Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Big Brother’

2013 – The Year We Became a Policed Surveillance State

30 July 2013 2 comments

Mark 2013AD  in our history books. It is the year that we became a Policed Surveillance State…

.

Dear Leader is Watching

.

Peter Dunne has capitulated to John Key’s “compromises”, and will give National his support to pass the Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill and it’s sister Bill, the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Amendment Bill.

.

Dunne backs expanded spy powers

Source: Fairfax Media – Dunne backs expanded spy powers

.

Peter Dunne’s sell-out should bring no joy to civil libertarians and to those New Zealanders who understand the full implications of these two proposed laws.

Every New Zealander will now potentially be under surveillance. Everyone.

The passing of these two Bills is not the end of the story, however. National also has another plan in store for us,

.

Kindy kids to have ID numbers

Source: NZ Herald – Kindy kids to have ID numbers

.

The numbering of children will begin with beneficiary families. That’s how it usually begins; with those at the bottom of the socio-economic heap, and who have been so completely dehumanised by constant vilification and finger-pointing that the Middle Classes no longer consider them as human. Certainly not people they feel empathy with.

Such is the purpose of  well-designed, repetitive, propaganda. The Big Lie.

Of course, once New Zealanders are accustomed to the numbering and surveillance of beneficiary children – National will eventually expand the programme to include all children from all families. Everyone will become a number.

The numbering of  our children – coming to all Kiwi families Real Soon.

Quasi-fascists and naive right-wing bloggers such as that witless, lying fool, Cameron Slater, are positively wetting themselves with delirious joy that New Zealand is a step further to being a Policed Surveillance State.

This could only have come about because of Key’s popularity with the Right Wing and the lumpen-proletariat/middle classes. (XYZ Factor anyone?! Out-House Improvement?? Survivor Eketahuna?!!?)

Had Labour tried to pass these two Bills, the Right would be fainting  from apoplexy-inspired coronary attacks and the media headlines would be written in gory, blood-red headlines damning the rise of the ‘Big Brother’ State.

God knows the fuss over shower-heads raised the level of hysteria to heights not seen since the 1950s “red scare”.

But because our high-polling, smile & wave, Prime Minister is fronting this massive expansion of  State power, only the Left and a few other isolated voices are vocal in their objection.

Interestingly – but unsurprisingly –  several of Slater’s own commentators expressed unease at National’s expansion of the GCSB’s powers. One poster made this unerringly accurate observation,

.

comment on GCSB Bill - whaleoil blog

Source: Whaleoil – Peter Dunne has found his stones, will support GCSB bill

.

Slater’s readers seem brighter than the sleaze-meister himself.

So much for Rightwing rhetoric about getting the State out of our lives and reducing the role of government…

But Cows4me has made a valid point (one which Slater doesn’t – or can’t – answer).

The GCSB and telco Bills are being passed by a government “friendly” to rightwingers. So nothing to fear, as Slater and some of his brain-numb sycophants keep telling themselves.

Except…

Every three years, we have these little events called “elections”.

And every so often, the public – bless their cotton socks – tire of rightwing economic orthodoxy and vote for a left-wing government to clean up the social mess created by National policies. As happened in November 1999.

Allowing the GCSB to spy on New Zealand citizens, and employing the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Amendment Bill, gives an awful lot of power to Prime Ministers – including left-wing Prime Ministers.

Rightwing bloggers like Slater and David Farrar often receive leaks from various Parliamentary sources.

The same applies to left-wing bloggers.

Now imagine that a left-wing government is elected in 2014 (still a strong possibility despite some shonkey polls)…

Imagine that rightwing bloggers go into hyper-drive with their sledging of the new government…

And imagine that a Minister in the new government becomes pissed off with something that Slater or Farrar or some other RWNJ blogger writes…

The Minister has a chat with the PM… the PM has a quiet word with the new head of the GCSB… the GCSB checks the internet activities of Right Wing blogger Mr X… and discovers that Mr X has been secretly chatting up young ladies on Facebook. Which is something that Mr X’s wife might take a dim view of.

