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Monday, April 30, 2012

On the money

NZ Herald:

Kim Dotcom says he will produce financial records to back up his allegation that he gave $50,000 to Act leader John Banks' 2010 mayoral campaign after Mr Banks yesterday said the Herald's report of those claims was "mostly BS".
Mr Banks yesterday refused to answer questions about two $25,000 donations to his mayoral campaign from Dotcom which were made the day after the two men met in an April 2010. Mr Banks later signed off on campaign finance returns recording the money as coming from anonymous sources.

Banks' stress tones in his speech have risen over the weekend. From a perplexed and cautious phone interview with Campbell Live, laced with great doses of acute amnesia as video loops of his cavorting at Kim's birthday party, to a nervous staccato laugh through a fixed grin on Q+A yesterday where the issues were deflected or just point blank not answered. Sometime today it may approach the realms of hysteria the likes of which were last heard when Judith Collins was attempting to get herself out of her own threatened defamation proceedings and ended up screeching out theatrical snorts of laughter at her own jokes. It is rapidly becoming this sad. Maybe by tomorrow only dogs will be able to hear the shrill laugh.

Banks should never have taken the Dotcom dough if he wasn't prepared to deliver something of value to the donor when it counts, but in the heat of a campaign and the desperation of fundraising for a constituency of a million plus people the candidates can't afford to be too fussy.  Yeah, I'm your best mate, now how much?

Who can blame Banks for wanting to keep his donor list private? And who can blame Kim for turning against Banks when he's sitting in jail and Banks is a Minister in the government that put him there? It has all the hallmarks of the moment when Owen Glenn turned on Winston Peters after his donations were spilled during the 2008 election campaign.  Betrayal. And now the consequences:
The Herald last night spoke to a former Dotcom employee, who said they had personally deposited the cheques into Mr Banks' campaign account.
The former employee said, "They were deposited just through a normal bank process. It would have just come up as a $25,000 deposit."
However, Dotcom says Mr Banks rang him to thank him for the money after it was paid.

And if Banks is the full quid on this then he would sue the shite out of Kim for defamation for that comment and name the NZ Herald as second defendant... but Banks won't do that, will he. Kim is straight up on this and Banks is at great pains to contort his way around having to answer those tricky, incriminating questions. Oh deary me. It's approaching lawyer time.

What was said on the March

Normally a picture says a thousand words. This one says less than 10.
IMAGE: John Chapman

As with the last march, it was what was said on it that interested me.

Let's deal with first things first, the turn out was incredible, we are talking 10 000, Queen street was full from Aotea Square down, Aotea Square was full...

...the NZ Herald at the Maritime protest last month originally claimed the size of the protest was 1500. TVNZ then put it at 5000 and the bloody Herald edited their number up the next day to 3000. The rule is, whatever the number of protesters the Herald claims, triple it and round up.

Discussions were the possibility of an Epsom by-election and what candidate would be stood. I was suggesting an independent candidate backed by Labour, Greens, NZ First and MANA. Got some bites.

Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson turned up either side of my elbow for a poke in the ribs. Grant and I reminisced about the size of marches in the 1990's when he was President of NZUSA and I was President of ASPA. They were both good value and with all the rumors circulating I pressed them on the speculation. They both denied anything and everything.

Others weren't so coy. One suggestion was if the Labour Party rules change in November to take into account the wider membership in terms of the leader, Cunliffe would win hands down meaning any possible 'fresh blood' challenge would happen sooner rather than later.

Speaker of the day was Hone who fired the crowd in a way the 3 other speakers didn't. Russell was okay, and relishing his number two political party zeitgeist, the NZ First speaker bordered on comprehension and Shearer dangerously faded into the back ground.

At the moment, the machinations within the left are reminiscent of SOHO's 'Game of Thrones', except that it has far more gratuitous incest.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

TUMEKE EXCLUSIVE: Cunliffe launches 'True Labour' speech

I have just come away from what could be the most important speech given from a high ranking Labour Party politician since David Lange articulated NZ's independent foreign policy in the 1980's.

It was given by David Cunliffe at 2pm Sunday at the Blockhouse Bay Community Centre on his personal beliefs for the economic vision for Labour. 70 people were there by invitation including myself, Chris Trotter and Peter Davis and I have never heard the explanation of why Labour lost the 2011 election and what vision is necessary to regain that support with the passion and intelligence that Cunliffe brought to it.

Cunliffe launched a personal vision of what I'd call 'True Labour', a renouncing of the neo liberal agenda and an explanation that the reason a million enrolled voters didn't bother to vote Labour was because despite a few policy differences, Labour was still the lighter shade of blue.

Cunliffe argued that it's the acceptance of the flawed free market mantra by Labour that has betrayed its social democracy principles and this betrayal of principle was the reason so many Labour Party supporters were uninspired to bother voting.

Such a response to the 2011 election defeat is a resounding blow to the orthodoxy of the free market dogma, and this speech, (what Cunliffe is describing as the first of a series of vision statements), contextualized the failure of neo liberalism over the past 30 years. Tracing the corrupt practices of consultants consulting asset sales for themselves from our own recent history, Cunliffe presented an argument that touches the egalitarian raw nerves of fairness and challenged the rational of simply going along with the failing Washington consensus that we didn't consent to.

