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Sunday, May 31, 2009

nz blogosphere - top 20

The nz blogosphere rankings are being finalised and the top 20 have been loaded into the side bar. Not much movement in the top ten, but the competition around the twenty mark is intense. Roar Prawn has chucked in the towel to go and work for the gummint, so there will be another slot opening up soon. Wee bit late this survey as there has been so much on this month.

And speaking of honours - the Queens Birthday list will be out tomorrow and the first batch of knighthoods will be awarded. Will they elevate Sir Roger Douglas to "God" - I thought that's why Act got a member on the Honours Committee?

Police motorway shooting in Auckland - self-exoneration

Since an innocent person died by a police bullet there is a strong prime facie case of recklessness to answer - as we must assume the killing was not deliberate (eg. a mis-identification of the target/offender).

But the police don't prosecute their own - it's as simple as that. There are only three reasons I can think of when police staff will be recommended for prosecution:
1. If the brother has transgressed other brothers in the course of the offence, or covering up/collaborating in the offence.
2. There is indisputable damning evidence that is already public, or will become public shortly.
3. There is political and/or judicial pressure.

Perhaps the police have concluded that most offending can be confronted via internal disciplinary charges and employment action rather than risk damaging brand NZ Police any further by dragging cops through the courts.

The media/public itself cannot bring enough pressure to trigger a prosecution on their own; but they can influence the politicians or expose compelling evidence. Private prosecutions are another avenue.

In this death of an innocent at their hands they have sewn the seeds of justifiable force majeure in the minds of the prejudiced - those in a hurry to excuse the police - before any of the pertinent facts are clear. There are still more questions than answers.

"Cross-fire" says the NZ Herald's report today. That's how the police are portraying it. The victim's widow:
"I was just crying and crying because there is no justice. The facts are there. He was shot by a cop. What more is there to it?"

As I posted at the time - as it unfolded -

I hear on the 3 o'clock news on RNZ that the police have shot someone on the motorway after a car chase and an attempted car-jacking. Then at 4 o'clock it's a "tragedy" according to the Police and it sounds as if the shot person is dead.

Now at 5 o'clock I can see the traffic still at a crawl - it took an hour for traffic to go from Ponsonby Rd to Surrey Crescent according to one commuter who just got back also saying the motorways were deserted - and RNZ now reports the police cannot confirm whether the offender has been shot...

Oh, no.

6:05PM [...] Orders, judgement calls, personal responsibility, accountability... a death, a tragedy. Questions will be asked; but the facts remain imprecise at this moment.

6:40PM: When I saw the map of the chase route (on TV3) I noticed that he takes a diversion to go all the way across town to Pitt Street before heading back out. Pitt St? Auckland Central Police Headquarters. Round their block and back out west. Taunting the cops. That's what TV3 is saying they did. Sounds like a crazed P-head on the fries; but what of the shooting?

Sources close to Police say the offender shot the man, not the police. So, what did the police shoot? When did they shoot, and when did the offender shoot (if at all)? The witnesses never mentioned shots from the offender, but they did say he had a gun. It happened further up the road from where I live, so I'm taking more of an interest in it than the normal police shooting incident.


10:35PM: [...] There is no suggestion that the offender had this "bystander" hostage, that does not appear to be an issue at all. This is a tragedy.

This is also looking bad. Either way this is looking very bad for the NZ Police. Letting this maniac drive all the way into town - right past the Auckland Central Police headquarters (if you believe TV3) and then blocking him in on the motorway - only to have him hijack traffic and then the OAS end up shooting an innocent bystander... that is what this is looking like at the moment. But, we don't know the detail of the broad facts at this point. The other option (that the police circles are putting out) is that the offender shot the bystander. Or both? We don't know at this point. The police will be investigating themselves again and it starts to get tricky. They are reluctant to tell us much at this stage.

What aren't they telling us? How many rounds were fired by police in the incident?

12:30PM Saturday: More Police communications - last night they called it a "homicide" and released the name of the 17 year old shooting victim.
And a further police communication this morning says the offender is in hospital with shrapnel wounds, but it's a "fatal" shooting not a "homicide" in this latest report: [...]

6:10PM: [...] The Police Assoc. are already on this one:
Police Association head Greg O'Connor said the officers had been put in a difficult position by the alleged offender.
Here we go. Let's just see what comes out.

8:50PM: [...] "MEDIA RELEASE January 24, 2009 4pm

Fatal shot fired by officer

The post-mortem examination of 17 year-old Halatau Naitoko, who was fatally shot while travelling on the Northwestern Motorway yesterday afternoon, was carried out this morning and was attended by an ESR ballistics expert who has advised Police that the fatal shot came from a Police issue firearm.

Auckland Assistant Commissioner Steve Shortland says the homicide investigation into Mr Naitoko's death has so far - and there's a mountain more work to be done - established that five shots were fired by Police at the motorway scene yesterday.
"We said yesterday that, no matter who fired the fatal shot, the events of January 23 in and around Auckland were tragic for all concerned," Mr Shortland said.

"They are no less tragic today for the Naitoko family and are more tragic for the officers involved who, it must be remembered, were where they were doing their duties"

- "more tragic for the officers involved" - that's typical police unfortunately. Only to the police could the killing of an innocent bystander by them be classified as less tragic than whatever criminal/administrative/professional fate befalls the person who pulled the trigger. There was a hail of bullets at the close that's for sure. The source who contacted me within half an hour of posting yesterday was the police spin that I thought it was at the time.

It's not good enough just to say it was cross-fire and the cops were in a shoot-out situation. They had a rolling block on him as he headed west. Then things went wrong and they lost what little control they had. The procedures for the pursuit need to be reviewed as well as the sequence involving the bystander.

The assumption from those people automatically supportive of the police is that the cops had to fire. That there was no other option but to fire on the offender to protect the life of the motorist (in the truck who was trying to thwart his hijack attempt). The assumption underlying that in turn is that if someone fires on the police they will fire on anyone. But that is simply not true - it is an assumption based on a universal love of the police. There was an incident earlier on in the chase where a witness said the offender was apologetic as he made his escape across her property.

So let's ask the questions again:
Who were the shooters?
How many rounds did they fire?
At what point did they decide to fire and why?
Did anyone give a command to fire?
Did the shooters spontaneously fire?
Did the shooters identify their target before they fired?
Did the shooters think they correctly identified their target after they fired?
Did the shooters identify dangers to the safety of others when they decided to fire?
Did the shooters see the van the deceased was in before they fired?
Did the shooters fire through the windscreen or glass of the truck?
Did the offender fire any shots while he was on foot on the motorway?
Did the offender say anything while on foot on the motorway?

So many questions, but it all comes down to this:

"Why did you pull the trigger?"

- And the only possible correct answer to that is:

"Because I reasonably believed that he was about to seriously harm or kill the man in the truck."

It's not good enough to believe that the offender would continue to menace random motorists. The only people he's fired at (from all the reports I've read) is the police. He went straight to the Police HQ in town - to taunt them, surely. The threat and harm must be immediate and substantial to shoot to kill. Was it in this case?

I've heard people say that frustration at not being able to catch him is enough to warrant the police shooting him! These are the sorts of low standards many people expect of the police. Until some police injustice happens to them, of course, and then the fine most incorruptible police force in the world suddenly become "lying corrupt pigs" and "Nazis."

NZ Police report - my bolding:

Homicide investigation completed

9:35am 28 May 2009

Auckland City Police yesterday informed the immediate family of Halatau Naitoko, the 17 year-old fatally shot on the North Western Motorway on January 23 this year, that no one will be charged in relation to his death.

Mr Naitoko was accidentally shot by an Armed Offenders Squad officer, one of several called to the scene on the day.

Stephen Hohepa McDonald, the armed man at the centre of the shooting, appears in the Auckland District Court again today having been remanded in custody after his last appearance on May 8 where he was charged with six - mainly firearms - offences.

