coat-tailing helps the National Party. The Government’s refusal to take any notice of the inquiry was naked realpolitik and a supremely cynical act.

National’s coat-tailing deals with ACT in Epsom have left an especially sour taste in voters’ mouths. Key’s “tea-party” with the-then ACT leader John Banks before the 2011 election was widely recognised as a stunt.

The politicians invited the media to their meeting and then shut them out of the coffee-house while they had their “secret” and entirely meaningless chat. It added insult to injury that Key complained to the police after a journalist taped their conversation.

National and ACT had done similar self-serving deals in Epsom before, and showed just how unfair coat-tailing can be. In the 2008 election ACT got 3.65 per cent of the vote but won five seats in the House thanks to coat-tailing. New Zealand First, by contrast, got slightly more than 4 per cent of the vote but no seats in the House, because it won no electorate. This was mad, but highly convenient to the two right-wing parties.

Coat-tailing, in fact, has kept the dying and discredited ACT party alive. It delivered John Banks a seat in the House, and this week Banks stood disgraced when found guilty in the High Court of knowingly filing a false electoral return. Key, whose self-serving deal with Banks has hurt his own credibility, has even persisted in defending Banks’ “honesty” since the verdict. Now, of course, the Left is doing its own tawdry coat-tailing deal in Te Tai Tokerau. Without Hone Harawira’s electorate seat, Internet-Mana would go nowhere.

Hard-nosed strategists such as Internet Party leader Laila Harre argue that this is “taking back MMP”, as though this kind of thing was a blow for people power instead of the cynical politicking that it really is.

Two wrongs don’t make a right, no matter what power-hungry politicians might think. The Government should abolish the coat-tailing clause, along with its associated overhang provision, and drop the 5 per cent threshold to 4 per cent. However, it won’t happen while National is in power.

– The Dominion Post

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Note the highlighted sentence; ” Now, of course, the Left is doing its own tawdry coat-tailing deal in Te Tai Tokerau. Without Hone Harawira’s electorate seat, Internet-Mana would go nowhere“.

That statement demanded a response…

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FROM:   "f.macskasy" 
SUBJECT: Letter to the Editor
DATE:    Mon, 09 Jun 2014 10:11:45 +1200
TO:     "Dominion Post" <letters@dompost.co.nz> 

 

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The editor
Dominion Post

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Your editorial on National's exploitation of MMP's
'coat-tailing' provision was insightful until this jarring
statement ruined it;

"Now, of course, the Left is doing its own tawdry
coat-tailing deal in Te Tai Tokerau. Without Hone Harawira's
electorate seat, Internet-Mana would go nowhere." (9 June)

What "tawdry coat-tailing deal" might that be?

Because every indication is that not only will Labour refuse
to engage in any deal-making, but  MPs Chris Hipkins, Kelvin
Davis, Stuart Nash, et al, have been vociferously attacking
the Internet-Mana Party on social media. If any such "deal"
exists, someone forgot to tell those Labour MPs.

However, if even Labour and Mana-Internet came to an
Epsom-like arrangement - so what?

Those are the rules that this government has decreed and
must be played. Anyone playing by some other mythical
"principled" rules will sit saint-like on the Opposition
benches whilst National gerrymanders the system.

Suggesting otherwise creates an unlevel playing field that
benefits one, at the expense of others, and is untenable.

If it's good enough for National to arrange deals in Epsom,
Ohariu, and soon with the Conservative Party, then it should
be good enough for everyone.

No one takes a knife to a gunfight unless they are dead-set
on losing.


-Frank Macskasy
[address and phone number supplied]

 

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References

Dominion Post:  Editorial – Discredited flaw still being exploited

 


 

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Skipping voting is not rebellion its surrender

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

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Graham McCready to John Banks – an Open Letter

This has to be the most compassionate thing I’ve read in a long, long time…

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TO John Banks Copy the Rest of New Zealand

Dear John,

I can understand the situation you find yourself in having been in the same situation myself.

From this personal experience I can tell you that you are at serious risk of receiving a jail term of about 18-months.