The sheer corruption and fleecing of public funds for corporate profit margins at the cost of genuine social investment sparks an anger in NZers that Cunliffe argues needs to be acknowledged and celebrated in an attempt to inspire those million enrolled voters who weren't inspired.

This is the first time any Labour politician has articulated this position and explanation as to why they have lost faith with so many supporters and his denouncement of austerity politics resonates in a way that actually revives the Party.

With the speculation swirling around Shearer's leadership, Cunliffe made it very clear he believed David needed longer as leader to make his mark and that he supported him in doing that, and the energy Cunliffe brought to this speech and the vision he's wanting to inspire has the passion to excite supporters and give Shearer his best chance of leading a winning election.

Labour has needed vision and Cunliffe is providing it. By holding Labour's acquiescence of right wing market fundamentals accountable, Cunliffe explains voter disdain like this, 'when the right say they have to amputate your leg, voters don't want the left responding that the amputation should be at the knee'.

The collapse of free market dogma has never provided the left with so much ammunition, Cunliffe looks like he's going to use it.

Cunliffe's speech tour should attract a lot of attention. 'True Labour' has a lot of electoral appeal.


John Banks has to stand down - call crime stoppers and make a complaint

John Banks pretending to not know about the cash he asked to be laundered anonymously is as plausible as a convicted arsonist getting caught with matches, a petrol bomb and a 'how to burn shit down' google search history claiming he was just being curious.

John Key's response that John Banks can stay on rather than stand down while an investigation into the SkyCity anonymous donations and the Kim Dotcom money laundering is simply beyond belief. How on earth can Banks remain as an associate Minister of the crown when such allegations are being made? Banks must stand down until the issue is investigated!

Perhaps every reader of Tumeke needs to call crime stoppers and complain about John Banks breaking the law and taking anonymous donations from people he knew - 0800 555 111

By actively suggesting tactics to break the law, Banks must be investigated and he can not be allowed to remain in his position as an associate Minister until that investigation has concluded. To do any less after the revelations of the last 24 hours is an attempt at a cover up.

It's as simple as that.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Epsom By-Election Alert - John Banks in cash scandal meltdown

Dotcom's secret donation to Banks
Kim Dotcom says he gave John Banks money to help his mayoral campaign. Photos / Sarah Ivey, Jason Dorday Act leader John Banks asked for a $50,000 political donation to be split into two parts so it could be made anonymously, says Kim Dotcom and one other witness.

Dotcom said the request was made on April 15, 2010, when Mr Banks was preparing to campaign for the Auckland mayoralty.

He said there were at times three other people in the room while the donation was discussed - and Mr Banks rang later to thank him for it.

The allegation comes after police were asked to investigate Mr Banks' listing of a $15,000 donation from SkyCity as "anonymous".

Political candidates are required by law to declare donations if they know who made them. Failure to do so is punishable by up to two years' imprisonment and up to a $10,000 fine.

A vacancy is automatically created if any MP is convicted of an offence punishable by two years or more, no matter what punishment they get.

In the case of Mr Banks, a conviction would place at risk his Epsom seat under the Electoral Act and force a by-election. The loss would leave the Government exposed, with its 59 votes in the 121-seat Parliament supplemented only by United Future's one and the Maori Party's three.

Oh this is the gift that just keeps giving doesn't it? Following hard on the heels of such class A ACT Party hypocrites like Rodney Hide and David Garrett, Banks became the new pall bearer for gutter standards earlier this week when his comments against pokie machines from the late 1990's was played against his new position supporting pokie machines now. That jaw dropping hypocrisy was followed up by claims that he hid a $15 000 donation from SkyCity and now this incredible accusation by Kim Dotcom that he was asked to donate secretly in a manner that helped bypass the rules.

John Banks is a train wreck whose time has finally come. How he managed to avoid getting arrested for his role as a director in the Huljich KiwiSaver scheme has always amazed me, but his old boy crony mate network can't save him from the current grubby allegations.

Banks filed on the 9th December and listed $15 000 as anonymous, yet on the 13th December SkyCity admitted the payment. Len Brown was aware of the donation, how on earth could John Banks not have been and these new allegations that he actively attempted to wash cash anonymously means he is dog tucker.

The vultures are already circling and there is blood in the water.

What would a by-election look like? Who from each of the party's would run and how much of an anti-Government vote would this by election produce in the most right wing electorate in the country? Would protesting voters vote for a strong Green candidate? Would Rodney Hide run again? Who does Labour run and what does MANA do? Would NZ First have a punt?

Whatever the result, the by election would produce a body blow to the government, even if they won. It leaves them with 60 votes, but utterly reliant on the centrist Peter Dunne for a majority. Peter Dunne could stop the asset sales, Peter Dunne could stop the SkyCity deal, Peter Dunne could stop a lot of things. National currently play ACT off against Dunne but with no ACT, Dunne suddenly has a vast amount of power.

Whatever way a by-election plays out, the real joy would be seeing the end of this homophobic dinosaur and the ACT Party. Anyone who can say...

"If we continue the bankrupt response of just paying young Polynesian, young Maori men in south Auckland the dole to sit in front of TV, smoke marijuana, watch pornography and plan more drug offending and more burglaries, then we’re going to have them coming through our windows".

