Monday, 30 April 2012

Poor Boy

Manu Caddie, about whom I have blogged previously, wants to change the name of the region he lives in from Poverty Bay to Oneroa.
Names make all the difference in the world.  Let's have the name changed.

Split Enz - True Colours, 1980

I Am The Resurrection

Who?  Well, first, Christianity has a strangled-hold on the use of the term "resurrection" and unfairly so because it can be applied quite generally.
David Cunliffe could be the next great Prime Minister.  He's made several good speeches over the last couple of years about the fundamental flaws in the neo-liberal approach to money and the management of the economy, as below:
[I argue] that, post GFC, the “invisible hand” of neoliberal economics has failed, that New Zealand cannot cut or sell our way out of a hole, and that Labour must therefore present a clear alternative economic approach to the current government based on our own enduring values
Hell Yeah!
He's realised that Labour is too far right*.  And he's not afraid to say so.
Is he Jesus?  No.  Is he like Jesus?  No more so than anyone else.  Am I suggesting some association?  No.

*Labour, before it was infiltrated and overtaken by ACT in the mid-1980s, regularly received more votes than (a much more left-wing than they are today) National party, foiled only by the vagaries (and that's the nice word for it) of FPP.  A swing to the left could have the dual benefits for Labour and NZ of (a) actually getting Labour into government, now we have MMP, not FPP, and (b) forcing National to abandon some of their radical right-wing agenda.

The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses, 1989

Others Way

Love this song.
One of the mysteries I've been contemplating is the relevance of the seventh of May.  I expect it will remain a mystery.

Double Happys - Double B-Side, 1984

More Than This

Goodness me, a weekend is a long time in politics.  It was only Thursday last week I was asking about John Banks's suitability to be a cabinet minister.  Over the weekend he has provided more than sufficient evidence to prove he should not be a Member of Parliament, much less a Minister for the Crown.
I'd like to say I approach the issue from an unbiased perspective.  But I don't.  John Banks comes with a long track record of poor judgement and policy based on whim.
As Minister of Police, back in the early 1990s, he succeeded only in fostering a culture of thuggery and misogyny that had brought us thugs and criminals like Ross Meurant, and Brad Shipton and Bob Schollum.
As mayor of Auckland he did two notable things.  One was to direct public resources to modifying a carpark to suit his car.  The other was to unite the right behind him in the 2010 election.  The latter was a good thing.

Over the weekend the notorious Kim Dotcom entered the fray.  I'm not sure what to think about Mr Dotcom.  The way in which the government has cowered before the US authorities in detaining Mr Dotcom is another shameful episode visited upon us by National, so in that respect I have to give him some benefit of the doubt.  But his taste in housing, and making donations to John Banks...

The meltdown on Q+A was extraordinary.  Mr Banks's failure to provide straight answers to simple questions is unacceptable.

Then tonight there is audio of a conversation with Mr Banks where he denies (a) going to the casino with Kim Dotcom and (b) having a sexual relationship with Mr Dotcom.  I find it very difficult to believe the host genuinely was speaking to John Banks.  My best reason for this is that Banks is not famed for his liberal views on sexuality, and the leap from "relationship = sexual" to "it would be immoral to have a homosexual affair with a man who is married to a woman" happened too quickly for me to avoid suspecting it is a hoax.  If it turns out the conversation was with Banks, it is one of the most extra-ordinary pieces of radio in recent history.

John Key is backing Mr Banks and will not suspend his warrants because Mr Key will only judge him on the legality of his actions, not the morality of them.  Because as PM, he is not in the position to judge morality.  Right?  Honestly, I shook my head in amazement and wonder at how far we have fallen, to have a PM who thinks this is only a legal matter.