He has been charged with 35 offences related to events leading up to and including the fatal motorway incident.

Auckland City District Police Commander, Superintendent George Fraser, said the decision not to charge anyone in relation to Mr Naitoko's death came at the end of a lengthy and thorough Police homicide investigation.

"The recommendations of the homicide investigation team were made in conjunction with advice from the Police Senior Legal Advisor and which were peer reviewed by independent senior legal counsel, John Haigh QC," Mr Fraser said.

"The AOS officers were advised of my decision yesterday, via their respective legal counsel."

The Independent Police Conduct Authority investigation is ongoing, as is the Coroner's and aspects of the Police investigation into the pursuit.

All AOS officers called to the incident on January 23 returned to AOS duties after being assessed as fit to do so.


Issued by Noreen Hegarty
Auckland City Police Communications Manager

Independent Counsel, QC means they paid a lawyer to look at it for them. Nothing more. Lawyers get paid to justify the positions of the people who are paying them. It means nothing. Totally lite on the facts. Two more reports to come.

Auckland's Big Little City

So, there has been a lot of debate over whether Auckland's $1.8 million campaign for the "Big Little City" will work. Here's my two cents: what is profoundly weird about this campaign is that it is a direct rip of Tim Burton, most notably his movie Big Fish (hence the comments that keep appearing on blogs wondering where people have seen the gates before). Perhaps the creatives at Colenso BBDO had run out of inspiration, hence the need for attempting to emulate Burton, but at any rate the incorporation of his style sends confusing messages for a local campaign that is targeted at addressing the Auckland versus the rest-of-the-below-the-Bombays divide.

The connotations of Burton's canon function to efface the campaign's overall purpose of showing the uniqueness of Auckland. Burton's work is associated with the exploration of Americana, a clear thematic across the body of his films (including Edward Scizzorhands, Beetlejuice, Batman Returns, Ed Wood, Mars Attacks and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). Big Fish, the movie from which this commercial owes much of its cinematographic and atmospheric style to, is the story of a son who attempts to learn about his father's life from the side of his hospital bed. What the father relays, however, are heavily embellished stories that recontextualise his life into flights of fantasy - tales of Siamese twins, magical catfish and giants.

The inclusion of this stylistic nod means that Auckland is reterritorialised as fairytale America and the assertion of locality is largely not through landscape but through the cameos of local celebrities who supposedly embody Auckland: Denise L'Estrange-Corbet, Bic Runga and Peter Gordon. Auckland is presented as if it could be interchangeable with any other continental city, including prominent placement of Gucci and Chanel's concept stores. The styling as Americana is evident in the bike our elderly guide rides, the costuming of the flowergirl and fedora-topped business man as 1950s, the traditionally dressed maid and the use of the carnivalesque - a mode that is more asociated with the US than anywhere in NZ. Internationally, the phrase "big little city" is already associated with more Americana, forming the punch-line for tourism in Reno (having been there I can honestly say that its desert environment, casinos and drive-through wedding chapels bear absolutely no resemblance to our city).
Perhaps this is what Colenso's research points to: that Kiwis want to visit cities perceived as international, and pitching Auckland as a local equivalent might divert some of their tourist dollars. Interestingly, it was precisely this internationalness that was seen as promoting a disjoint between Auckland and the rest of the country in ad agency FCB's 2005 study of Kiwi attitudes and culture. Aucklanders were perceived as settling for less land and more money, a perception that put them at odds with the rest of the country (having been brought up Wellingtonian it is a bias I know only too well). In this sense, perhaps positioning Auckland as Americana is advantageous in that those South of the Bombays fantasise Auckland would be anything other than Auckland.

Greens replace old guard

Congratulations to Metiria on landing the co-leadership for the Greens. I went to the Leadership debate hosted by Raymond Miller at Galatos last week and it was a tough call between Bradford and Turei. Although initially slightly alarmed to hear Swedish songstress Robyn blaring over the speakers, the evening quickly turned to one of constructive debate as the two made their cases for why they should be female co-leader of the Greens.

In typical Greens style, the pair made arguments that seemed poles apart, and then when probed on this in question time, both declared they were arguing the same thing as each other. Bradford seemed to be arguing for a more radicalised Greens, one where its primary focus was policy over publicity. This policy, for Bradford, needed to be directed towards the twin crises facing New Zealand, which are both global: climate change and the recession. She highlighted the need for more focus on import substition to encourage the circulation of locally made goods in an effort to provide a buffer for our import and export market, the latter of which is suffering under the current economic conditions.

Turei argued that the Greens needed to look at extending their support to a 15% - 20% wedge of voters for the 2011 election, a formidable challenge for the Greens on their current ratings. She argued that this increase in voters could be gained by focusing on 28-45 year olds, who where entering their first homes, with or thinking about having children and were concerned about the environment they would be raising them in. She also platformed the significant drop between pre-election polls and the result for 2008 in Green voters as one that would need to be addressed before the 2011 election. (Despite rumours that Green voters stay home, it would seem that the Greens has a 'Bradley effect' in polling where people want to appear as if being Green is higher up on their priority list). For Turei, such advances could occur through clearer communication of policies to the public, something she argued initiatives such as the Green New Deal were beginning to achieve. The Greens would need to be careful, however, in attracting a broader demographic as this could effect the consensus-building process that determines their policies.

Achieving this wedge of voters would allow less dependence on Labour, who have a track record of returning little support for the Greens at coalition time. However, both candidates acknowledged that the relationship with Labour would be crucial for the party in 2011. While some enthusiastic Labour pundits yelled out their alarm at the Greens' recent Memorandum of Understanding with National, which provides for a working relationship on home insulation (National's sugar coating for the bitter pill that was this year's Budget), energy efficiency and the regulation of natural health products, these sorts of initiatives will be crucial for the Greens in building an identity that exists outside of Labour for the next election. The Greens' pre-election announcement that their only potential coalition partner would be Labour in 2008 may have damaged some of their vote, with pundits questioning the amount of political efficacy a vote for the Greens might have under a National-led Government. However, this efficacy has become increasingly apparent as the Greens gain experience, with successes on a number of Bills passed through parliament, including the controversial anti-smacking Bill and raising the youth minimum wage.

Turei's win over Bradford may reflect this desire for the Greens to have a wider appeal - Bradford, despite her demonstrated ability to push even controversial policy through has been plagued by her public image as a radical. While Turei has managed to avoid similar controversy thus far and has less experience, her experience in Treaty issues allows the Greens the possibility of attracting the Maori vote, a segment of the population that despite progressive policy has been elusive thus far. A former corporate lawyer, Turei has the brains to be able to progress the Greens' influence. In the media, she comes across as personable rather than divisive; subversion always accompanied by a mischevious smile. Together with co-leader Russel Norman, she represents a new, youthful face of the Greens to the public - a gamble that could pay off if the party manage to wrestle some more independence from Labour before 2011.

Q + A – the honeymoon is over

Wow, didn’t Q+A just go to a whole new level with the threat of TV3 competing for NZ on Air funding? Who said the free market doesn’t work. Q+A last week was bloody good but this week really did end the media honeymoon with an interview by Guyon where he went blow for blow with Bill English over the budget.