His Honour has given you the opportunity to qualify for Home Detention.
The term is likely to be about six months.
He is NOT going to consider a discharge without conviction.
That is a delusional fantasy.
If David Jones QC continues to suggest the possibility my advice is to sack him and file a complaint with the Law Society on the basis of gross incompetence.

See my attached missive on the process.
If you get home detention your overseas travel will suffer minimal disruption.
Any jail term of one year or more and the Inter Islander Ferry may be about your limit.

How then do you ensure you stay out of jail?

Accept responsibility for your actions.

Immediately as part of acceptance resign from Parliament.

Do not dance on the head of a pin before the Probation Officer on the difference between “Found Guilty of an Indictable Criminal Offence” and “A Conviction being entered”.

On Monday YOU contact the Probation Service.
Do not let your clown of a lawyer do it or wait for a Probation Officer to phone you.

COOPERATE with them. BE VERY HUMBLE

Tell them you have royally screwed up and that you are unconditionally guilty.

Do a press conference and make an unreserved apology to the People of New Zealand for your conduct.
Back that up by a huge donation to low decile schools.
Do not say which ones or how much.
That will not get you off but it will be spiritually uplifting

Tell them you will not be appealing the verdict.

DO NOT ATTACK OTHER PERSONS INVOLVED IN THE CASE.

Assure the Probation Officer that you will comply with all instructions and conditions of Home Detention no matter how tedious. And they will be tedious.

Treat the Probation Officer with respect.
Do not make racial or serious remarks.
You may find your Probation Officer is a young female Criminology Grad less than half you age.

The Probation Service will need to approve your apartment for Home Detention.
From my experience it is probably not suitable.
The reason is that a Probation Officer or Security Guard cannot walk up to the front door 24-hours a day because of the building security.
Tomorrow rent a VERY MODEST house with walk up to the front door.
Talk to the Probation Service about this.

Finally welcome to the Human Race.
We are not bad people who will become good, just human beings who do good and bad things at various times of our lives.

This too will pass.

Wishing you all the health, happiness and success I enjoy for myself one day at a time.

Kindest Regards

Graham Mc Cready

 

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[Re-printed verbatim.]

[Acknowledgement: Penny Bright]

Well said, Graham.

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Patrick Gower – losing his rag and the plot

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Foot In Mouth

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When I first read  Patrick Gower’s comments on Twitter;

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Patrick gower - twitter - laila harre - mana internet party alliance

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– I was gobsmacked.

For a moment I considered that his account had been hacked and hijacked by ACT-On-Campus agitators.

Then I read several further “tweets” from the TV3  journalist;

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Patrick gower - twitter - laila harre - mana internet party alliance (2)

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This was not the work of a “hacker”.

More like a hack.

Note Gower’s comments,

1.

“Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP Same goes for your pals Hone, Dotcom, Minto and Sykes.”

I trust that Gower will not be surprised if Ms Harré declines any further interviews  with him? After all, Laila’s compassion would not allow her to make poor Patrick “feel sick“.

2.

“No I’m not OK with it. It’s not OK. Rorting MMP is not OK.”

 

No, Patrick. A strategic alliance between two political parties is not a “rort”.  It is making full use of the rules of MMP – as this current government has itself endorsed and used on at least two occasions.

Secondly, it is not a “rort” because the strategic co-operation is out in the public domain, for all to see. Including the voters of Te Tai Tokerau.

It is up to voters to determine if it is a rort or not.

I would add that this strategic co-operation was done more openly; more transparently than the *nudge,nudge, wink, wink* “cuppa tea” meeting between John Key and John Banks, in an Epsom coffee shop, on 11 November 2011. And far more open  and upfront that the sham candidacy of National Party candidate, Katrina Shanks, in Ohariu in the 2011 Election.

Was the Alliance – set up in 1991  between the NewLabour Party, Mana Motuhake, Greens, and Democratic Party (a fifth party, the Liberals, joined later)  – also a “rort”?