And lo! A left-wing blogger is leaked this information and posts some very strong hints about Mr X’s proclivities and activities on his/her own blog… (In fact, there might even be a new blogsite created, by an anonymous left-wing blogger, for just this very purpose.)

If I were Slater or Farrar or any of their rightwing fellow-bloggers, I would not be so chirpy at the GCSB being given such vast new powers. In fact, I’d be hoping that my past and current life  is squeaky-clean.

Same goes for commentators on right-wing blogs who hide behide the anonymity of pseudonyms. A GCSB operative checking IP numbers and relying on their new powers granted under the  Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Amendment would soon reveal their true identities.

Imagine then, if you will, that it was discovered that a commentator was posting from a work station. How would his/her employer feel if they were informed that their employee was indulging in blogging activity during work hours?

Unlikely, you might think?

Not really. Government ministers already leak information to bloggers.

And Paula Bennett certainly didn’t think twice before releasing private details of two solo-mothers in 2009,

.

No apology from Bennett over leaked income data

Source: NZ Herald – No apology from Bennett over leaked income data

.

Politics just got a whole lot more “interesting”.

Welcome to New Zealand, the Policed Surveillance State of the 21st century.

Next step,

.

ID Card

.

Followed by,

.

 

barcoded humans

.

Unlikely?

That’s what was promised about the GCSB when it was first set up in 1977 by Rob Muldoon: it would never be allowed to spy on New Zealand citizens.

People trusted Muldoon then.

As people trust Key now.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 25 July 2013.

.

.

= fs =

Advertisements

Bricks, Bouquets, Bain, and Winston Peters

30 June 2013 1 comment

.

Brickbats

.

Brick1

.

There is an unpleasant tendency in our politics for parties to bash each other when they amend or dump a policy.

I’m not referring to breaking election pledges, such as National’s raising GST when Key promised that would not happen. That was clearly dishonest, and worthy of public condemnation.

I am referring to Parties putting forward a new policy outside of the Election period, and which the public has not had an opportunity to consider. These are policies that have not been tested, and are yet to be  subject to scrutiny, debate, and a verdict from the public.

Recent examples include Labour dropping their policy to remove GST from fresh food; National changing their policy on class-room sizes; and the Greens dumping their policy on Quantitative Easing.

National’s “u-turn”  on the Auckland rail-loop is another example. In this instance, the issue of the Rail Loop has been discussed and debated in the public arena. Eventually,  National Ministers realised that there was strong public support for this project and their own oppositional posture was no longer tenable. (No doubt this realisation was amply assisted by Focus Groups.)

So, yesterday, the Nats announced that they would be supporting the Rail Loop, with appropriate levels of funding,

.

Govt to contribute to Auckland rail link

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ – Govt to contribute to Auckland rail link

.

– and the response from Labour; other political opponents; and the media was to slam National for it’s “u turn”.

Now, I’ll emphasise the point here that I am no friend of right wing governments. That includes this National government.

But. When the Nats  change their policies to be more in line with New Zealanders’ expectations; and when they dump an unpopular policy which was based more on ideological clap-trap rather than common sense; and when they bow to public and political pressure to adopt more progressive policies – they should be encouraged and applauded.

Otherwise, if we’re not going to give  positive reinforcement to their policy changes, the Nats will simply refuse to countenance future backdowns when faced with public opposition.

After all,  where is the profit in listening to criticism and dropping a policy  if you’re going to be bollicked regardless?

In this respect, I think there is a fair degree of immaturity on this issue and it’s high time we did a bit of growing up. Schoolyard tit-for-tats is no way to do consenting adult politics.

Hat-tip: No Right Turn

.

Bouquets

.

Bouquet3

.

Big Ups to National for reversing it’s opposition to the Auckland Rail Loop.  This will be of major benefit to Auckland; improve public transport; take pressure of roads; reduce petrol consumption (and petroleum imports); create new jobs; and boost the economy. There is no downside to this major infra-structure project.