...doesn't deserve to be in a liberal progressive democracy, and they sure as hell don't deserve to be the associate Minister of Education. ACT became a political joke a long time ago, watching the accusations of sleazy cover ups and dirty anonymous cash getting laundered as the ACT Party's final footnote should warm the hearts of every leftie.


My submission to the Justice and Electoral Committee on the 2011 election turn out

Survey reveals why Kiwis didn't vote
Nearly half of the people who did not vote in New Zealand's general election last year made their decision not to vote on Election Day.

The Electoral Commission has released the results of a survey today which aimed to understand people's satisfaction with the voting process and their reasons for failing to get to the polling booth.

The 2011 general election had the lowest turnout in 120 years, with a million eligible voters not casting a vote.

Voter turnout dropped from 79.5 per cent of those on the electoral rolls in 2008 to 73.8 per cent in 2012.

There is a Justice and Electoral Committee inquiry into the 2011 election. Submissions close on the 4th of May, and I'm making the following submission.

The Universal Suffrage Project

NZ believed it had achieved universal suffrage in 1893, however the 2011 result showing the worst voter turn out in 120 years demands a response beyond a review. The loss of blood on Gallipoli shores, the honor of medals for bravery and the battles against Nazism mean little in the fight for democracy if we allow participation at home to be smothered.

Voter disfranchisement demands an active Government, and the threat to our democracy from apathy should be seen as much of a threat as any of the wars we've fought for democracy. We need an active Government to look at new ideas and new ways to bring the apathetic and disillusioned to not only enroll but to vote.

Under the present Government, voter disenfranchisement has increased, leaving the situation where John Key leads the country when 68% of the enrolled electorate didn't vote for his Party. But this isn't a left wing or right wing issue, this is a NZ issue. Disenfranchised voters can't be relegated to a 'don't vote, don't complain' simplicity, this isn't a watered down consumer warranty, this is the quality of our democracy. A democracy that prided itself on being the first to expand the franchise of it's gift to women who fought long and hard to have equality.

There are 5 things the Justice and Electoral Select Committee review must look at to increase voter participation and to see the lack of voter interaction as a serious threat.

1: Lower the voting age to 16 alongside civics education classes in School to start the passion for democracy at a younger age. Taxation without representation is that most heinous of high crimes against citizens and taxing 16 and 17 year olds minus their right to say how that tax should be spent is worth expanding the franchise of democracy all on its own, minus the wider social good of connecting the next generation of voters into the responsibilities and rights of voting.

2: Allow any voter to go onto the unpublished electoral roll and make the process as easy as ticking a box. So many of our citizens are on the run from debt collectors or abusive spouses that they refuse to enroll so as to not be detected. Any NZer can go onto the unpublished roll but the Electoral Commission goes out of its way to demand all sorts of reasons for it to occur. If the end point is to make it as easy as possible for citizens to participate, streaming this process and making it as easy as a box tick is a priority.

3: Make the date of the election a Wednesday and make it a public holiday. We complain so much in this country about not having a day we can celebrate as NZers because many people feel anxious about the conflict of Waitangi Day. Why not search for that which binds us and celebrate that? Election Day should be a celebration because we are one of the few privileged nations around the planet that allows political leadership to change hands minus violence and repression. Our exercising of the right to vote peacefully is celebration in itself and making it a mid week public holiday would do more for participation rates than any single thing the Justice and Electoral Select Committee review could endorse.

4: The National Party as part of their tough on crime posturing passed law stripping prisoners of their rights to vote. Removing a prisoner incarcerated for less than 3 years their ability to vote removes any connection a prisoner might have with civil society. The argument is that prisoners who are inside for less than 3 years should be able to vote because the decision of the election will impact them one way or another once they are released within the lifetime of that Government. Stripping prisoners of their right to vote puts us on the opposite side of the European Court of Human Rights who have argued against this type of prisoner flogging. Their argument is that incarceration doesn't remove your human right to vote, and we should look to repeal such knee jerk legislation if we agree universal suffrage is a nobel endeavor.

5: Expand the civics course in schools to immigrant communities and make the course a compulsory part of becoming a NZer so that new citizens know their civic rights and responsibilities.We do our new citizens a terrible disservice by not extending any hand of welcome when they become NZers other than a certificate ceremony. How can we expect them to interact in civil society with all the autonomy citizens have if the history and cultural norms of our political establishment hasn't been explained?

The expansion of the democratic franchise should be the main focus of any progressive democracy, our worst participation rate in 120 years demands solutions that go beyond the passive nothings our major political parties are currently mouthing as suggestions.

NZ once led the world on universal suffrage, we need an upgrade and we need that upgrade now.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Will Russell Brown apologize for manufactured crisis at The Hobbit?

Well, well, well.

What do we have here?

Union: Hobbit undermined immigration process
The Government "undermined" immigration processes for foreign actors during previously secret talks with Kiwi director Sir Peter Jackson over The Hobbit, a union says.

After complaints to the Ombudsman, former economic development minister Gerry Brownlee yesterday released a series of documents relating to the controversial deal struck between the Government and Warner Brothers in October 2010.

The documents show Kiwi director Sir Peter Jackson, who received personal post-Cabinet briefings from Brownlee, rated the union vetting of foreign actors as one of only two "key issues" in the debate.