Or was it a what it was – a strategic alliance of small parties to adapt to the rules of the then-electoral system of First Past the Post?

The rules of MMP were not decided by Lalia Harré, Hone Harawira, Kim Dotcom, John Minto, or Annette Sykes. They can only use what they have been given.

3.

“I want coat-tailing to go. I want politicians to stop rorting MMP.”

Fine. But I really think you should take that up with John Key and Judith Collins.

They are the ones who decided to keep the “coat tailing” provisions.

They are the ones who rejected the recommendations of the Electoral Commission to eliminate the “coat tailing” rule and reduce the threshold for Parties from 5% to 4%. But they refused. Why?  Because the “coat-tailing” rule suited them very nicely.

When a governing party decides to preserve a provision in an electoral system because it increases their chances of winning more seats, or gaining seats for prospective allies – that is a “rort”.

It is also known as gerrymandering.

Blaming two tiny political parties who, between them have one seat in Parliament, and are using the MMP system as it has been presented to them – is just too asinine to take seriously.

Gower shows himself to be the  village idiot, with an over-inflated sense of self-worth, is he does not understand this simple truism.

4.

“I fight those deals too.”

“Lets fight these deals together.”

Really?

And here I was, thinking that you were a political journalist reporting the news – not making it or judging it.

Aren’t you supposed to present the facts to us, and leave the evaluation to us, Joe and Jane Public?

Or are we too thick to be able to form our own opinions without journalists now telling us what and how to think?!

If you want to do a Campbell Live or Paul Henry style of story-telling – get your own show, Mr Gower. Then we can keep the differentiation between real reporting and advocacy journalism.

5.

“Nobody in politics will – all are too greedy for power.”

Really?!

Funny thing about that, Mr Gower –  all those “greedy for power” were elected to office by us, the People. If you have a problem with that – take it up with the voters who put those politicians into office. I’d like to see Patrick Gower make a tweet, for example;

“Voters of Epsom – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP Same goes for your pals, the voters in Ohariu.”

I could see your employers having ‘kittens‘ if you tried to slag off tens of thousands of potential viewers with such a shotgun-style delivery of abusive criticism, eh?

What really annoys me about such a cynical state that “Nobody in politics will – all are too greedy for power” is that it is patently untrue. It is a generalisation based on nothing except your own personal experiences and cynical outlook on life.

Because, really, what is the alternative?

Democracy is be the worst form of political system – except all the others, as some famous bloke said a while ago.

By your cynicism you are simply perpetuating the feeling of alienation that pervades our society and helping to further voter disengagement rather than doing anything positive to improve the system.

Maybe I’m missing something here?

Perhaps trying to increase disengagement – especially with parties on the Left – is your real agenda?

6.

“It is about standards. Somebody has to hold the line”

I guess it’s easier to maintain “standards” and “hold the line” when it’s two small parties, with one MP between them – rather than the governing party in power, with fiftynine MPs, and the full force of the State behind them?

That’s the ‘trick’, Paddy, start small, on the little guy. And if you can beat him up, move on to the next little guy. But whatever you do – don’t take on the Big Boys, Paddy. Because you know they’ll kick your flabby arse from one end of this country to the other.

7.

“@RusselNorman Yes. But now it is time for the Greens to show some backbone and rule out working with the Mana-Dotcom rort. Why won’t you?”

Ah, and here we have it – the nub of it all.

This is not about “rorting” MMP. Or keeping “standards“. Or “holding the line“. Or any other lofty ideals.

Nah.

This is about keeping a Labour-Green-Mana-Internet Party(-NZ First?) coalition government from taking power post September 20th.

Because if the Greens (and Labour) were foolish enough to follow  Gower’s suggestion – that would effectively lock out any chance of a new government forming, thereby throwing out Key and his cronies.

Bear in mind that when National did their dirty deal in Epsom with John Banks – Gower did not call on Key “ to show some backbone and rule out working with the ACT-Banks rort”.  (If he did, I must have missed it.)

That is what this is all about. All this self-righteous, indignant chest-thumping – to keep National in power and prevent a left-wing government taking office.