My only criticism is that National has delayed the project by three years; planning to start in 2020, rather than 2017. I see no practical reason for this delay and will only push up the cost of the project.

If it’s worthy of support by central government then it’s worthy of being initiated ASAP.

This blogger looks forward to more progressive changes to National’s policies.

.

The Bain Mystery: case closed

.

Bain case - Two dark lines on thumb point to father as killer

Acknowledgement: NZ Herald: Bain case: Two dark lines on thumb point to father as killer

.

Last night’s (26 June) Third Degree on TV3 was as dramatic as the programme promos made out. New evidence indicates fairly conclusively that the muderer of the Bain family in 1994 was indeed – Robin Bain.

Twin carbon-streaks on his thumb are a match with the rifle’s ammo-clip.

Along with the bloodied foot-prints tracked through the Bain residence, which were closer to Robin Bain’s foot-size than David’s, this is the evidence which conclusively identifies the killer as Robin Bain.

In the US, this kind of homocide is known as the “family annihilator”, where the most common perpetrator is the father/step father/boyfriend. In a remarkably similar case  in New Zealand in 1992, a  family annihilation was committed in a  manner eerily resembling the Bain killings;

On May 20, 1992, Brian Schlaepfer, 64, shot or stabbed the family, killing his wife Jocelyn, 55, his three sons, Peter, 39, Karl, 33, and Darrell, 31. Also slain were Peter’s wife Hazel, 42, and their son Aaron, 11.

Acknowledgement: NZ Herald – Day of slaughter on family farm

It is time for Justice Minister Judith Collins to pull finger and  pay David Bain compensation. There is no logical reason to stall any longer.

Whoever is holding up this process in National’s caucus no longer has a rationale for their intransigence.

What’s it to be, Ms Collins – bouquets or brickbats?

.

Winston Peters channels Orwell

.

Peters blasts 'Orwellian' censorship over stand on migrants

Acknowledgement: NZ Herald – Peters blasts ‘Orwellian’ censorship over stand on migrants

.

The irony of Winston Peters channelling George Orwell’s 1984 should not be lost on anyone.  Mr Peters points out that life under Orwell’s totalitarian regime of Big Brother involved absolute suppression of free speech.  The slightest murmur of dissent invited dreadful retaliation by The State.

But Mr Peters also forgot to mention that in 1984, Big Brother was able to maintain it’s iron grip over the people by means of total surveillance.

Quite simply,  in 1984 the State watched and listened to everything that people said. Everything. No one was exempt.

Which sounds remarkably like the Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill.

This Bill seeks to expand the powers of the GCSB to be allowed to spy on all New Zealanders.

Winston Peters is considering supporting this Bill (see:  Peters open to compromise over GCSB bill).

So, what was it you were saying about George Orwell’s 1984, Mr Peters?

Vote the Bill down, Mr Peters, vote it down. Do it for free speech; do it for privacy, and do it to keep Big Brother out of our lives.

Bouquets or brickbats?, Mr Peters?

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 28 June 2013.

.

*

.

References

NZ Herald: Day of slaughter on family farm (19 May 2007)

TVNZ: Bain trial considers sockprint measurements (20 April 2009)

Fairfax media: Key ‘no GST rise’ video emerges (10 Feb 2010)

Fairfax media: Class-size backdown ‘to haunt National‘ (10 June 2012)

TV3:  Labour gone cold on GST-free food (25 March 2013)

NZ Herald: Greens ditch quantitative easing policy (19 June 2013

NZ Herald: Peters blasts ‘Orwellian’ censorship over stand on migrants (25 June 2013)

Radio NZ:  Govt to contribute to Auckland rail link (26 June 2013)

TVNZ:  Peters open to compromise over GCSB bill (26 June 2013)

NZ Herald: Bain case: Two dark lines on thumb point to father as killer (26 June 2013)

.

.

= fs =

Westpac, Peter Dunne, & Edward Snowden…

23 June 2013 7 comments

.

Edward Snowden Charged With Espionage Over NSA Leaks

Acknowledgement: Huffington Post –  Edward Snowden Charged With Espionage Over NSA Leaks

.