Days before Prime Minister John Key announced a deal had been cut with Warners to keep The Hobbit production in New Zealand, Brownlee's office emailed Jackson an assurance that Warners did not need to worry about access for foreign actors.

Oh God, isn't that beautiful, Jackson always had the backing he needed, this was a manufactured crisis just as Tumeke called it and let's look at the mainstream media who were so quick to scream anti-Union hysteria backing down with their tails between their legs.

This after a damning point by point indictment from Helen Kelly detailing how NZ was played and manipulated into the manufactured crisis at the Hobbit, all backed up by the emails released under the Official Information Act where Peter Jackson admitted to Gerry Brownlee that it wasn't about the Actors Union at all.

If Peter Jackson should win an Oscar for best supporting actor in a corporate negotiating tactic, surely Russell Brown must get a nomination for playing the role of Cameron Slater in this manufactured crisis. His damning blog so perfectly timed to smear the actors union had so much inside information I often wondered who leaked to him from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage.

I have my suspicions.

Tumeke called this a manufactured crisis on the very first day and called it as an attempt to manipulate NZ into blaming the Actors Union by threatening to take the movie overseas when in reality the entire fiasco was a negotiating tactic by Warners Bros to gain more corporate welfare.

We called that on day one. However the bias and anti union hysteria by the mainstream media painted a totally different story. According to the mainstream media poor Sir Peter Jackson was facing trouble at Shire with Union busting Hobbits officially referred to as Scabbits. Poor Sir Peter Jackson was being forced to consider one actors contract to rule them all, one actors contract to find them. One actors contract enforced by Trans-Tasman Unions and in the darkness bind them. The Union bosses at the Shire had forced the Orcs to work to rule and all 9 members of the Nazgeal were considering wild cat strikes.

In response, poor Sir Peter Jackson had to threaten to outsource the eye of Mordor to Eastern Europe where naturally hairy residents would save him on Hobbit feet make up.

That was the official story by the mainstream media.

Warners Bros has a long history of attacking Unions, all the way back to the Un-American committee blacklisting of supposed communists...

The founder of the performers union the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), John Howard Lawson, was also one of the ten jailed for contempt. Jack Warner – founder of Warner’s Bros was a “friendly witness” at the hearings and cooperated with the Committee’s work including enforcing the blacklist of those performers, writers and others named in the testimonies. Many believed he did so in retaliation for the month long strike by SAG during a dispute with Warners over pay.

It is disgusting that John Key simply handed our sovereignty of NZ to Warners Bros to ram through under a misuse of urgency deeply flawed employment law minus any select committee process or public consultation whatsoever while handing them millions more in corporate welfare. The 20 000 Union members who had marched 24 hours earlier against Key's harsh new labour laws had all media attention sucked out of them in a Crosby/Textor moment of pure media and political manipulation symmetry.

The mainstream media's unquestioning regurgitation of hysterical union bashing as a manufactured crisis negotiating tactic by Warners Bros to extract more corporate welfare from our Optimist Prime led to death threats against Unionist's, Robyn Malcolm and Helen Kelly who had done nothing more than courageously stand up for the basic human right of collective bargaining.

Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states it is a fundamental human right for people to form Trade Unions and collectively bargain, that was all the Actors Union attempted, yet watching the way they had been denigrated and proclaimed as 'damaged goods' is right out of a Paul Henry supporters character assassination wet dream.

You would need to go back to the 1950's waterfront lockout to see an equivalent level of union hysteria in the mainstream media.

The real outcry should be that John Key has handed out more corporate welfare while slashing domestic welfare, yet like a pack of chumps played by the most obvious of divide and rule tactics, we got sucked into increasing our corporate welfare by over 50% more.

So much for the great deal maker, by siding with Warners Bros in the Union bashing, John Key had no choice but to simply ask, ‘how much’ when Warners Bros hard balled him for more corporate welfare.

As Gordon Campbell brilliantly concludes, we were played like chumps.

Dumb sleepy hobbits.


5 star comedy preview review: NZ International Comedy Festival 2012

The best bit of going to the SkyCity Theatre is the chance to view the gaming floor from the balcony. The sad depressed faces of the slot jockey's throwing their mortgage money away has always given me the sort of thrill that popping infected whiteheads provides.

Apparently SkyCity are replacing the theatre to make room for those bloody pokie machines, so the last reason I've ever thanked the Casino for existing by providing a place for the arts is about to evaporate.

Maybe next year they could allow comedians to do stand up next to each pokie machine? One-Armed Gambits?

You can only ever claim to be an Aucklander if a) You've desecrated a National/ACT Party billboard during an election and b) have gone to the NZ International Comedy Festival.

This year's festival looks like the usual hilarity and a chance to take guaranteed dates all the way (if they joke, they poke).

The taster of the festival was the 5 Star Comedy preview. MC'd by Damien Christie look-a-like Dan Willis from Britain, it was fast moving and very funny. His story of how he got mugged and saved by Craig Campbell is one of the highlight jokes of the night. 3 stars

Chris Martin from Britain was cute. The jokes about how he gets confused for his Coldplay namesake worked well. 3 stars.

Craig Campbell from Canada was 5 star. Very funny stage presence, hilarious story about how he saved Dan Willis from a mugging. Well worth a ticket.