Now that the fine print is being examined, the idea of National as a stable fiscal pair of hands (a myth shattered by John Roughan yesterday) looked shakey by numbers showing that the Government would make money on the Super Fund overtime and Guyon refused to let Bill dodge the figures. Bill refused to dance and claimed that if you or I tried to go out and borrow money in a recession there is no way the bank would give us the cash to gamble, but of course the point Guyon should have pressed is that it isn’t you or me trying to get the cash, it’s the bloody NZ Government, THEY CAN get the cash, and using an example of individual credit inability is deceptive. Guyon also pressed Bill hard on the reality that National have gutted super for Gen Xers and that there had to be a debate about entitlements, Bill denied, denied, denied any suggestion any change would occur at anytime ever, it risked turning the interview into a farce as Guyon just started laughing at Bill’s denial as he put the figures to English repeatedly that clearly showed something had to give in terms of how much money National could actually be able to afford to hand over as retirement entitlements (a point well made yesterday by my co-blogger, Mr Selwyn)

It was a much harder interview than the Government has had so far giving early signs that there really will be major debate by the media ahead on much of National’s unmandated agenda. National were carried into victory on a wave of ‘change’ without the electorate really knowing what that ‘change’ was, their policy release pre-election were a page long with enough loopholes in them that National could privatize the continental shelf and technically still be against foreign ownership. Now National are starting to show their hand, (they are test running the mass privatization of NZ through the Super City with Rodney’s hand appointed clique chaired by a water privatizer laying the privatization blueprint for ACT's version of NZinc and setting the country up for a social services sell off in term 2 once those social services collapse justifying radical changes by contracting out health, education and welfare) now that hand is being shown, the media should start asking questions, this mornings Q+A was.

Also on the show, the brilliant Metiria Turei showed a grumpy Paul Holmes what grace under fire looked like, she is an excellent choice as co-leader and batted away breathless questions about separatism and dope smoking with class, the co-leadership of Turei/Norman has the stirrings of brilliance about it.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Green leader

Metiria Turei's election to co-leadership of the Greens is the best thing the Green membership could have done to ensure the Green movement survives. In parliament she acts as their Leader of the House in the traditional sense, putting aside their own power-sharing jargon as "co-leaders", "musterers" etc. Sue Bradford has the stridency and commitment, but with Turei you get youth, you get a smart lawyer, you get a visage not tainted with historical loops in one's mind of her screaming in the face of cops, and Marxism with a capital M. You don't get that when you look at Metiria Turei.

You can see in that picture she's a real leader because she's getting that Rob Muldoon cheek thing going on a little bit there, just a hint of that going on there. People subconsciously imitate him in moments of Machiavellian victory. He, he. [Sorry, after perusing David Farrar's writings I'll have to correct that to his preferred spelling...]
Heh, heh.
That's how it starts.

She should be running in Mt Albert - not Dr Norman. But he was the leader - co-leader - at that time. And if they were aiming at balance by having co-leaders it rather underscores the potential for diversity when she's Maori - he's Australian.

It should be noted here that the recent abandonment of the Green caucus rule about not participating in filibusters (over the Aucklanderische Überstadt enabling laws) is a healthy sign the Greens have learned to play the game instead of playing nicely and getting nowhere. A certain amount of arse-kicking and a certain amount of whorage is necessary to get anything out of the game. The memorandum of understanding with the Nats (incl. the home insulation fund in the budget) signals that more old rules of the game are being changed. The question is if there are two co-leaders who is the arse-kicker and who is the whore?

NZ Herald:

Ms Turei, 39, has a lower public profile, but earned respect in her role behind the scenes as the party's musterer (whip). She has said the role gave her valuable people-management skills as well as working with other parties.

Ms Turei will join Russel Norman at the helm of the party, which has just signed up to a memorandum of understanding with the National Party to work on specific projects such as the new home insulation fund unveiled in the Budget.

Unlike other political parties, the Green co-leaders are selected by members rather than the caucus.

Although Ms Bradford had said she was the underdog in the build-up to the election, the delegates vote will be a blow for her.

Bradford is reported as saying she will stay on. She would be expected to, she's left a bigger legislative footprint than most backbenchers ever could hope to have.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Budget - unemployment/retirement

Going through the Budget tables from Treasury this is the most important set of figures I've come across so far:

Unemployment benefit numbers:
2008: 37,000 (actual)
2009: 47,000 forecasts
2010: 85,000
2011: 99,000

Unemployed doubling in two years. That's nasty stuff. It is off the back of historically low rates and is still lower than most countries, but that is cold comfort - nasty. 40,000 people in the next year losing their jobs and not being able to be hired...
2012: 98,000
2013: 91,000
...for years, possibly.

Social and personal costs aside, benefit payments aside, this is a real indicator of the economic stress to come. Five years back - to be fair - there were 104,000 unemployed so the forecasts are not catastrophic; but that in turn raises suspicion that the forecasting is overly optimistic. My co-blogger has made this point several times.

It would not surprise me to discover that Treasury's published forecasts (esp. on things they cannot have much affect on) are tailored so they do not scare people, esp. those with capital who will react to the information. The risk is that by presenting a pessimistic outlook they will set the circumstances to provoke it. It's an understandable dilemma.

The other real problem - a structural and unavoidable one - is the post-war retirement wave that will leave a larger and larger share of the population as pensioners - drawing rather than contributing to Crown revenue, and reducing economic activity.

Sir Roger Douglas originally tackled this the first time he was in government in the mid 1970s which Muldoon then scrapped before the repeal law was even passed. In the 80s the age was put back to 65 and there was the surcharge to attempt to make the pension means tested and in the early 90s when the wave was closer - and Douglas was Act - he came up with a modified form of the contributory super scheme. Then in the mid 90s Winston Peters came up with another form of contributory super scheme that was soundly rejected in a referendum, although the surcharge was dumped. And now, with that long-heralded wave of retirements upon us and every attempt at getting a contributory scheme meeting with political and electoral disaster we have to rely on the Cullen fund and tax take to sustain it all. At least Kiwisaver was started by Labour - twenty years too late, but better than never.

We had many opportunities over the years to do something about it - from different people and parties - and each time we said... nah, fuck it, she'll be right. We have had more than a generation to prepare for this. The budget says it's all fine - nothing will change. I mean that English is acting as though nothing can be done about it beyond putting the difficult decisions about a funding crunch off for a couple of years. After reading more of Treasury's forecasts the situation is so bad you would think the only option would be a change. If it's not already apparent - this isn't an ideas-rich environment. This is conservative National, carefully plodding through the minefield of sectors, interests, blocs and other obstacles to change to deliver what Cullen aspired to achieve - a boring budget. Boring doesn't rack up enemies. Boring is a victory.

They itched their traditional scratches like labour laws and alike in urgency but they are small beer in fiscal terms to the Finance Minister. English and Birch only just managed to balance the books (in the after-wash of the Asian crisis) in their last budget in 1999, so if cut backs are necessary they will probably have to come in the next budget when they have a better idea about what to slash and how to do it, leaving 2011 with some headroom for an election budget of rich, creamy Tory love for the middle class mortgage belt.

The long-term political bilateral understanding, and policy consensus for the future of New Zealand seems to be that the government will pump in as many immigrants as it takes to generate enough tax revenue to pay for the super. But they think the only way they can attract enough immigrants is to also let in the working age immigrants' elderly parents... who can draw the super...

You may get New Zealand Superannuation if you:
  • are aged 65 or over
  • are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • normally live in New Zealand at the time you apply.
    You must also have lived in New Zealand for at least 10 years since you turned 20. Five of those years must be since you turned 50.

    Anyone see a problem here?

    2008: 508,000 (actual)
    2009: 522,000 forecasts
    2010: 538,000
    2011: 553,000
    2013: 596,000

    Is this sustainable?



    I'm getting a fascinating amount of interest in my blog about David Farrar's sudden reversal on any suggestion that Don Brash printed his emails off, I've been told now that they WERE printed off and David's attempt to muddy the waters has a certain something about it.

    I'm going to continue to probe over the weekend, but I have a feeling with David's protesteth too much there is blood in the water now...

    Let's just re-cap what we are talking about here, the possibility that a co-ordinated effort within the National Party of leading National Party personalities leaked printed emails to Hager to topple Don Brash - personally I want to thank them and give them the public recognition they deserve because what was revealed was incredible about what National under Don Brash would have attempted but of course if the National Party personalities were so large revealing them could also create a civil war within National the ferocity of which could destabilize the Government.