Truth is, this is about one of the things I cherish.  Democracy.  Writing rules around democratic process is difficult, because morality and ethics are difficult to convert to processes.  When viewing alleged transgressions, the people we elect to assess those alleged transgressions must take the conservative view and back the people who democracy is meant to protect - the citizens.  In returning to the "legal wrong" line that he ran with Mr English and his housing allowance, Mr Key has clearly backed his mates ahead of New Zealand.  As the most important person in the highest court in the land, anti-democratic behaviour like that is a good reason for resignation.

So, has John Banks done anything wrong in not declaring his donations from Kim Dotcom?  The whole theory that he received more than two donations for the amount he colluded with Kim Dotcom for, so he can't be sure which were from Mr Dotcom is bunk.  And the latest stories that Mr Banks did not call Mr Dotcom to thank him for his donations are (a) confused and (b) irrelevant and (c) only serve to make Mr Banks look ungrateful.  The correct thing to do was first check that Mr Dotcom did make the donations that were discussed - a phonecall would have done it, and (b) declared the donations.  When in doubt, err on the side of caution.

There is is, then.  Mr Banks is not suitable to hold a ministerial warrant.  He should resign his seat in parliament.  And Mr Key, in supporting Mr Banks's immoral behaviour, has crapped on democracy and shown himself to be unsuitable to be Prime Minister.  He too should resign as an MP.

The longer Mr Banks try to hold on to his warrants and electorate seat, the more this foetid mess will corrode the whole government.  In some ways I'm quite keen to see it go on.  How are the Maori Party and Peter Dunne feeling about supporting this circus, these days?

What will question time  bring tomorrow?  I'm expecting something quite unhinged.

Roxy Music - Avalon, 1982

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Quiet on tha Set

In case you missed it, here is video of a bizarre discussion between John Ansell, Morgan Godfery and Hone Harawira, notionally on the subject of race relations in New Zealand.
John Ansell well and truly jumped the shark.  His views on race relations are cringe inducing; I have more time for the JW's when they come around door knocking.  And his fervour for some theory about a powerless government commission is plotting to "Maorify everything" (whatever that means) took the cake.  I thought 9/11 conspiracy theorists, the self-styled "truthers", were bad.  John Ansell just didn't know when to shut up, and headed straight off to la-la land.  I'd feel sorry for him, but since he's bound to be a big believer in personal responsibility, nah.
Meanwhile, full respect to Hone Harawira for not taking the bait and wrestling with the proverbial pig in the mud.  Apart from a spot of finger pointing, he came across with some significant gravitas and has the makings of a very good politician.  With the right circumstances, he could be one of New Zealand's most famous politicians, amongst the likes of Vogel, Seddon, Savage and Kirk.
And thumbs down to Mark Sainsbury for trying to provoke a fight.  Very poor.


N.W.A - Straight Outta Compton, 1988

Honesty's Not Enough

Seems like John Banks can, at important times, be a stranger to the truth.  His public comments on most subjects he cares to air are characterised by being flawed and incoherent, but there are times that straight answers must, under the law, be answered with straight answers.
Signing financial statements, for example.
Or returns on election donations.
How many strikes was it that ACT, the party that Mr Banks is the sole MP for, advocate?  Three.
For the leader of a party, honesty's not enough should be a minimum standard.  For ACT's leader, it seems like a lofty, aspirational goal.

Chris Knox - Seizure, 1988

Tell It Like It Is

vto, a regular commenter on a number of NZ political blogs, nails my problems with the Labour Party in abut 20 words with this comment at The Standard.
Where are the politicians to stand up to this? Shearer, stop listening to your goons and get stuck in like a mongrel. Slacker.
 Emphasis is mine.  That's exactly what is needed.

Aaron Neville - 7" single, 1966

Billy Two


How is it that the best the National Party can offer us, in terms of a Finance Minister, since November 1993, is some twit called Bill, with no idea of how to do anything except stagnate the economy, delay the prospect of a budget surplus and make the outback of Australia look like an attractive place to move to?