How else does one explain the volume of hysteria associated with two tiny political parties that barely register 2% (collectively!) in the polls?

Answer? Because it threatens the established system and those who maintain it and profit by it.

Gower has seriously damaged any credibility he might have had.

By his own words, he has disclosed his agenda.

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References

Twitter: Patrick Gower


 

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20 september 2014 VOTE

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 1 June 2014.

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PM unimpressed by protest outside his house – Afghans unimpressed by mass murder at weddings

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obama-drone-strikes- judge-jury-executioner

 

 

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On a quiet evening, in a leafy suburb in Auckland, around forty people gathered to hold a peaceful candle-lit vigil outside the mansion of multii-millionaire Prime Minister, John Key.

They were protesting at New Zealand’s complicit support of President Obama’s drone strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan,  and Yemen.

Drones are remote controlled robot planes that carry deadly missiles packed with high explosives. When they detonate, unlike a single bullet, they will  injure, maim, or kill  anyone and everyone within a  60 metre radius. Sixty metres – nearly the width of a rugby field.

Drone strikes have been used to kill alleged “terrorists”. They have also killed hundreds of innocent civilians.

In December 2009, a drone attack in Afghanistan killed forty people, including twentytwo children and  twelve women, in a village called al-Majala.

Four years later, in December 2013, ten people were killed instantly and another five died later from their missile-inflicted injuries. All of them were innocent people on their way to a wedding in Yemen.

There are  reports of other wedding parties also being bombed by US drone strikes.

But even those who have been deliberately targetted by the American Empire, as designated “terrorist” targets, have not been charged, tried, or convicted of any crime. Unlike a man on a battlefield shooting at you, these so-called “terrorists” have not been proven guilty of any wrong-doing.

Question: when did it become OK for Americans to condone State-sanctioned executions, without due process of the law? When did it become ok to designate human beings as “terrorist targets”, without evidence,  and kill them?

Once upon a time, no US president would have countenanced such acts – State-sanctioned executions – without mass protests on the streets of every major city in that country.

After the terrible event that was September 11, the collective psyche of the American people  changed significantly. It became more fearful, anxious, and  susceptible to stories of terror. That fear has silenced Americans’ usual sense of what is right and what is unacceptable.

Americans have been terrorised into submission – but not by Al Qaeda terrorists.

With their silence, they condone the extra-judicial killing of human beings in other countries, without any cloak of justice.

This, in my mind, is even more terrible than the destruction of the World Trade Centre towers. This, to me, signifies that the United States of America has lost it’s ‘moral compass’.

Meanwhile, a group of people in Auckland held a quiet, peaceful, vigil outside the Prime Minister’s residence. The vigil was a protest at New Zealand’s participation of the so-called “Five Eyes Network”, which has most likely (according to John Key) provided useful information to the American Empire in it’s War of Terror against the rest of the world.

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PM Unimpressed by protest outside his house - NZ Herald

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– he was none too happy. Prime Minister John Key’s response was,

 “I’ve always been a bit of the view myself that it’s not really cricket.

He added,

“Yesterday was family day, the afternoon when I got back was Max’s birthday, and just generally speaking it’s our home environment.”

John Key and his family are lucky people. Lucky not to be living in Afghanistan or Yemen. Lucky  that it was Max’s birthday.

It could just as easily have been another country and another event.

Like a wedding party.

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References

Washington Post: Everything you need to know about the drone debate, in one FAQ

Al Jazeera: Yemenis seek justice in wedding drone strike

New York Daily News: Yemen officials: U.S. drone strikes convoy heading to wedding party, kills 15

The Nation: The US Has Bombed at Least Eight Wedding Parties Since 2001

NZ Herald:  PM unimpressed by protest outside his house

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john key supports state sanctioned murder

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 31 May 2014.

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3 June 1989 – Tiananmen Square – A remembrance for those who perished…

… history will remember you as heroes.

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 Tiananmen Square

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Democratic change will come to China.

It is the will of the people.

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