    1: Who was supposed to shred the emails Don asked to be shredded and who appointed that staffer?
    2: Why would David Farrar, a man on the scene at the time as the IT Manager for the NLO when Don became leader claim emphatically that Don DIDN'T print his emails when I am told by Don Brash's people that he did print them?

    Updates as they come to hand folks.

    Budget 09 – National kill off superannuation, plant mass prison riot seeds and do nothing to prepare for the coming economic depression

    Now, we here at Tumeke have been pointing out for sometime that the coming global depression, (spawned from corrupt corporate America lending scams that saw complicated financial equations that not even former Fed chief Alan Greenspan could understand used to grant people money they never could pay back by pretending the property they were buying would increase in value by 6-9% forever and ever and ever), will be much worse than the current Government is admitting or prepared for, and this budget is proof of that.

    Just enough to keep the very same people who AAA+ rated Corporate America before it collapsed from down grading us, this budget really shows National are screwed. The depression in front of us, as spelt out in the worst case scenario Treasury attached to the budget…

    Unemployment will swell - Treasury
    The main forecast assumed some growth would begin to flow through in the 2009 December quarter, but Treasury warned if New Zealand's trading partners showed ongoing weaker growth, New Zealand's economy could continue to decline through 2010 and push unemployment up to 10 percent.

    "Higher unemployment would lead to more mortgagee sales and lower demand for houses with housing prices falling further than in the main forecast," Treasury said.

    Under the mid-range forecast house prices would fall by 20.4 percent in real terms from their peak in 2007.

    …is so extreme that National don’t know if their normal right wing slash and burn routine will actually lead to something much worse. While they hold onto Labour’s entitlements that many NZers are budgeting with on a week to week basis, they are robbing Labour’s future entitlements by effectively killing off superannuation in NZ. Those fucking babyboomers once again manage to rob Generation X, because as Bernard Hickey points out, 10 years of no money into that fund will start to show up short by 2025.

    Tax cuts being dumped is no surprise, but then again National knew they couldn’t manage those tax cuts when they promised them to NZers, welcome back to the bad old days when Politicians simply lied to get elected, how does that change feel hu folks?

    One of the worst parts of this budget though was the absolute mis-step National have taken to double bunk 5 more prisons even though they agreed they had to build a new prison to keep up with their medieval hard line law and order nonsense…

    Budget 09: New jail plan goes as Govt opts for two inmates a cell
    The National Government has scrapped building a new prison and will gamble on ramming inmates into existing space with double-bunking to deal with bulging numbers. The Budget put $385.4 million towards double-bunking in five prisons, creating cell space for 1000 more inmates. There was no funding for the new prison that National had maintained until yesterday would be required under its law and order regime.

    …let’s be very clear, if you think the dehumanized prisoners coming out of prison and exploding in society are a problem now, they are nothing compared to the damaged individuals double bunking are about to create. National have doomed all those who they are increasingly wanting to throw inside prison to merely repeat the violence they are about to undergo themselves, double bunking is a fucking nightmare and the abuse it fosters will be repaid to an unwitting society the minute the rats are let out of their cages. What an abomination in the making National have seeded, my guess will be mass prison riots the likes we’ve never seen here.

    What to do for National? Economic times demand a social welfare state from a Political Party that hates that concept and while National try to tightrope it’s agenda with no real vision forward, the extremist right wingers amongst their fold will start to demand radical free market solutions, the question we at Tumeke have always asked is can John Key resist that while the country sinks further and further into depression?

    Banned photos by Obama showed American soldiers raping Iraqi’s

    Iraq prison photos show rape by US troops: report
    A British newspaper Thursday described photographs showing alleged abuse including rapes at the notorious Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq, which US President Barack Obama does not want to release. The pictures show US soldiers raping detainees, sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube, and a female prisoner forcibly having her breasts exposed, the Daily Telegraph said. They relate to 400 cases of alleged abuse at Abu Ghraib and six other prisons between 2001 and 2005, the newspaper said. It added that the details had come from Major General Antonio Taguba, an ex-army officer who published a 2004 report into Abu Ghraib. Earlier this month, Obama said he was opposed to the release of the photographs, saying they could cause a backlash against US troops serving overseas. The move came the month after his administration agreed to release hundreds of pictures from US-run prisons in Iraq and elsewhere in response to a long-running lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU has accused the Obama administration of adopting "the stonewalling tactics and opaque policies of the Bush administration”.

    It was outrageous that Obama decided to hide the true level of abuse at Abu Ghraib AND continue the outright lie that what happened at Abu Ghraib was the result of a few ‘bad apples’ and not a systematic torture regime greenlighted by the highest levels of authority. Anyone ever wonder what happened to the intelligence experts you can see milling around in the background of those photos, not one of them were prosecuted, just the dumb grunts stupid enough to go along with the chain of command blinkered reasoning. If any other soldier on the face of the planet were caught were raping and sexually torturing American soldiers, there would be no limits placed on demands for justice.

    Obama talks the talk, he’s increasingly showing that he can’t walk the walk.

    Open blog to David Farrar

    I’ve been having a bit of a do with the Godfather of National Spin on line – David Farrar ever since he started posting on Tumeke counter claims to my suggestions as to who was the leak within National who gave Nicky Hager the emails that made up the Hollow Men. My original point was on the hypocrisy of the right, I said that if it had been Labour caught lying and deceiving the public in the manner National were caught out, how the emails were taken wouldn’t receive a seconds worth of airtime in the clamor to crucify Labour. It still astounds me that National lied and used racially divisive tactics to denigrate Maori and somehow still managed to duck away from any of the shit sticking by simply removing Brash as leader.

    I want to focus on some comments that David has made on Tumeke…

    Sigh, I thought you would appreciate being told the truth. Instead you give more credence to some fourth hand rumour than direct testimony from someone who was there. Hope you never serve on a jury.
    The ‘truth’ from the biggest National Party spin Dr on line, let’s have a look at some of that ‘truth’ shall we David because some of what you have previously posted on this topic you immediately contradict with this new post, so let’s talk about the truth…

    Now for some more factual corrections. It did not happen on my watch. All the e-mails are well after I left the office.
    This is very interesting, because let’s look at your exact words last time…

    Don did not require his emails to be printed out as he liked reading them in paper format.

    Don was probably the most heavy email user of any MP I have known. He was 100% comfortable with reading and responding electronically. He would send dozens of emails a day and often respond within minutes.

    So Don did not get his emails printed out for him, and there was no shredding of them the next day.

    I know this as I was IT Manager for the NLO when Don became Leader.permi

    …this is interesting and I’d love an explanation from you David, in this first post you claim that Don Brash didn’t print his emails off and you know this because you were the IT Manager for the NLO when Don became leader, yet the second I challenge you on that you scamper away saying it didn’t happen on your watch.

    In your first post you claim Don couldn’t have printed his emails off each day, read them and then have those printed emails taken off to the shredder because you were the IT Manager for the NLO when Don became leader, but now you point out that you weren't there. In your first post you discredit my claim that Don Brash had his e-mails printed and read them each day because you were the IT manager for the NLO, now you claim you weren’t there, if you weren’t there then how could you say for sure that Don Brash didn’t print his emails off each day?

    Again let me be clear what my allegation is, during the build up to his failed attempt to win the election, Don Brash would have his emails printed off each day and read them in paper format, write notes, send emails back, and he would leave a pile of these emails to be shredded. The question I have always put is who was the person responsible for shredding those emails and most importantly, who appointed that staff member? Was it a Mary English while her husband was the leader of National? Did Don retain any staff appointed under the English brief spell as leader?

    The MP spouse theory is preposterous and based on the mere fact Mary is on a school board with Hagar. MP spouses were not routinely in the leader's office.
    Well no, it’s based on a lot of other interesting things David, that’s just one of them. A lady Macbeth ambition turned bitter because hubby was knocked off by a coup of right wing nutbars who wanted to secretly implement a hard right wing agenda, mix a bit of old fashioned catholic guilt and social conscience and one can justify political betrayal couldn’t one?