The Clean - Boodle Boodle Boodle (EP), 1982

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Koka Kola

God save us, Granny says someone drank ten litres of Coke a day.  Ten litres!  And now they are dead, at 30.  Condolences to the family.
The are reported as saying they didn't know Coke is bad for you; it's a soft drink.  In case either of my readers, or any stray visitors or lost people browsing about is unclear about the fact:
Coke Is Bad For You.  Soft Drinks Are Bad For You.
To be fair, in moderation soft drinks are unlikely to have any major effects, and they go well with various alcoholic beverages, however, I digress.
Soft drinks are full of sugar, and sugar is addictive.
Coke is full of caffeine (though it is not the worst offender - Red Bull, anyone), and caffeine is addictive.
Caffeine and sugar - very addictive.
The article referenced quotes a doctor as saying a severe potassium deficiency may have contributed to the death, and such deficiency can be caused by the excessive consumption of soft drinks.  If I were part of the family I'd quit the "we didn't know" line and start talking about Coke's addictive chemistry.

The Clash - London Calling, 1979

Gouge Away

A post over at Robert Guyton's blog, on the subject of education, got me thinking.  The basis for the post was a post by Chris Trotter, at Bowalley Road, so it's come quite a way to get here.  And the posts themselves were not that exciting, it's more the comments, and what we can draw from them.
In this case it's the effectiveness of National's message-management back in the first part of their first term.  Case in point - The decision to axe night-classes was petty, poorly thought out, and economically unjustifiable.  We are worse off, as a society, as a direct result.  Yet the stupid meme that was used to sell the destructive change still persists.  The simple message was that there are courses on notionally pointless stuff like making stained glass.
Night classes were mostly about learning much more practical stuff, like languages, wood and metal crafts cooking.  I learned about computer aided draughting and small business accounting at night school., and put both to practical use.
The more abstract stuff is, well, more abstract, but using abstractness as an excuse for destroying something good is a poor reflection on our obsession with monetary value.  In business terms the value of similar concepts is referred to as "intangibles", or "brand value".  The night classes for abstract things were good for the soul (I presume, I never did one) and helped people weave their way into the fabric of the community.
I wonder whether our rapid change into a society that imports everything except food* means we have given up our crafty roots, abandoned our desire to actually build the stuff we need, and want.  Our innovative spirit has let overseas IP become a barrier.  Our talented people flown overseas to escape the miasma that is low quality jobs and poor management; visionless leadership.
We let another institution go for no good reason at all, just a simple concept expressed effectively - "night classes in making stained-glass".
*acknowledging the massive generalisation

Pixies - Doolittle, 1989

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Teethgrinder

Ruth Richardson popped her head up with an opinion piece in the Herald, yesterday.
It's verging on unreadable.  And for me unreadable is quite a low.  I struggled through some sections of Ulysses, on my first reading of it (episode Three - Proteus was most baffling), but it made sense*.
Richardson's opinion-piece is rubbish.  I had to read it twice to make sure I had not missed anything.  Strings of cliches and a collection of disparate and discredited ideas without even an attempt at making connections, or writing something that flows.  Unless it's a cunning attempt to undermine the government, I'm surprised the Herald would publish such tripe.
I feel a bit weird, having suggested some equivalence between Joyce and Richardson.  Let me express the comparison like this:
If you do not understand James Joyce, it's probably a failing on your part.  However, if you do not understand Ruth Richardson, it's definitely a failing on her part.  If you think you understand Ruth Richardson, you are seriously deluded.

*For anyone who has tried to read Ulysses and given up, I recommend Frank Delaney's podcast.  It's available weekly (on Thursdays NZT), it manages the rare feat of making what appears complex quite understandable and Frank Delaney's accent is beautiful.