Are we  witnessing the first green buds of the Earth Spring?  All over the world, the winds of change are blowing harder and harder.

The Arab Spring was first, and people rose up against dictators in Algeria, Egypt, and Libya. In Syria, a similar popular uprising  turned into a bloody sectarian war, claiming nearly a hundred thousand lives. Dictator Assad will not give up power easily.

In the West, the Occupation movement flowered for a brief moment, but has become dormant again… for a while.

In Turkey and Brazil, people have come out onto the streets to oppose their  governments. Even democratically elected governments are feeling the brunt of popular discontent.

In the US, even as a once great symbol of freedom devolves into a police surveillance state, individuals are risking personal safety and rebelling.

Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden are two such men.

Manning was arrested in May 2010, and is currently facing a military trial (and we know how that will turn out).

Now, Edward Snowden is the latest whistleblower to be charged by an American system that is becoming more and more despotic.

When a government fears it’s own people, it is well past it’s Use By date.

Bradley and Snowden: history books will be kinder to them than the politicians who persecuted them.

.

.

*

.

Dunne hasn't made up mind about GCSB bill

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ –  Dunne hasn’t made up mind about GCSB bill

.

Edward Snowden made public information that revealed that US intelligence agencies were spying on citizens in countries around the world. He revealed that no one’s privacy  was safe.

Meanwhile, here in New Zealand, the National led government is rushing a Bill through Parliament that would permit the GCSB to do precisely that; spy on New Zealanders.

We have moved from a nation that barely tolerated the State from prying into our lives – to one that is surveilling us; storing vast quantities of data on us; and now wants more power to spy on us.

There is barely a murmur in response.

Even the Right Wing – the political spectrum that is  (supposedly) the most intolerant and suspicious of  the growth of  State power – seems to be practically comatose. Though in reality that may be because National is proposing the law-change, and not Labour. If it were a Labour government…

Peter Dunne, fresh from  resigning his ministerial portfolios for allegely leaking the Kitteridge Report (or, more accurately, breaking an embargo, since it was one week away from being released anyway), has yesterday  announced that he might not support National’s  Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill.

Whilst I’m not about to look a gift-moa in the mouth and happily support Dunne on this – it does raise a few questions.

Questions like… why?!?! Up till now he has been  the obedient lap-cat of the National Party, so why all of a sudden has the Coiffured One grown a pair, and practically thrown his lot in with the Snowdens and Mannings of this world?

Martyn Bradbury on The Daily Blog has been speculating on Dunne’s motivations in his part of the GCSB Affair in a series called The Dunne & Vance Theory.

Whatever is going on – I hope Dunne votes against the Bill. We don’t need to empower our spy agencies any more than they are already. We need to remember that the State is our servant – not the other way around.

We don’t need to be constantly surveilled, in case one of us happens to nick a pen or spray-paints ‘Key Sucks’ on the footpaths outside Parliament.

Up until the 21st century, the State pursued crooks after they committed wrong-doing. Now, the State seems intent on watching us all – in case someone, somewhere, is naughty.

Isn’t that… Big Brother?

I support Dunne on this dire issue. It is time to call a halt to the rise of the Surveillance State.

Dunne may well be the man to do it.

.

.

*

.

Govt move to tender banking gets Green approval

Acknowledgement: Radio NZ – Govt move to tender banking gets Green approval

.

I’ve always wondered…

Why have successive governments (Labour as well as National)  used Australian-owned Westpac Bank to hold government accounts – known as the ‘Master Banking Contract’?   The Master Banking Contract has been held by  Westpac for 23 years despite never  being tendered out.  It covers all government departments (except  Crown entities and  SOEs).