    Then you invent something about me saying the emails were hacked. I have never said that. Sure it is possible. I have consistently said I believe there was unauthorised access to a staffer's inbox. That could be hacking, but also be someone jumped on while they were at lunch, or a flatmate did it, or someone with system access, or several other possibilities. A totally external hacker I regard as unlikely.
    So you do claim it was hacked because the Police have ruled hacking out, which I would argue makes my scenario of printed emails passed along via people who owe their positions much more likely than your hacking claim which has already been ruled out by the Police.

    And finally you could not be more wrong in saying I don't want the identity of the person or persons responsible made public. I do. I'd even pay money to find out.
    Really David, you would want the possibility of a high ranking National Party person outed as the source of political betrayal and all the internal damage that would create at a time when the present Government is causing itself self inflicted wound after self inflicted wound? You come across more like a sadist David, not a masochist, I doubt you would wish the true identity of the leaker be made public and the implosion it would cause National, but you would be the first person on-line spinning it.

    Teaching respect for law by breaching children’s rights?

    Schools advocate use of dogs
    Drug dogs are being used in an increasing number of Taranaki secondary schools as principals step up the war on adolescent drug use. Five Taranaki schools are turning to the highly-trained animals to conduct random sweeps of school grounds despite a cost of up to $1900 a day. Several others say it is a proven measure they will not be ruling out. Hawera High School sent a notice home to parents this week stating it had made a decision to use drug dogs at random and without warning to search the school and students. The move follows a recent search at Sacred Heart Girls' College where dogs from an Auckland-based company were brought to New Plymouth following an incident in March where three year 9 students were caught with marijuana. The dogs come from Elite Dog Service in Auckland, which lists 60 schools nationwide as its clients. The dogs are trained to search for all illegal substances and have been increasingly used to identify the drug P.

    Oh for crying out loud, random dog drug searches in school? What does breaching children’s rights not to be randomly searched LIKE ANY OTHER CITIZEN IN NZ teach these children exactly? I don’t have to be randomly searched because I live in New Zealand, remember that country folks – NZ – a FREE country, a country where I have a very clearly defined list of rights, random searches and being forced to agree to random searches ain’t one of the things I have to put up with, yet here we have schools using the ‘scourge’ of drugs to legitimize a breach of rights, They’ve sidestepped the issue by getting a private company in as opposed to the Police but allowing private companies to have the powers of a cop and legitimizing that process by paying them has it’s own list of complaints.

    Will the school piss test their teachers? Wouldn’t a drug induced teacher have more damage than a drug induced student? If it’s so good to randomly search students, let’s start doing it to the teachers as well – reason that won’t happen? Because the PPTA would throw a fit, students however have no voice to stand up for them and that’s how these schools are getting away with wasting precious cash resources on breaching students rights to teach those students to respect the law.

    What a great lesson to learn.

    Budget distraction - no govt.nz?





    FFS.-Much better looking masthead these days.


    oh what's this...

    That's it, right there: How can the government say that "Tamaki Makaurau" has been reorganised when what is to be established - the legislation immediately afterwards - is defined as "Auckland Council"? The first is a Maori term - the second Pakeha.

    When the international community read this they will see exactly why the NZ government does not sign the UN indigenous rights declaration. What they will see is that a bill to annex a Maori area has been passed under urgency and the replacement authority will be something called the "Auckland Council" that will not have any specific Maori representation on it and will not recognise any Mana Whenua authority that must exist for the Treaty of Waitangi to mean anything. None of these autonomous constitutional units stopped existing on account of the reneging on the side of the Crown party to the provisions. The Crown's version of protection, equality and undisturbed possession was to use the military and police in 1978 to try to wipe out their land holdings in Tamaki Makaurau - to extinguish their Mana Whenua. These laws look like another chapter in that sorry book.

    Ok... what was I doing?



    BUDGET. Fuck - that took forever.It's way too late now to start getting through this.

    http://www.beehive.govt.nz/ still non-existent. Have they moved? The parliament site looks great now, but, ah... where's the link to the executive - the government. It's not anywhere on their website - just a link to http://newzealand.govt.nz/ - which is also dysfunctional. Must be the cycle of the moon or the hadron collider or something.

    It's just hopeless. They can get parliament live streaming but they won't put a link from parliament.govt.nz to beehive.govt.nz. That is so hopeless - such a fundamental breakdown in communication and a public disservice. It's so dumb - so, so dumb. And I bet it all costs so, so much.Where's the link? Not there. I haven't used this one before in text, but I've been muttering it for a few days now when I see some dick do something stupid so it's appropriate to use it to describe the persons who made the decision not to have a direct link from the parliamentary site to the Beehive site: you are cock monkeys. Cock Monkeys? cock-monkeys? Fucking little cock monkeys.


    Thursday, May 28, 2009

    Budget - no straight figures.

    The budget and the government's individual announcements have been trawled through and analysed by all and sundry at this point, so I'll only mention a few things. The core concern has been to restrict the amount of money the government must borrow to cover the deficit. The superannuation wave of post-war retirees start drawing their state pensions from next year and there is a lot of speculation that abandoning payments by the government into the NZ Super/Cullen fund is imprudent. It isn't of course - it's what Labour would have had to have done too, despite whatever lines Cunliffe and Goff have been running this afternoon.

    And for all of the Finance Minister's opening remarks about the importance of jobs I didn't hear anything in his speech that told us keeping unemployment down was a priority higher than containing core expenditure so that borrowing could be kept to a minimum. While peace of mind in this recession was boosted by the vow to maintain all the social security safety nets and benefit entitlements it does not address job creation. The National government is acting conservatively rather than radically, and the willingness to continue most of Labour's items fits in with the "pragmatic" pose it has struck after the first rush to the head of the 100 day blitz. This was confirmed in parliament when Sir Roger called it a lack of imagination - no doubt others would call his prescription an unnecessary nightmare.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that English's doom-mongering over being in deficit until the 45th millennia is based on the same notoriously inaccurate forecasts by Treasury that had Cullen using their figures as an excuse to spend large cash sums on political follies like the gigantic black hole that is the railways. He could justify these ideological pet spends because the advice was that we would have massive surpluses forever and the age of fiscal Aquarius had dawned. A year or so later the Terrace Tarot readers are turning over death cards one after another.

    The projections are necessary as part of any planning, but it's very difficult to take these predictions seriously since they change wildly and may be affected by events - domestic or international - that we have no control over. When you see timelines and graphs going off into years 3 and 4 and beyond it is absolute guess work. A plus 10% can end up a negative 10% in a few short years. So too all the sums flung around in the press statements. These are indicative of what they intend to do - only. The only figures that actually count is what they are authorising to spend for next year. We only have to look at the budget promises to build motorway tunnels and electrify rail and so on to know that it is what is spent in the next year that matters - not what is promised in years 2+. Some projects just never get started.

    The media's reporting of budgets (at least recently) has played totally into the government's hands as they rarely bother to lay out the difference in spending between items over last year and cloud the issues with big numbers without mentioning what the time period the spending will cover. It gets very confusing - this helps the government of the day. It sounds great - a billion dollars... small print: over 15 years. And the programme can be dumped altogether next year. The re-branding of earlier initiatives and the now routine method of rolling out half the budget in pre-releases makes it tricky for the punter to work out exactly what is and what is not "new spending" without having to contend with all the different timelines. Some things are over two years, some 3, 4, 5, 10, 15 years. It obscures what the government is really doing.

    It is impressive that the Green's insulation policy has been carried forward by National (they say improved from Labour's commitment) - and both parties deserve credit for taking the issue of substandard housing seriously - but look at the way the Green's explain it. No mention of the only thing that matters - the purpose of the budget indeed: how much money will be spent on it next year? Very simple question, and one that will speak directly to the sincerity of National's support - but no mention on Frogblog.
    "Bigger and faster"!? Blah, blah, blah, blah, we'll spend a gazillion, bamillion, quizillion dollars on it... yeah... but this is an annual budget, so the only relevant piece of information that I want to know is: How much will be spent in the next year? We'll get to the "faster" bit later.