Therapy? - Nurse, 1992

Upside Down

This convention centre in Auckland...
Yeah, the whole thing with the PM offering to change the law to suit big business stinks to high heaven of corruption and cronyism.  But it's been thoroughly covered across the NZ media and blogosphere, and to be fair it is not out of character at all for our PM.  The real shame is that we will be obliged to refer to him as "the Right Honourable" for the rest of his life, when he is nothing of the sort.
I'm keen to know why we (as a society) are proceeding with it in the first place.  Not the casino bit, the conference centre.
If there is an economic case for it, sure, let's build it.  Hypothetically - It could be that there is a strong case for it, good profits, short payback, in which case private business would be all over it.  Maybe the case is not so strong, but at a local (or regional if such a thing still existed in Auckland) government level some wider benefits to the community could be shown, in which case government could fund it.
But the business case is not even that strong.  Private business and local government won't touch it, because there is no viable business case.  You might think there is, if you read the Herald, where Mr Key is quoted as saying:
Meanwhile, should the deal reach fruition, any changes to the Gambling Act that would be required would not be conscience vote for National MPs.That was because Mr Key regarded the issue as primarily an economic one."It's largely the issue of a piece of infrastructure for tourism and it's an important part of building that tourism model."
typical meaningless crap, and contrasts with what was said by Mr Key on Radio NZ:

"...at the moment a convention centre, of its own free standing, will not support the return on capital, so if we want to have the convention centre with no government investment, or no local government, they will have to cross-subsidise."
"...will not support the return on capital..." - that'll be why no one with any business sense will go near this convention-centre idea.
Cross-subsidise?  What about user pays?  There's no benefit to the public, so if it can't be self funding there's no good grounds to build it.
I strongly recommend listening to the rest of the Radio NZ interview.  The Greens, who are normally derided as economically illiterate fringe dwellers, pull the whole shonky deal apart in bot economic and probity terms, and give National, who are, incidentally, the notional party of business, a serious lesson in things they should already know backwards and forwards.
So, back to the cross-subsidy.  The Prime Minister apparently believes that because a convention centre for educated and privilege professionals can not make any money, the cost difference is best made up by wringing more money out of the poor, disadvantaged and addicted.
Or maybe I missed something.  I'd like to know how Mr Key reconciles the two statements above, for starters.

The Jesus and Mary Chain - 7", 1985

End of a Century

That's 100 posts.
I've enjoyed it.  I was kind of hoping the humans that read this, and my small but dedicated band of followers (I love all four of you) have got something from my musings.
Criticism is always, well, not welcome, but closer to "welcome" than "unwanted" or "likely to provoke a fiery response".  I'm usually reasonably thick-skinned, so if you want me to post on something else, or tell me I have no idea what I am on about, please do.
So here I am, end of the century.  It's nothing special.
Blur - Parklife, 1994

Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before (Part Two)

Chris Trotter called it correctly - Mr Ford will be announced as the rebuild czar tomorrow (Thursday) or Friday.  In a similar role to his role at ARTA.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before

Chris Trotter suggests that the ACT-appointed architect of the amalgamation of local government in Auckland, Mr Ford, will be "assisting" with the rebuild of Christchurch.  I sincerely hope he is joking.  Or speculating.
Mr Ford is to local government management what the Ministry of Works were, in the 1960s, to architecture.  Brutal, functional, ruthless, pervasive.
I've not liked the parochialism that characterises Canterbury, but maybe it could have one virtue.

Little Boxes

Gawd, a cardboard cathedral, who would have thunk it?
It's the comments on the article that I love.
Things like "...cardboard?  What will happen when it rains?"  Umm, the architect has probably thought of that.  Same goes for fire-proofing.  Don't you have any more pressing concerns?
#133 (john) caught my eye with his opening gambit - "What a waist (sic)".  John, a waist is the bit between your hips and chest.  What you mean is "waste", which is what happened to your education.  Proof?  John goes on to say "OMFG The Romans build buildings that have lasted over 10,000 years".  Yeah?  The Roman Republic started in 509BC, about 250 years after Rome was founded.  Come back in a bit over 7,000 years and tell us how that 10,000 year lifespan actually went.  But enough of taking the piss...
#86 tyler has my favourite suggestion - a bouncy castle.  That would get an atheist like me thinking about going to church.
And on a serious note, why a 700 seat church?  I thought the congregation at the Cathedral was a fraction of that.