According to Alex Tarrant,

  • In the late 1980s, Treasury undertook an open tender to select one bank to provide the Crown’s domestic banking services. Westpac was selected to provide these services and a deed entered into in January 1989.
  • A new master agreement was signed in November 2004 and, since 2005, the Crown has negotiated ongoing contractual price reductions for contract services.
  • The contract covers only the core banking services associated with operating Government departments’ bank accounts for processing domestic receipt and payment transaction banking business in New Zealand.
  • An increasing array of banking services have developed over time that are not covered by the master banking agreement with Westpac. Banking services that are not covered by the contract are regularly tendered by the departments concerned.
  • The contract applies only to Government departments, not Crown Entities or SOEs.
  • The Treasury regularly consults with key departments over pricing and service levels relating to the contract, including the possibility of conducting a future tender of the Crown’s banking arrangements.
  • The contract has not been re-tendered to date because the costs of doing so outweigh the expected benefits given the complexity of arrangements with departments and the price reductions negotiated under the existing contract.  Departments do, however, tender for a range of supplementary banking services not covered by the master banking agreement with Westpac.
  • The fee arrangements between the Crown and Westpac are commercially sensitive and are not made public.

Acknowledgement: Interest.co.nz – Government considers future of Westpac’s key 21 year-old banking deal

.

Here are two further points to consider,

  1. Last year Westpac NZ  reported   $707 million in after-tax profit  –  a 22 %  increase from 2011. (See: Westpac profit rises 22pc to $707m )
  2. In October 2009, the IRD won a lawsuit against Westpac which had been  taken to Court for tax avoidance. Not only did Westpace lose, but it ended up owing $961 million in back taxes and accrued interest. (See: Westpac loses massive tax case on all counts)

So, Mr Key or Mr English – just remind us again why the NZ Government still has a Master Contract for State banking, with a convicted tax avoider, that actively conspired to scam the tax-payer for nearly one billion dollars?!

How is that being a Good Corporate Citizen?

Perhaps we should just let the Russian Mafia tender for our banking services – the result would be the same.

So not only is Westpace making huge profits – $707 in 2012 alone – but they’re screwing us by not paying their share of tax, as the law demands.

Have I left anything out?

Screw the tender process.

Just give the Master Contract to Kiwi Bank. The benefits would be obvious to all but the most strident, dogmatic  right winger;

  1. No more tax avoidance – the Crown-appointed Board  (with Ministerial over-sight) would see to that,
  2. Kiwibank would make bigger profits and therefore pay a bigger dividend to the government,
  3. All profits remain in New Zealand and not shipped of overseas (to Australia in Westpac’s case)
  4. Less profits remitted overseas will help of balance of payments

Win/win/win/win.

I’m just gobsmacked that no politician – whether Labour or National – has ever seen the blindingly obvious nature of this commercial cock-up.

And strangely enough, it’s left-wing parties – Mana and the Greens – thay have to point this out to the more capitalist-minded Nats?!

Though the reasons why the Nats have stayed ‘sweet’ with Westpac seem to be less than commercially sensible and more to do with a good night out…

.

Greens say govt must tender master banking contract with Westpac after Ministers reveal corporate hospitality accepted from the bank

Acknowledgement: Interest.co.nz – Greens say govt must tender master banking contract with Westpac after Ministers reveal corporate hospitality accepted from the bank

.

Just to remind folks: New Zealand is the “least corrupt nation” on Earth. And government ministers are not corrupt, nor easily bought off by corporate parasites.

I can’t say otherwise.

Otherwise I’d be sued for telling the truth.

.

.

.

= fs =

Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill. – See more at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/06/21/surveillance-laws-strikebreaking-subversive-groups/#sthash.ky4ZiKiZ.dpuf

Welcome to George Orwell’s New Zealand, circa 1984

18 April 2012 1 comment

.

.