    I won't bother copying and pasting what the link to Fitzsimon's statement says because it doesn't answer the question - it's waffle about all the accounting juggling going on to come up with the biggest number they can to make it look good. It's "if" funding blah, blah, blah then "900,000 houses" blah blah, blah... So, again: how much money is being spent on it this next year - and since she raises it - how many homes will be insulated because of it, and - while we are at it - how many extra homes does this cover that would not have been done otherwise. That's what we want to know - and that is what they take great lengths to avoid giving a straight answer on and it's as infuriating as it is suspicious.

    It's crap communication at the very least, and game-playing, smoke and mirror bullshit the way it looks.

    Budget 09 - Time to be honest with how bad it will get

    Unemployment will swell - Treasury
    The main forecast assumed some growth would begin to flow through in the 2009 December quarter, but Treasury warned if New Zealand's trading partners showed ongoing weaker growth, New Zealand's economy could continue to decline through 2010 and push unemployment up to 10 percent.

    "Higher unemployment would lead to more mortgagee sales and lower demand for houses with housing prices falling further than in the main forecast," Treasury said.

    Under the mid-range forecast house prices would fall by 20.4 percent in real terms from their peak in 2007.

    The meteor strike of greedy fraud spawned in the clusterfuck of the American sub-prime mortgage meltdown has just had its first shock wave hit our far flung Isles and the reality seems to suggest that things are going to get much worse. Bernard Hickey, a man much derided as a 'permabear' by those who have vested interests in the happy happy joy joy industrialized media consumer pharmaceutically induced optimism needed to fluff the global pyramid scheme using corporate financial weapons of mass destruction, has predicted that the House prices would fall a further 10% on top of where Treasury currently predict. What our franticly optimistic friends with vested interests in the sunshine spin seem in total denial about is that the unregulated corporate greed has to unwind violently, that this is capitalism working in it’s most primal way and that the coming depression demands much, much, much better leadership than this Government has shown to date.

    Mortgagee sale explosion, unemployment to 10% and a planet in economic depression all demand a response with vision well beyond the means of this budget.

    Act on behalf of Asians

    Lincoln Tan's report raises so many issues. What the Act candidate complains of seems to have some substance, but - just like the Onehunga antics in the infamous recount/challenge of 1993 that National took against Labour - these things primarily stem from partisan paranoia and are difficult to prove even if a fraction of what they suspect is actually true.

    Labour have always driven people to polling stations and there must be electorates where National does the same thing. But given the very high numbers of recent immigrants who are not conversant in English - many from fascist countries - there is a legitimate concern that their ignorance of the NZ system could be used to dupe them out of a free choice. Note the reply:

    "I said I wanted to wait until June 13, but he told me that it is safer to vote now, because I will be breaking the law if I missed voting on polling day. I agreed, because I didn't want to become a criminal," said Mr Li in Mandarin.

    He's wrong. The fact the article doesn't mention this is disturbing. If you are not enrolled it is an offence - but voting is not compulsory. It's compulsory in some countries like Belgium and Australia for example, but not here. Telling fibs to mislead people into voting is a totally unacceptable campaign practice. Then again he may be confused - and because the reporter does not correct Li's mistaken impression it leads me to believe that Lincoln Tan is also confused - and his English is just fine.

    The background issues that aren't discussed in the mainstream media remain: why is it that foreigners can vote after only two years residency? It is possible to vote in NZ without having ever experienced or been in the country for a NZ election. It's compulsory for them to be on the electoral roll, but it isn't compulsory for them to be able to understand or communicate in an official language. No wonder some voters are confused.

    Why is it that a foreigner, a non-citizen, who does not understand a word of either English or Maori, can after a period of time shorter than a single term of parliament be entitled to vote - having the same voting rights as citizens? Now there is not a single urban electorate in Auckland that has less than one third of its population born overseas. Mt Albert is over 40%. Some electorates over half.

    There seems to be little done in the way of encouraging foreigners who live here to communicate in our official languages. But there does seem to be more done in the way of encouraging foreigners who live here to not bother about ever having to communicate or understand anything other than their own language. The government and local authorities are helping as much as they can with this. Went down to the local library and the Chinese language book section was bigger than the Maori subject (English and Te Reo) section.

    The Act Party itself - I'm assuming - still has an Asian Chapter. They were the first party that I've seen put Chinese language on their campaign billboards - that was in 2002 I believe. I guess they raised a bit of money, but the top Asian candidate Kenneth Wang (the very thickly accented Chinese man who briefly took over as MP 2004-5 when Donna Awatere-Huata imploded under the weight of her own intestinal realignment) spat the dummy at the last election over his list placing and missed out altogether. Wang was the front man for the Asian Chapter - at least back then.

    Act, via the Asian Chapter, once had a petition that called on the government to lower the English language requirements for residency. This petition was in two formats - Korean language and Chinese. It was signed by thousands - many just in Korean or Chinese. Immigrants in the country not long enough to understand English, petitioning the government to change the immigration rules so they don't have to learn English - communicated to parliament in a manner that no-one in parliament (beyond Pansy Wong - at the time) could understand who they were or what they wanted. Was it ever presented, or was it just another cynical (albeit effective) campaign gimmick?

    So if Boscawen wants to reflect on any use, misuse and manipulation of Asian voters he should remember his party's own interesting history.


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    The Hollow men and the hypocrisy of the right

    Brash review will vindicate police – Hager
    'The Hollow Men' author Nicky Hager believes a review of the investigation into how he got his hands on Don Brash's private emails will prove police did their best to find out. Hager's book, published in 2006, was based on hundreds of the former National Party leader's emails. It revealed the secret inner workings of the party and caused an uproar. Police launched an investigation and concluded it was unlikely anyone would be identified and charged unless there was an admission. Dr Brash yesterday called for a commission of inquiry into the integrity of the investigation. He believes the police did not make a serious attempt to find out who stole his emails. Within hours Police Commissioner Howard Broad announced the investigation would be reviewed by Auckland Assistant Commissioner Steve Shortland with an independent adviser working alongisde him, appointed after consultation with Dr Brash. Mr Broad said continued questioning of the police role could undermine public trust and confidence in the force. Hager said the review was good news. "There's been a campaign of casting doubt on the police investigation and it's worth everyone's while for someone independent to confirm that they did their best and there's no great conspiracy," he said. "Dr Brash should have given up long ago and just understood that leaks happen, it's part of a democratic society. I wasn't going to reveal my sources and he's just going to have to live with that."

    If Hager’s book had been a microscopic evaluation of Labour, then this book would have been front page reading and the attack on Labour would not end and not one word would be spoken regarding how Hager got the emails.

    Funny word corruption isn’t it? National used it against Labour with the election over spending fiasco, but what do you call knowing who the donors in anonymous trusts are or false statements made to statutory officials about that knowledge or lying about when National were aware of secret funding campaigns by religious fanatics while having a plan of denial ready if that information ever saw the light of day or the fact that a small bunch of rich right wing ideologues with links to America's far right were creating secret agendas for Don Brash or the out right lies and deceit used to hide this “secret right wing agenda” (their words not mine). What about the Maaaaaori get too much racially divisive racist crap where National KNEW what they were saying was bullshit and concocted a story to throw the media off the scent when that bullshit was detected?

    I suppose none of that is corruption? The response you get from our friends on the right is ‘Big deal, Politicians lie, get over it’ – I’m sorry, the dirty machinations of inner National Party workings is unearthed and the best you have is ‘Big deal, Politicians lie’. I think that line of defense is as intellectually shallow as Don Brash and as disingenuous as John Key’s ‘I didn’t read that Exclusive Brethren funding e-mail’ excuse.