Isolation (part 2)

A couple of things happened after I posted about transport links to Gisborne.
First, a rally in Gisborne to support the retention of the rail link.  This can only be a good thing.  However it needs to be followed up with further pressure via the council, and the Eastland Community Trust.  The talented Mr Nash, who is leaving Wellington for Hawkes Bay, could do with an issue to use to raise his profile in the region.  It wasn't so many elections ago that the East Coast was red, not blue, and the turn-around has to start somewhere.
With his comment
'Nothing's changed from our perspective,'
Jim Quinn of KiwiRail demonstrates, by the bucket-load
a) management in New Zealand is generally of poor quality, and
b) KiwiRail should not be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the rail network.
What he really means is "KiwiRail doesn't care one iota about Gisborne"?

Meanwhile, over at The Standard, the usually flippant Zetetic posts in support of repairing and re-opening the Gisborne rail line.  And gets over 100 comments.
They disappear off to the "trucks and roads are massively subsidized" argument*, but what has surprised me is that no one has played the "the latest report says trucks aren't subsidized at all, in fact it's quite the opposite" card.  I'm left wondering whether no one has thought of it yet, or because "the latest report" is linked strongly to the seriously discredited Ports of Auckland CEO - Tony Gibson.
* Trucks and roads are subsidized compared to rail.  I'll provide coarse evidence if requested and I think I can prove it, but that will cost money.  Since this is my own private and personal blog and I don't solicit for business through it, anyone who really wants proof will have to track me down using other methods.  And bring a cheque.

Bridge Over Troubled Water

Hooked into this embarrassment of an interview on the way back to the office this evening.
As I came across it half way through I wasn't aware of who was being interviewed, and as the interview progressed it became clear that they were (a) on the defence and (b) out of their depth.  The evasiveness and inability to answer reasonably simple direct questions made me think they were some representative of the wheel clamping industry*.  Turns out it was no such thing.
At the end of the interview I found it was Simon Bridges, a Minister of the Crown.  A member of the kleptocracy, defending a bunch of usurers**.  I was forced to conclude he's attend the same "Dealing with the Media" course as the awful Craig Foss.
*Wheel clamping is not an industry, it doesn't produce a single thing of merit.  It's an inefficient, ineffective and ridiculously punitive way of enforcing a property right.
** I know that usury relates to excessive interest on loans, rather than excessive fees to release clamped cars.  I'll present an excuse explanation to anyone who cares to demand one.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Boodle Boodle Boodle

In amongst all the fuss about National increasing its spend on consultants was a note that NZTA as excluded from the figures.
NZTA spend most of their funding on contractors and consultants, with their staff costs being mostly for managers and spokespeople.  It would be difficult for them to spend any more consultants.  It's about time we asked if the out-sourcing model used as the only method of procuring the provision of roading maintenance, construction, design and planning is still appropriate.
Anecdata about MoW staff leaning on their shovels all day are old and out of date.  We just don't know if pure contracting out really works.  I think we should look at a mixed model, to inject a bit of competition between the ideological models.  There's no room for objection, if you are inclined to believe that contracting out is a good thing, you tend to also believe that competition is always good.  So bring it on.

Isolation

An interesting (and long - be warned) interview on the radio this morning about transport links to Gisborne.
The roads into Gisborne have always been challenging, and keeping them operational is difficult.  The railway line to Gisborne has been under threat of closure since as long as I can recall.  There is room for both, more than this I think that both are necessary.  As a result of the interview I am now aware that there were size constraints on the railway line (perhaps from tunnels in the Mahia area) that prevented it from carrying large containers, and that these constraints have been eliminated in the last year or so.
The level of support for rail from the representatives of Gisborne business was surprisingly high.
The main disappointment was the representative of the New Zealand Transport Agency.  He reinforced my opinion that the use of the word "Transport" in NZTA is somewhat of a misnomer, because they are very much focussed on roads, and cars and trucks.  From what I understood from the interview, there is still no method for assessing land transport options on a fair basis; road and rail are treated as quite separate things, when they are not.  This narrow-minded thinking has blighted transport investment in New Zealand for at least fifty years.