Brendon Burns from Australia was beautifully crass with his responsibilities as a host when someone is arse raped to death at a party. 4 stars

Stuart Taylor from South Africa gave us an insight into the concerns of middle class South Africans which seemed to strike a chord with the poor white trash members of the audience. 2 stars.

Bill Dawes from the US was brilliantly funny with his experiences at Les Mills band the pink thong at the end was brilliant. 4 and a half stars.

Milton Jones dial a lama joke is the best joke of the night. His beautiful delivery is stoner joy, 5 stars. Unmissable for the fest.


The destabilization of David Shearer's leadership

Nash denies being frogmarched from office
The Labour leader's office appears to be in turmoil after David Shearer's chief of staff abruptly left Wellington.

Former Labour MP Stuart Nash, who has been in the job just a few months, was seen leaving Parliament yesterday after a meeting with Mr Shearer's incoming chief of staff Alistair Cameron. He later confirmed that he would be working on projects from his home in Napier for the next couple of weeks. He is due to finish on May 31.

Mr Nash rejected suggestions he had been "frogmarched" out of the building or given orders to clear his desk but his abrupt departure coincides with rising conflict in the Labour Party over Mr Shearer's continued poor polling and lack of a clear strategy.

Some of that conflict has been laid bare in leaks to a Right-wing blog that could only have come from either senior MPs or highly placed members of the leadership team.

As Tumeke was pointing out last week, David Shearer's leadership is in trouble.

The ubiquitous BBQ was what Phil Goff invited friends around to when he was considering a coup against Helen Clark, from that point on it has been the symbol of lefty plotting and the Labour Party BBQ has been doing double time of late.

Why the Labour Party Coven thought David Farrar's gift wrapped suggestion that Shearer should be their leader was anything more than a poisoned chalice has always struck me as the dumbest mistake they ever made. Cunliffe was by far the better candidate and out shone Shearer in every single media debate, what so many of the mainstream media did not understand (and still for some reason don't get) was that the right of the Party swung in behind Shearer, meaning Shearer owed his position to the right, hence Nash and the Pagani's getting his ear.

The drive to move to the right has been bitterly debated in the back ground of Shearer's leadership. One idea was an attempt to attack the 'whanau first' policy of CYFs, not because the stats show that children placed in their own families are more at risk (the stats don't show that they are), but because it included the word 'whanau'. Shearer's advisers were wanting an Orewa Speech in Ponsonby. Such tactics were far too unpalatable to the rest of the leadership and was quietly killed off, but in the vacuum that is Shearer's leadership, ambitions have been brewing.

Cunliffe has stated clearly that he always thought Shearer deserved a fair bite of the cherry to see what he could achieve before there was any chat about a coup. That timetable doesn't see a challenge until February after a long summer season of BBQ's, but the ambitions of the new blood of Robertson and Ardern are rising with Alastair Cameron's appointment.

This will create an interesting tension, if Cunliffe still wants the top job, Robertson must cut a deal with him. Cunliffe, who hasn't been part of any of the recent shenanigans, won't be happy that such audacity is being explored without anyone coming to get his permission.

While those tensions are sorted, there is a more immediate threat. The right aren't too happy about being kicked out of Shearer's office so expect some dirty leaks to come. Right wing bloggers gave Nash the information on Dairy Farmer subsidies he used before the last election, those same channels will now be open to blood letting.

As Nick Smith painfully found out, when factions use the blogs to fight, the mess can be terrible. Someone within Labour needs to start showing some actual leadership before it gets to that point.

The questions that need to be asked are, 'is the Shearer experiment working? Can it work? If it can't, who should replace him?'. The sooner those questions are answered, the sooner Labour can focus on removing this terrible Government in 2014.


Citizen A online NOW - Matthew Hooton & Phil Twyford

Issue 1: Despite the grubby Casino deal, despite asset sales and despite the Crafar Farm sale, National are more popular than ever - is It because David Shearer isn't connecting or is it because Key is teflon?

Issue 2: Super Ministry Tzar Steven Joyce wants to axe 130 public sector jobs to create his own personal fiefdom. Should Bill English be concerned?  

Issue 3: Next month is the last month of TVNZ7 - why is public broadcasting so hated by National?

Citizen A broadcasts 7pm Thursday Triangle TV


Thursday, April 26, 2012

The sell out

NZ Herald reporting eleven plus Len makes a dirty dozen:

Auckland Council has rejected a proposal to stand in the way of the Government's planned convention centre deal with SkyCity.
Councillors voted 12-9 against supporting a motion that the council did not support legislation that would allow SkyCity to increase opportunities for gambling in return for a national convention centre.
Mayor Len Brown was among the 12 who voted against the motion.

Len, Len, Lenny, Len, Len... what are we going to do with you, eh?

Len was actually elected on the basis that he wasn't John Banks rather than because he was a Lefty as such. However Len must rapidly understand that although his victory was more to do with anti-Banks sentiment than his own personal magnetism, he is at least supposed to be a Lefty and thus must act like a Lefty from time to time to show solidarity with his grass roots support base drawn from the many Leftist groups and individuals that did the foot slogging in his campaign - and this casino stitch-up is one of those times.

So, Len: WTF? He was featured on a TV ad during the election wearing his Manukau mayoral chains championing the reduction of pokie machines in his 'hood. Nek minit...