    The Hollow Men revealed all these lies and yet the focus is on ‘who stole the emails’ – what a joke, what about what they revealed about National, that is far more important than who stole them!

    But let’s talk about who stole them, I have posted many times that during the fast pace of the election build up that Don Brash liked to read his emails at the end of each day in printed format and it was those printed emails that made up the emails in the book. The question I’ve always asked is who was the staff member responsible for shredding those emails, and most importantly who appointed that staff member, was it the spouse of a National Party front bencher?

    After posting that, the Godfather of National Party spin on-line, David Farrar posted on Tumeke…

    Don did not require his emails to be printed out as he liked reading them in paper format.

    Don was probably the most heavy email user of any MP I have known. He was 100% comfortable with reading and responding electronically. He would send dozens of emails a day and often respond within minutes.

    So Don did not get his emails printed out for him, and there was no shredding of them the next day.

    I know this as I was IT Manager for the NLO when Don became Leader.permi

    I repeat - I worked in the office, and have first hand knowledge of the system. While I was there Don never had emails to his private address printed off for him. E-mails to the public address went to his staff who printed them off for him, along with a draft reply. But that was not the case for emails to his direct account - which the Hager ones were.

    ..I responded to David…

    With all due respect, why would I believe someone as closely welded to the National Party spin machine as you? And if this all happened on your watch wouldn't you have a vested interest to hide such a basic mistake? And if the leaker was a spouse of a front bench National Party MP wouldn't you be the first to spin it elsewhere?

    …David still seems to be using the defense line John Key is using that the emails were hacked, yet the Police have been very clear that hacking the emails was the least likely to have occurred.

    The hilarious issue here is that David and his National chums sure as fuck DON’T WANT the identity of the National Party insider coming out in the media which makes watching their delicate balancing act of faux outrage over Police inaction on the case so amusing.

    Key and English can’t agree on the eve of the Budget what the Budget is about

    In one of those, “Oh come on you clowns, get your shit together’ moments, Key and English bewilderingly contradicted eachother as to what this budget was all about.

    Key said it was to avoid a credit downgrade, when that was put to English, he contradicted Key and said it wasn’t. Now English didn’t know who had said it, so you can forgive him somewhat, but it does show the hopeless political mis-management within National on something as basic as ‘staying on message’ which were so embarrassingly revealed over the Rankin affair when their ‘staying on message’ lines were accidentally leaked to the media.

    For English and Key to disagree with eachother over something as important as what this budget is all about won’t be Government ending, but it really does show that the two are not talking to eachother and that feeds the rumours over English’s intentions for leadership.

    Self-inflicted and dumb - like so many of National’s mistakes recently, sharpen up lads, you’re running the country, it’s not cocktail night at the merchant bankers club.

    National lied about your tax cuts when they made them

    It’s not that National will dump their tax cuts, it’s the right thing to do when the entire global economy is in free fall and that we are really only seeing the first shockwave of that recession – make no mistakes a depression of a size our generation has never seen is on it’s way, it’s going to get FAR worse than what we are seeing presently – it’s that National promised tax cuts when they knew full well that they couldn’t deliver on them, as Brian Rudman points out

    Yet back on September 30 last year, Mr English was mocking then Finance Minister Michael Cullen for being over-cautious on the issue. He said: "Dr Cullen cannot be trusted to deliver on any future tax promises."
    He compared that with National which "will have an ongoing programme of personal tax cuts. It will be a responsible programme and a transparent programme".

    He said he would treat Labour's tax cuts, which came into force the next day, "as the first tranche on our tax-cut programme. That will be followed by another tranche of tax reductions on April 1, 2009, and further tranches in 2010 and 2011". He declared: "National has structured its credible economic package to take account of the changing international climate. Our tax cut programme will not require any additional borrowing."

    A few days later, Mr Key launched "a tax package for our times" that is "appropriate for the current conditions". He said it would require "no additional borrowing, or cuts to frontline services to fund it. There is, in fact, a small saving to be made, of $282 million".

    Somehow, cutting taxes dramatically was going to increase government income. On December 16, Mr English was up in the House confirming "National will not be going back on any of those promises, as we fully costed and funded them".

    The Government is now making out some economic thunderbolt has suddenly hit New Zealand and thrown their pre-election calculations out the window.

    But even economic ignoramuses like myself knew a global crisis was nigh. The experts had been saying so for long enough.

    The International Monetary Fund's October 8, 2008 World Economic Outlook, for example said the world economy is "entering a major downturn" in the face of "the most dangerous shock" to rich-country financial markets since the 1930s. That was about the time Mr Key was unveiling his "responsible" and "appropriate for the current conditions" catalogue of tax-cut bribes.

    The writing on the wall was clear when National promised tax cuts, so the fake National Party tax cut promise was either a direct lie or proof of an immense ignorance – neither is palatable.

    This Government is still in denial about how hard we will be hit by the recession – think about it, we know what the social cost of 5% unemployment currently is, we are looking to nearly double our unemployment rate within a year, and that’s not even the worst case unemployment scenario. How will those unemployed NZers feel in an employment environment where National and ACT have allowed bosses to fire workers within 90 days?

    It’s going to get very ugly in a surprisingly short period of time.

    Ian Wishart’s delusion (Global warming from man made pollution IS happening)

    Ever since Ian’s climate denying book ‘Air Con’ came out, dear old Ian has been posting on Tumeke trying to claim that his book really does prove that global warming isn’t happening from man made pollution.

    BULLSHIT! I had a respect for Ian, his ‘The Paradise Conspiracy’ was a brave courageous work at a time when there wasn’t much courage in NZ journalism, but then something happened. He got involved with hard right Christian groups and then came a plethora of weird shit that never gelled intellectually with reality – intelligent design, a raving homophobia claiming that a vast gay conspiracy was secretly running the country and trawling Helen Clark’s personal life from the gutter. He waned quickly on me to being something irrelevant even with the best of humour and a packed bong.

    He still finds fans in Talkback radio world, (but then again bigots and rednecks like Michael Laws and Leighton Smith also have fans) and there in the talkback wilderness one would like him to fade away, but Ian’s special level of delusion makes him think he can still put out work of an academic level that can challenge the science behind global warming, so let’s get into that now shall we?

    Firstly let me be clear – I have come to my conclusions about man made global warming and the possible irreversible consequences for our species BASED ON THE SCIENCE. I am wanting changes to our consumer capitalism and the wasteful consumer culture we live because of my readings of that science, I have zero interest in demanding changes from my fellow citizen based on bullshit, if someone can really show me that we’ve made massive mistakes in the science I am more than happy to drop the issue and admit I’m wrong – I come to this climate change debate as a thinking individual who has done a massive amount of reading on this topic and my conclusions are from a decade of activism, I’m not an idiot and treat new information on global warming with an open mind, which is why when I turned my attention on Ian’s claim that he had proved global warming from man made pollution wasn’t true with a certain amount of interest – had Ian seen something the majority of the scientific community had missed?

    Short answer – no. Gareth over at Hot Topic (the best climate change blog in the NZ Blogosphere) has been reviewing Ian’s book and what becomes quickly apparent is that Ian doesn’t actually understand anything about the topic at all, in fact he gets it wrong over and over and over again. If Ian had any credibility after Intelligent Design, massive Gay conspiracy and gutter trawling Helen Clarks personal life, well he’s blown it with ‘Air Con’ – don’t take my word for it, read the point by point derailment of Ian on Hot Topic.

    Ian seems to live in a fantasy world, where he simply ignores being demonstrably wrong.

    Original review here

    He got upset, claimed Gareth hadn't dealt with his main points, so Gareth did

    Which stirred him up even more

    But eventually he showed himself to be a know-nothing clown

    Since then, Gareth has dealt with his "central thesis" (CO2 is coming from oceans)

    And corrected him on polar bears

    And finally I believe the term is ‘handed him his arse on a platter’.