Coda

Investigated Hawkins a little further last night, as a part of trying to find out a little more about Learning Infrastructure Partners, the loose consortium appointed to run the PPP school in the east of John Key's electorate.
Apart from finding that the company is, essentially, owned by a very small handful of people, and that the ownership structure is quite complex given the small number of people involved, the only points of interest were:
- the appearance of Richard Prebble as a director.  Does that qualify as "links to the ACT party"?
- the lack of links between the directors and owners to anything else of interest, except a very good charity that I will not name.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

School Is No Good For You (part 2)

Who are Learning Infrastructure Partners?  A consortium of Hawkins, ASC Architects and Programmed Facilities Management.
Hawkins and ASC Architects aren't that interesting.
Maybe Hawkins are a little interesting, but I know enough about them without a google search.
ASC Architects seem to be your typical architecture firm.  One of the directors has his own little think tank, the office for urban research, which advocates (in its own strange way) for improved public transport.  Another is a member of a green council, though my observation of this kind of architect is that the green is generally tinged with blue.  And that's to be expected.
Then there's a crowd called Programmed Facilities Management. Registered with the companies office in January 2012 - well after the initial phases of the procurement process. All the directors are based in Australia, and the sole shareholder is an Australian-registered company.  Most of the "private" part of the PPP will be in the operations; the design (by ASC) and build (by Hawkins) are a fraction of the lifecycle cost.  So there it is, another lot of profits being expropriated to Australia.  We have National to thank.

School Is No Good For You

My goodness, Craig Foss is unsuitable to be a Minister.
I heard this interview on the radio yesterday and was genuinely appalled.  Impressed that Mary Wilson totally demolished Mr Foss, but shocked at the responses from Mr Foss.  Certainly this leaves many more questions than answers.
I can not decide whether Mr Foss was refusing to answer what were quite reasonable questions, though he knew the answers, or whether he simply did not know the answers.  Neither is acceptable.  The taxpayers of New Zealand deserve answers, if Mr Foss can not provide them he should be sacked for incompetence, and if he will not provide them he should be sacked for being an arrogant twat.
Either way, this interview is the worst display or repeating, ad nauseum, tired, hackneyed old party lines.  He makes Tolley and Heatley look good, and that's a real achievement.  A meditative mantra would have been as informative, and more soothing.
It did provide a new excuse for my list of bullshit excuses from National - "the ink is still drying on the contract".  Really?  I have my contracts printed off on a modern photocopier.  Sure, I sign them with a fountain pen, but they invented quick-drying inks for signatures more than fifty years ago.  As I see it, this excuse is a variant of "it's commercially sensitive" and has two real meanings.  One is "we gave it to our mates" and the other is "we don't know how much it cost, but since the contract allows a profit shortfall to be made up from taxes, and socialised, we don't care."
So on the subject of "we gave it to our mates" - who are Learning Infrastructure Partners?

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

War

Over the last three and a little bit years, National have turned their guns, either openly or tacitly, on a wide range of targets.  Off the top of my head:

  • Unions
  • Farmers
  • Lawyers
  • Diplomats
  • Journalists
  • Teachers and education professionals
  • Local and Regional government
  • Beneficiaries

They've even started their own little civil war.  Sure, it seems to have gone a little quiet, Mr Key has been effective.  We've seen the smoke, so it's reasonable to assume there is a fire.  It will smoulder through the parliamentary recess.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

How Will I Know?