What makes Len's backing of Sky City's convention centre all the more troubling is that it has probably come at the expense (one way or the other) of the Council's own assets (and saving the heritage venue of the St James - across the road from the Civic) that would have been the most likely alternative convention centre scenario. So Len is making many enemies here when he chooses to front for the casino.

I guess Sky City's $15k campaign donation to Len was the best bet they ever took. As much as Len will be looking forward to another contribution it would have to be in the millions to undo the political damage from their relationship.

Dear Auckland - why you should march this Saturday at 3pm

Dear Auckland

Please come to the protest against this Governments agenda to sell all our stuff. I know the polls keep trying to con you into thinking everyone supports John Key and that being a dissenter is a little intimidating in a country where a sheep like mentality triumphs, but if you are not going to get off the fencepost and make a stand against a raft of policy that enrich the wealthy while grinding the poor- who will?

This Government has no care for the egalitarian values that make us NZers. They are destroying the public services we cherish, whoring off our assets, crucifying the welfare state, cutting dirty deals with corporate monopolies, attacking unions, passing legislation that amounts to the largest erosion of civil liberties, shitting on public broadcasting, selling our land off to overseas interests, empowering the rich with tax cuts we are all subsidizing and lavishing corporate welfare while crippling domestic welfare.

It's our NZ, not theirs. John Key's 'victory' was a mere one seat majority at an election that represented the lowest voter turn out in 120 years. 68% of the enrolled electorate didn't vote for this austerity led by leaders peddling vacant optimism and empty aspiration who decide on costs with no sense of value.

It's time to drop the apathy and resist.

3pm this Saturday, Queen st. Time to get off the fencepost.

Let's show Key and his rich mates that NZ is not for sale.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lest We Remember

For me, ANZAC Day is a day that civil society pauses and remembers those who have sacrificed their lives in the name of our country. It is a commemoration of our wars and a solemn occasion when the current generation promise the next generation that we will never throw their lives away as wastefully as we have in the past. Our history is littered with wars that were ill defined and devoured some of our best and brightest. We respect the glorious dead by promising not to needlessly fill the graves next to them with more wasted life.

For the last decade, ANZAC Day has been a farce to the respect of our glorious dead. Our involvement in an immoral war to prop up a corrupt regime in Afghanistan while we actively hand over Afghan civilians to torture units means we have ignored the lessons of the past and are now inflicting the very terror we proclaim we are fighting. How do we know the people the SAS attacked and killed in their revenge attack were the ones responsible for the death of a NZ soldier? A court decides guilt, are we now saying the SAS are a Court unto themselves who can decide who is guilty and who is not and kill both accordingly? When you are against war, it is because war makes good people do bad things.

When you dance with the devil, the devil doesn't change, you do.

Watching Wayne Mapp declare last year that we are in Afghanistan because 7 NZers have died from terrorism in 10 years is the most intellectually bankrupt defense of this immoral war I've ever heard. Our threshold for occupation of Afghanistan is 7 dead citizens over a decade? Why the hell aren't we bombing KFC stores for double down burgers? Heart disease in a decade would kill hundreds of thousands of NZers, our justification for a war is less than one dead citizen per year?

Our presence and continued interference in Afghanistan is creating the terrorism, we have become the tyranny we are claiming to fight.

The worst bit about ANZAC Day is putting up with all the shire volk bleat that it should replace Waitangi Day as our National Holiday.

Yawn, yes that will solve all our disharmony. Clowns. Denial isn't nationhood.

The Gunner's Lament

A Maori gunner lay dying
In a paddyfield north of Saigon,
And he said to his pakeha cobber,
"I reckon I've had it, man!

'And if I could fly like a bird
To my old granny's whare
A truck and a winch would never drag
Me back to the Army.

'A coat and a cap and a well-paid job
Looked better than shovelling metal,
And they told me that Te Rauparaha
Would have fought in the Vietnam battle.

'On my last leave the town swung round
Like a bucket full of eels.
The girls liked the uniform
And I liked the girls.

'Like a bullock to the abattoirs
In the name of liberty
They flew me with a hangover
Across the Tasman Sea,

'And what I found in Vietnam
Was mud and blood and fire,
With the Yanks and the Reds taking turns
At murdering the poor.

'And I saw the reason for it
In a Viet Cong's blazing eyes
We fought for the crops of kumara
And they are fighting for the rice.

'So go tell my sweetheart
To get another boy
Who'll cuddle her and marry her
And laugh when the bugles blow,

'And tell my youngest brother
He can have my shotgun
To fire at the ducks on the big lagoon,
But not to aim it at a man,

'And tell my granny to wear black
And carry a willow leaf,
Because the kid she kept from the cold
Has eaten a dead man's loaf.

'And go and tell Keith Holyoake
Sitting in Wellington,
However long he scrubs his hands
He'll never get them clean.'

James K Baxter


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Rising lid

Excellent blog post by Will de Cleene - as an insider to teenage gambling and to the inside of Sky City Auckland. I find myself largely in agreement with the idea that casinos per se are acceptable as hospitality venues, but as long as they target people who can't afford it they will always be regarded as causing more social harm than social good (of the business and employment they create).