Winston dialled ‘back numbers’ on the telescreen and called for the appropriate issues of The Times, which slid out of the pneumatic tube after only a few minutes’ delay. The messages he had received referred to articles or news items which for one reason or another it was thought necessary to alter, or, as the official phrase had it, to rectify. For example, it appeared from The Times of the seventeenth of March that Big Brother, in his speech of the previous day, had predicted that the South Indian front would remain quiet but that a Eurasian offensive would shortly be launched in North Africa. As it happened, the Eurasian Higher Command had launched its offensive in South India and left North Africa alone. It was therefore necessary to rewrite a paragraph of Big Brother’s speech, in such a way as to make him predict the thing that had actually happened. Or again, The Times of the nineteenth of December had published the official forecasts of the output of various classes of consumption goods in the fourth quarter of 1983, which was also the sixth quarter of the Ninth Three-Year Plan. Today’s issue contained a statement of the actual output, from which it appeared that the forecasts were in every instance grossly wrong. Winston’s job was to rectify the original figures by making them agree with the later ones. As for the third message, it referred to a very simple error which could be set right in a couple of minutes. As short a time ago as February, the Ministry of Plenty had issued a promise (a ‘categorical pledge’ were the official words) that there would be no reduction of the chocolate ration during 1984. Actually, as Winston was aware, the chocolate ration was to be reduced from thirty grammes to twenty at the end of the present week. All that was needed was to substitute for the original promise a warning that it would probably be necessary to reduce the ration at some time in April.

P1, Ch4, “1984”, by George Orwell

.

Published around 1948, George Orwell’s vision of a nightmare  future included a vast “Ministry of Truth” where history, newspapers, and other information was re-written to suit  the needs of the ruling  Party. Anything remotely  embarressing to The Party was excised; re-written; and re-issued.

It made the State appear all-powerful; the Party infallible.

Here in New Zealand, the ruling National Party is not above borrowing from that Orwellian future – or is it now the present?

.

Source

.

No doubt when the next Police stats on crime are issued, we will see a remarkable drop in violence and/or domestic crimes in this country?

Which National will then trumpet as proof that their so-called “tough on  crime” policies are working and – Lo and Behold! – stats show a drop in violence!

Hasn’t Dear Leader done well! Doubleplusgood, as they said in Orwell’s “1984”.

Orwell even described the process of re-writing history,

.

As soon as Winston had dealt with each of the messages, he clipped his speakwritten corrections to the appropriate copy of The Times and pushed them into the pneumatic tube. Then, with a movement which was as nearly as possible unconscious, he crumpled up the original message and any notes that he himself had made, and dropped them into the memory hole to be devoured by the flames…

Even the written instructions which Winston received, and which he invariably got rid of as soon as he had dealt with them, never stated or implied that an act of forgery was to be committed: always the reference was to slips, errors, misprints, or misquotations which it was necessary to put right in the interests of accuracy.

.

Acting police minister Chester Borrows says that the new “accounting system” is geared  to bring New Zealand into line with how family violence was being reported in other countries, such as Australia,

What commentators are failing to account for is that there is no single crime called ‘domestic violence’, and that the police now include in the category of domestic violence a much wider range of crimes than the previous narrow focus on physical assaults. These changes follow international best practice – they are not hiding the figures, they are about improving Police response to domestic violence.”

Source

Of course, Minister.  No one is “forging” figures here, right?

What is happening is simply that  “… it was necessary to put right in the interests of accuracy. ”

Big Brother would be happy.

.

.

= fs =

Election Eleven – Tuesday

22 November 2011 2 comments

.

Election Eleven – Tuesday

.

.

Now this is just downright creepy:  right wing blogger, David Farrar, is now investigating private individuals who have appeared  as part of TV3’s audience for their Leader’s Debate last night? A screenshot from his Blog,

.

.

I have blanked out the names that Farrar has published and I have not linked back to his article. I have no wish to aid his witch hunt against three individuals.

But I think it is the height of hypocrisy that Farrar and his right-wing colleagues criticised Labour non-stop for “Nanny State” policy – and now he is identifying private individuals for their (supposed) political activities.

Is this to be the new standard set by right wing blogs?

It now appears that if  a New Zealand citizen is even remotely politically active, that they may be subjected to what is essentially an online, public,  “name & shame” campaign. This can only be viewed as a none-too-subtle form of intimidation. Another term is cyber-bullying.

Does this have any place in New Zealand society? Is this the direction of future politics in this country? And what will it do to getting people more involved in politics?