When pushed, Ministers are using one of four excuses to avoid answering questions.  These are:

  • "We don't comment on matters of security", or
  • "It is not in the public interest...", or
  • "An enquiry is under way", and the most recently used,
  • "The question is factually incorrect"

I can understand that, occasionally, excuses one to three will be valid.  Rarely.
Excuses number four?  Please, what a load of tripe.  If a question is factually incorrect, tear a new one for the questioner.  Or answer the question.  Don't sit on the fence.
Yet these excuses flow like water. Like it is too much for us to know the answers to important questions about security, and impropriety by the representatives of the meddle class government.  So much for more accountability from the government.

Unbelievable

Did John Key walk into a trap today?
Question Three was sufficiently vague to allow an enormous scope for supplementary questions, and David Shearer did leap all over the place.  And got pulled up by the Speaker for it.
But, one of the supplementaries related to the appointment of Stephen McElrea to the Board of NZ On Air.  I
I've  not paid much attention to the matter.  Mr McElrea has commented about a documentary on poverty being screened perilously close to the election, I'd watched the documentary and wasn't concerned about the timing (the contents were much more relevant).  I was aware that Stephen McElrea is also the chair of Mr Key's electorate committee, and I put the "timing o the documentary" comments down to politics/supporting the team.
Turns out John Key chaired the parliamentary committee that made the NZOA appointment.  When I heard the answer to the supplementary question - where Mr Key confirmed he chaired the committee - the "potential conflict of interest" alarms went off.  The typically glib response, about the committee also appointing Michael Cullen to the board of NZ Post, suggests that Mr Key has no concerns about a potential conflict of interest.  I think he would have been better off explaining that he recused himself from this particular decision.
So while it could have been better, it could also be worse.  Much worse. [The Armchair Critic heads off to wild speculation-land]  If John Key was involved in any way with the appointment of Stephen McElrea to the board of NZOA, if he failed to recuse himself, that's not just "a potential or apparent conflict of interest".  That's a full on unmitigated conflicted of interest, and cronyism, nepotism and corruption.  Nick Smith's recent ministerial indiscretions pale in comparison.  If it happened. [The Armchair Critic returns from wild speculation-land]
So, the next question is "As chair of the committee that appointed Stepehn McElrea to the board of NZ On Air, what steps did the Prime Minister take to meet the Cabinet Manual requirements to avoid potential and real conflicts of interest?"

Beds Are Burning

Woe is me, Ngati Whatua might have some land that used to be theirs returned to them as part of a Treaty settlement.  The locals are upset, because it is better to live near a target than to live next to (horrors) brown people.
Peter Garrett said it almost a quarter of a century ago in the best Australian album ever (Diesel and Dust) - "It belonged to them, let's give it back

Monday, 2 April 2012

The Silver Chair

I suppose anyone who regularly reads about NZ politics has read Puddleglum's blog, thepoliticalscientist.org however since I have enjoyed TPS so much of late I've dedicated a post to plugging it directly.  If, in the unlikely event that you read this and have never visited thepoliticalscientist, stop reading my blog and follow the link there now.

Firework

Katy Perry annoys the crap out of me.  Envy? Nah.
The song has the line:
"...after a hurricane, comes a rainbow..."
Perhaps the difference is the immediacy.  I was out amongst the ruined east of Christchurch, the abandoned Kate Sheppard Resthome and adjacent streets, and at dusk I found this:
Hope it formats nicely in the post.

What Was That Thing?

Judith Collins will be paying for her own legal expenses, not the taxpayer.
Run that one by me again.
Who pays Mrs Collins' salary and expenses?  I suppose she will do it all in her own time.  And since she only has three ministries to run, she'll have plenty of time, right?
Who pays the salaries of Messrs Little and Mallard?
Where does the funding for Radio NZ come from?
Never mind the bollocks, one way or another, the taxpayer of New Zealand WILL pay for Judith Collins' ego-driven folly.  All of it.
Since John Key lacked either the courage to stop this, or did not have the full backing of his caucus to do so, he should at least stand Mrs Collins down while the action is under way.  After all, it's important.