Auckland, for example back in the 90s before it opened, really did lack the type of 24/7 entertainment destination the city should have had. As a sort of anchor tenant for the CBD, Sky City has functioned as part of a greater urban revitalisation that began in the mid 1990s. That history has been tarnished somewhat by the inevitable social corollary of a large casino - all around the Sky City block are now pawn shops and porn shops (brothels).

Amid the crony capitalist antics of the Tourism Minister/PM regarding offering Sky City a sweetheart deal over a convention centre for hundreds more pokie machines I am reminded of how Sky City came to be. The fact is the entire process was one bit of crony capitalist back-scratching, shoulder-tapping after another at all points of the governmental compass.

Brierley Investments started off with a casino plan featuring a gawdawful generic tower thing (exactly what we have now) for a site at the top end of Symonds St at the top of Grafton Gulley. That was the early 90s. But that site was too far away from the CBD, so Brierley's did a deal with the Council (might have been both Auckland City and the Regional Council) to swap that block with an inner city block owned by local government that was designated for a bus terminal (the current site). That is why a bus terminal is part of the complex. That original site swap deal was just the first private-public partnership-type arrangement. That was the start. Sky City donations to political parties and candidates continues to this day and ensures the wheels keep spinning in their favour. They gave the church across the road enough for a new roof in the hope that would placate them - and I haven't heard or seen any anti-casino rhetoric from St Matthews of late. The House will always win it seems.

So nothing much has changed over the years: Sky City still has a casino gambling monopoly in Auckland, local and central government are being bought off fairly cheaply by the company, the casino wants to add more and more slots, and the punters keep pumping their dough into them...

The Union Report online now: Helen Kelly & Garry Parsloe

Topics are Issue 1: What is driving the conflict at the Ports of Auckland, where is the middle ground and how many dirty tricks does PoAL need to play?

Issue 2: AFFCO says they want the Union out of their industry, will these tactics enshrine a low wage economy and if our primary industries can't provide decent wages, what industry can?

Issue 3: This Saturday is International Worker's memorial Day and 6 months since the death of Charanpreet Dhaliwal on a Fulton Hogan worksite. Is a de-unionized workforce a safe workforce?

- Red Flag Social Club commemorates Workers Memorial Day 27th April, 5.30pm Trades Hall, 149 Great North Road, Grey Lynn. Live music from 'Bad Muriel' and Paul Brown.

- STOP The Cuts to Newtown Union Health Service, 5.30pm Thurs 3rd May 14 Daniell St. St. Anne’s School Hall, Newtown

- May Day concert 2012, 5th May, 7.30pm @ Regent on Broadway, Palmerston North. A great night of solidarity with music, dance, song and performance art. Judges for may Day Cup will be Peter Conway & Iain Lees-Galloway

- International Nurses Day on Saturday 12 May. The NZ Nurses Organization and Service Food Workers Union are running a postcard campaign aimed at Oceania CEO Guy Eady to gain the money the Government have earmarked for aged care.

- Starting May 21st the PPTA in co-ordination with Massey University are running a series of public meetings on Charter Schools

- May Day Dinner - “Grand Century” Tuesday May 1st

- and this Friday is a quiz fundraiser for locked at AFFCO workers at Education House in Wellington and of course this Saturday the hikoi against selling off Aotearoa marches in Auckland at 3pm.

The Union Report plays 8pm Monday Triangle TV and simulcast on scoop.co.nz

Facebook/TheUnionReport Twitter/CitizenBomber

The hikoi against asset sales begins today

Aotearoa Not for Sale Hikoi begins today

A two-week long hikoi protesting against asset sales, privatisation, overseas land sales and the Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) will begin today in Cape Reinga.

The ‘Aotearoa is Not For Sale’ hikoi aims to reach Wellington on Friday, May 4, after stopping in several North Island towns.

Its progress through Auckland on Saturday will coincide with a public demonstration at Britomart on Queen St, which organisers expect over 10,000 people to attend.
The hikoi, which is open to everyone, “is about standing up and sending a clear message to the Government that we, our land, what's under our land and what's been built on our land, is not for sale”, organisers say.

The environment is once again heating up for the National government who have been floating on Key's popularity to govern despite a raft of very unpopular policies.  National's announcement of asset sales put their relationship with the Maori Party on shaky ground, with Sharples threatening a walkout.  As the Asset Sales Bill has passed its first hurdles, Mana's Hone Harawira together with the Maori Council have put through an urgent application to the Waitangi Tribunal to block asset sales through the protection of Maori rights to water. The announcement of a two-week long hikoi that has the support of Labour, the Greens, Mana, New Zealand First, Greenpeace and many of the unions looks to increase the scrutiny and pressure on National over the asset sales, with the broad support for the movement demonstrating how National are currently stepping on the toes of groups with a broad range of interests.  The march includes concerns of environmental groups, who are alarmed at the secrecy around the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement on trade and its implications for mining, an issue which has previously brought large amounts of numbers out on the streets. If current polls have shown National's government riding high in popularity while more than 60% of New Zealanders oppose the sales, the renewed media attention and investigation that will come over the next couple of weeks could place an increasingly besieged Key government further under the microscope for policy.