This isn’t “Nanny Statism”. Nope, not at all.

It’s Big Brother – and Big Brother (aka David Farrer, et al) is Watching You!

.

.

.

I’ll say it now: there is no place in politics – or any other part of our society – for behaviour like this,

.

.

Whilst I disagree with Ms Barry’s politics – she has a democratic right to go about her business without being abused like this.  I sincerely hope that anyone knowing who this man is, take him aside, and tell him that such behaviour is utterly repugnant and unacceptable.

Ms Barry is an intelligent, articulate woman who has achieved much in her life. Disagree with her if you will – but respect her for her accomplisments; her willingness to participate in the democratic process; and for simply being a human being.

Politics is a contest of ideas – not a spitting game that juveniles might indulge in.

.

.

Taken by an observant reader, and sent to me ten minutes ago,

.

.

Hmmmm, I’m guessing that for the Nats to state that “Your vote is crucial this sat”, that they are starting to panic? Something has definitely spooked the back-room National strategy boys…

.

.

… and yet more fear  mongering from John Key,  about Winston Peters? I now believe that National’s internal polling is showing that they are bleeding voter support and that they are probably somewhere around 46-48% – if not lower.

Otherwise, why would Key be wasting his time with the leader of a near-non-existent party that isn’t even represented in Parliament?!

National is right to be worried.

There are National supporters who view John Key’s scheme to sell state assets with considerable unease – if not downright hostility. Such voters are loathe to vote for a left-wing alternative such as Labour or Greens. But NZ First is a “soft Tory” alternative.

Expect Peters to return.

Expect a new Labour led coalition.

.

.

.

Oh dear. It seems that National is making election promises regarding matters that are already law,

.

.

Someone in the National camp really should check their facts. Promising to implement policy that has been a law for well over a decade seems pointless. Mind you, it is rather a cheap way to make election promises.

They won’t cost anything.

They’ve already been implemented,

.

Fraud Investigations

Fraud Investigation teams nationwide work to preserve the integrity of the income support system by preventing and detecting benefit fraud.

Fraud Investigation teams work closely with the National Data Match Centre. The Centre shares data with other government agencies including:

  • Customs
  • Inland Revenue
  • Corrections
  • Housing New Zealand
  • Accident Compensation Corporation
  • Internal Affairs.

.

And being already implemented – National can take credit for it!

What a cunning plan!

.

.

Whoopsie! Isn’t it a bugger when a photo-op comes back to bite you?

.

.

Key explains,

Lots of young people decide to go for an OE – I don’t know how long she’ll last. I’m not in a position to go into too much; hope she comes back.” Source

Ummm, John… She’s sixteen. She’s hardly likely to be going on her OE, and probably leaving  with her family. Probably long-term migration.

She and her family are joining 84,400 who have also left New Zealand in the last year.

.

.

.

How To Beat Up a Story

3 September 2011 2 comments

Today’s  “Dominion Post”  contained an interesting editorial – interesting because the editorial related to what amounts to be a non-story;

No police record, no known next of kin, no mail, no benefit history. For 30 years 88-year-old Michael Clarke kept to himself in his Newtown bedsit. Some time last year he died the same way.

His remains were discovered in his bedsit at the grim Newtown Park Flats last week. Authorities believe he may have been dead for as long as 14 months.

The discovery has triggered an outpouring of dismay, but the discovery of a body in Wellington City Council accommodation is not an uncommon occurrence. As far back as 1997 former Wellington coroner Erika Kremic called upon the council to institute regular checks of its tenants. It is a call that has been echoed periodically by police who have to deal with the grisly remains when a death goes unnoticed.

But the council says there is a limit to what it can do. Council social portfolio leader Stephanie Cook said this week that staff tried to keep tabs on tenants and knocked on doors and visited them at least once a year. Yet many of the council’s tenants valued their privacy and did not like intrusions. The newspapers plastered over interior windows in the Newtown Park complex bear out her words.

However, it is no more acceptable for bodies to lie around for weeks or months than it is to shoehorn the vulnerable into cramped, dilapidated tower blocks that reek of urine.