    Global warming from man made pollution IS happening and the denial now isn’t a scientific one, it is a cultural one. All those folk who derided the green movement would hate to now admit not only was the Green movement right, but that by denying the debate this long, the deniers have become part of the problem.

    Climate deniers like Ian are as relevant to the climate change debate as creationists are to evolution.

    Wednesday, May 27, 2009

    Speaker's spontaneous ejection pops discipline cherry

    Mallard managed to get himself chucked out of the chamber for the day - right before the General Debate began at 3:30pm. He had been belligerent during question time and pushed the quizmaster Speaker once too often - defying his rulings. I believe this is the first instance that this new Speaker has exercised his powers to eject an MP for the day's session as summary punishment for bad behaviour.

    There is a lot of pre-budget tension, a lot of swagger and confrontation from both sides now the media have officially declared the government's extended honeymoon over. And a lot of talk of debt to GDP ratios and the international credit ratings agencies. English and Key both answering. Unemployment was noted, but our stats look better than even the Aussies.

    Annette King's probing of the Social Welfare Minister over Christine Rankin's appointment process was strained, but Bennett came through unscathed. She and Education Minister Anne Tolley have been targeted by Labour as weak ministers with big portfolios. So far however both have remained above water - with Tolley the one more likely to sink if they keep the barrage up.

    Russel Norman made a good case when the Transport Minister, Stephen Joyce, conceded that a cost -benefit analysis had not been done yet on all of the seven significant highway projects the govt has made their priority. How could they have made a list without knowing the value of it? How indeed? The roading-trucking lobby was not really mentioned, but one can imagine where National's ideas in this department may have sprung from.

    Joyce and Judith Collins - the double act behind the government's anti-social motorists bills - kept couching their speeches in terms of serving the needs of Christchurch. But little beyond echoing outrage at things that their bills will not address.

    In the General debate the out-going female co-leader of the Greens made their opening speech instead of the by-election candidate Norman - who one would of thought could do with as much publicity as possible. He should have given that speech. Then again it's not as if National will let Melissa Lee anywhere near a microphone in the House or in Mt Albert. Act's candidate, John Boscawen, was in full tersely clipped flight however later on: speaking particularly about the contentious Waterview link and attacking Labour's David Shearer.

    Car crushing bullshit

    Banks calls Govt's boy-racer measures 'draconian'
    The Government says its "anti-cruising" measure will clear boy-racers off designated streets - but Auckland City mayor John Banks compares the plans to the "draconian" ban on gang patches in Wanganui. Outlining the Government's wide-ranging crackdown yesterday, Prime Minister John Key said it would stop boy-racers "circling the same streets again and again". The proposed law will allow local authorities to make bylaws preventing people "cruising" down certain streets. Transport Minister Steven Joyce said cruising was defined as "repeatedly driving over the same section of road in a motor vehicle that draws attention to the sound of its engine or creates a convoy that impedes traffic flow". This meant cruising would not capture those "just looking for a carpark". But Mr Banks last night said he would not be rushing to introduce an anti-cruising ban on Queen St. "I'm the Mayor for all of the people that live in this city. We promote good behaviour and boy-racers that behave themselves are not an issue. There are bigger problems in the CBD Auckland today than boy-racers."

    You know when John Banks is on your side that things have gone dreadfully wrong, the re-interpretation of Banks continues as he edges closer to being the first Mayor of the Super City.

    It’s just all so juvenile isn’t it? ‘Crusher’ Collins, she’s a Minister of the Crown for Christ’s sake, watching her roll around like a pig in shit everytime she got to mention the word ‘crush’ was too much even for a masochist in a gimp suit.

    The Police don’t bother policing boy racers because there ain’t no bloody money in it for them, speeding, now that’s a revenue stream, boy racing, that’s a waste of time and tends to end in police chases the cops miraculously seem to officially call off 3 seconds before someone crashes and dies.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think boy racers can be a pain in the arse, I live in the city, they hoon around my place all the time, but clamping down on the sale of mufflers designed to cause noise would be a much better way of dealing with the nuisance of boy racers than this crushing crap. The cops have gone along with this because it creates a massive new level of powers they can use against everyone and National have no problems eroding your civil liberties for a populist knee jerk.

    With confiscation via legislation of the seabed and foreshore legislation, Labour tried to manage red necks rather than challenge them and they ended up standing for nothing which was why so many urban liberals in Auckland didn’t vote in the last election leading to one of the lowest elector turn outs ever. National aren’t managing the red neck, they are actively feeding them with raw meat policy that has talkback land in ecstasy, I’m sure Michael Laws actually had an orgasm on air trying to whip up white supremacist hate groups to attack the Hikoi on Monday.

    What National have granted the cops in their populist knee jerk is the power to arrest people for nothing. Once upon a time the Police could ask you for your name, address and employer details, now the Police have an open ended list of questions they can ask you and if they don’t like any answer are now allowed to arrest you. This is a VAST increase in powers allowing for anyone to be arrested merely on the basis the cop arresting you doesn’t like any one of your answers to a list of undefined questions they subjectively decide you've answerd or not. BUT IT GETS WORSE, here are the exact words used in the Policing Act…

    may only use reasonable force that may be necessary to secure the persons identifying particulars.

    …so a cop can use ‘reasonable force’ to force you to hand over ‘identifying particulars’ – what this amounts to is an ill-defined loophole that greenlights any Police behaviour when arresting you for reasons that are now purely subjective.

    This insidious rebalance of power away from protecting citizens rights to curbside judge, jury and executioner isn’t purely a National drift, by attempting to manage redneck NZ, Labour has played it’s part in allowing this trend to begin under it’s watch. These new draconian powers won’t do a damned thing to deal with the boy racer nuisance, but they will be a massive step towards giving Police any excuse to abuse these new powers, while it’s the brown kids getting picked on nothing will happen, the second abuse occurs to a nice white middle class kid the media will demand answers. It’s a pity we have to wait for that.

    John Key finally listens to Mikey Havoc

    Make cold pills prescription-only – Labour
    Making cold pills that can be used by criminals to make drugs available only on prescription is a better than banning them, Labour leader Phil Goff says. Prime Minister John Key yesterday said he was seeking advice on whether pseudoephedrine could be eliminated from the manufacture of cold tablets. Pseudoephedrine is a main precursor for methamphetamine and can be distilled from cold tablets. Mr Goff said New Zealanders got benefit from cold pills containing the substance. "It seems a shame that ordinary New Zealanders who can get real cold relief through tablets using pseudoephedrine should be denied that opportunity completely, because of the role of gangs and the shop buyers of pseudoephedrine. "If you make it a prescription item then of course people cannot go right around the country simply buying up those tablets from pharmacies." Mr Goff said the prescription idea could be easier to implement than a ban.

    Mr Havoc has been on John Key’s tail everytime they discuss P on bFM to not only focus on the illegal P pushers, but to also focus on the legal P pushers. The pharmaceutical industry who make a billion per year in NZ selling pseudoephedrine products is the easiest source ingerient for do it yourself number 8 wire cooks to make P, but John Key will find taking on the legal pushers far too difficult a war to start. The power of the pharmaceutical industry (which may or may not fund the National Party, seeing as only 15% of National’s doners are not anonymous) means that Key’s threats to ban the products are just hot air, he won’t dare piss them off to the point of banning their billion dollar empire, so Labour’s plan to make them prescription only seems much more workable.

    Personally I’m skeptical of all this war on P stuff, booze is by billions of dollars more a much deadlier drug and where our resources should be turned. The way to tackle P is to regulate the core ingredient (pseudoephedrine products) and to financially scrutinize with forensic accountants the structures organized gangs use to ship pseudoephedrine in and out of the country, making it more of a customs issue than policing issue. I don’t believe lowering the evidential threshold to seize assets or to redefine who a gang member is a positive step at all, I believe those are advances in police powers which repeal civil liberties by a level well beyond the danger of da gangs.