Tenants in the council’s 40 housing complexes – a high proportion of whom are either elderly, immigrants, or suffer from physical and psychological disabilities – should be checked upon. Any who object should be informed that the checks are a condition of occupancy.

To its credit the council is taking steps to improve the quality of its accommodation, much of it built in the 1960s to accommodate single workers.

In conjunction with the Government, it commenced a $400million upgrade of its housing stock in 2008. Interior walls have been knocked down to make bigger flats suitable for families, communal landings and long corridors have been removed to get rid of gathering places for undesirables, and communal gardens have been established to encourage neighbourliness. Already the Central Park flats at the bottom of the Brooklyn hill have been transformed and work has commenced on the three tower blocks that are to remain at the Newtown Park Flats.

But the revamp will take time and will not entirely solve the problem. As a provider of last resort housing, the council will always have antisocial tenants who object to anything they regard as scrutiny. It will also always have vulnerable tenants who are fearful and suspicious of authority. They may prefer to keep to themselves, but regular checks are preferable to the alternative – dying alone and unnoticed as Mr Clarke did.

Source

I have two problems with this editorial.

1. The editorial claims that   “the discovery has triggered an outpouring of dismay“?

That claim is debateable at best – and a downright exxageration at worst.  Comments left on the “Dominion Post’s” own webpage were, by considerable majority, of the view that Mr Clarke’s passing was regrettable and that these things sometimes happen. In other words, it is a fact of life – however sad and unpleasant – that sometimes people will pass away in such circumstances.

I have read very, very, few comments of  “dismay“.

In fact, the only “dismay” seemed to be directed at the media that appeared to be “feasting” on this story and beating it up for all it’s worth. The media appeared  to be totally out-of-step with public thinking on this issue.

2.  The next issue that I raise is this part of the editorial;

“Tenants in the council’s 40 housing complexes – a high proportion of whom are either elderly, immigrants, or suffer from physical and psychological disabilities – should be checked upon. Any who object should be informed that the checks are a condition of occupancy.”

Pardon?!

Since when did New Zealand society take a sharp right-turn (or left-turn,depending on your political viewpoint), and abrogate peoples’ rights to privacy and keeping bureacrats out of their lives, as a “condition of occupancy”?!

Would the writer of this editorial insist that everyone living in a rental flat, regardless of socio-economic position, be “checked as a condition of occupancy”?

Or is he/she simply insisting on Council/HNZ tenants?

As  MilesLacey stated  on a “Dominion Post”  Forum;

As a former Wellington City Council tenant I think it’s worth pointing out that people move in and out of WCC flats all the time so it was probably assumed by everyone that Michael Clarke had simply moved on like so many others. Even if people do think that it’s odd that someone hasn’t been around for some time there is still the notion that it’s none of our business to meddle in the affairs of others unless they let us.

We can’t force people to care about others. We can’t force people to watch out for their neighbours. Once we start doing that we move into the murky world of the surveillance state where everything we do starts being monitored “for our own good”.

And I would also point out that not all people who die alone and aren’t discovered for weeks or months on end are elderly or living in city council flats. Why impose upon the privacy of council tenants, as proposed by the editorial [of Sept 3], but not anyone else? Seems less like looking out for our neighbours and more like snooping on the “undesirables” such as the poor.” – Miles Lacey,  Sep 03 2011

Considering that Council/HNZ tenants are at the bottom of the socio-economic pile (generally), the suggestion is that if you are,

A. Poor

B. An immigrant

C. Have a disability

… then you are less deserving of privacy that someone well-off; not an immigrant; and able-bodied/minded. This is not “Nanny Statism”. It’s not even National’s “Daddy Statism”. This is Big Brother, knocking on our doors, and demanding that we open up for inspection!

Today it will be Council/HNZ tenants.

Tomorrow, it may be superannuitants.

And next week – the rest of us. Big Brotherism – for our “own good”.

And it all began with the “Dominion Post”.

For our own good, of course. Are we feeling any safer now?