That the Maori Council application to the Waitangi Tribunal is focussing on water rights signals potential further headaches for National, whose coalition partner United Future campaigned on partial privatization but not of water, rail, TVNZ or Kiwibank. Peter Dunne has recently demonstrated that he does have the teeth to occasionally step out from under National's wing with his criticisms of National's veto of the Paid Parental Leave Bill, meaning that once the discussion reaches the water privatization provisions allowed for in Rodney Hide's changes to the Local Government Act 2002, National may have quite the fight on their hands with not one but two coalition partners refusing to play ball. Given the difficulty for any government in achieving three terms in New Zealand, this could spell the end for any hopes of an additional term in power. Not only does it diminish National's argument over asset sales which focusses on establishing opposition as a kind of Luddite veto, it will show up the schism in just how different Act and National are ideologically than the other elected parties.

Despite National's strong record in its ability to play hardball with other parties citing the economy as an excuse for their approach to policy, most recently seen in their abandonment of their Memorandum of Understanding with the Greens, there are signs that this is beginning to wear thin. No more so was this evident when English was under fire from Holmes over the Paid Parental Leave Bill, where finally we began to see policy decisions being placed in a matrix outside that shifted from the current mantra of any spending is bad to one where commentators were increasingly positioning government spending as a balance between policies.  In an environment in which the pillars of National's successful campaign against Goff's number flubbers are beginning to look less sturdy (most notably in the Ministry of Economic Development doubting the job creation figures of 170,000 jobs and English's concession that the $5-7 billion generated by asset sales was a figure drawn out of thin air), it is clear that the political climate is heating up and National are potentially in for a larger fight than they previously anticipated. Unfortunately the chances of the Prime Minister being able to ignore the hikoi by meeting a sheep instead are not high this time. Unlike previous hikoi, this is one that has a broad base of political support.

The Aotearoa is Not For Sale hikoi reaches Britomart, Auckland on Saturday 28 April at 3pm.

If it's not a SkyCity conspiracy Mr Key, what is it?

Key shrugs off casino claims as conspiracy
Allegations over his involvement in a deal with SkyCity casinos are a "wild conspiracy", Prime Minister John Key says.

Oh, it's not a conspiracy Mr Key? The Economic Development Ministry is told by Key to stop a business case for a Convention Centre and Key has a private dinner with SkyCity who tell their shareholders they have high level Cabinet influences and after SkyCity are asked to bid Cabinet Ministers rule out a higher gambling levy for SkyCity...

Ministers said no to higher gambling levy for SkyCity
Cabinet ministers overruled expert advice which would have placed a $500,000 greater burden on SkyCity each year for treating problem gambling. The decision was made shortly after SkyCity was asked to bid for the contract to build the National Convention Centre.

...that's all one great big coincidence is it?

If only the mainstream media had leapt upon this when the MANA Party first discussed it last year.

The desperate justifications why we need to re-write law to allow SkyCity to have more pokie machines (which will be placed in the only redeeming feature of SkyCity - their theatre) are made worse by having to listen to this twaddle from Key.

It's a dirty smelly deal that shows Key understands the cost and doesn't comprehend the value. I'm so deprived of political vision by our leaders that I have to rely on Kiwi Bank adverts to make me feel proud of being a NZer.

PS - Can whoever writes the Kiwi Bank adverts start writing David Shearer's speeches? PLEASE!


Radio NZs double standards

I love how I can get banned for life on Radio NZ for criticizing the Prime Minister, yet Jock Anderson can slag off the entire Australian ANZAC Army and nothing???



landline opinion polls manipulate public opinion, not represent it

The 'spiral of silence' is a style of media theory that suggests constant propaganda that a party is in majority ends up desensitizes and intimidates a voter into not voicing opposition. The mainstream media spent 3 years telling NZers that John Key had over 50% and that resulted in the lowest voter turn out in 120 years, not content with that shocker, the mainstream media are starting their 'everyone loves John Key' campaign early with more flawed landline polls.

How flawed are these landline polls? When I hosted the iPredict election show we had the Roy Morgan representative on the show and as you can see, she had no answers to the criticisms that her landline polls use a methodology that bias the results.

How flawed are these landline polls? As Brian Rudman pointed out...

The last household Census in 2006 highlights that the worst affected areas coincide with significant clusters of state housing.

The Pt England Census block topped the poll in Auckland with 105 households having no access to telecommunications systems of any sort. Close behind came Pukekohe North (99), Clendon South (93), Otahuhu West (87), Harania East (87), Papakura East (81), Otara East (78), and on goes the list through the lower socio-economic areas.

So the poor are left out of these polls leaving flawed results and entrenching the apathy that saw our democracy so weakened to its lowest participation in 2011.

These opinion polls manipulate public opinion, not represent it.


Monday, April 23, 2012

Key's weak defense of Casino scam

I love how the Government defend their grubby Casino deal by claiming the counter is to shut down the entire gambling industry - who says that? It's like amputating an arm because your gloves don't fit!

No one is calling for the prohibition of gambling, why would any NZer support the immediate under grounding of gambling so that organized crime could take those billions? We accept gambling but control it by tight regulation, the Governments claim that the counter to what they plan is the immediate shut down of the entire industry is a straw man argument that has no relevance to this debate.

People want gambling harm minimized but Key wants to expand it, that's the issue.

I hate how I'm so deprived of political vision by our leaders that I have to rely on kiwi bank adverts to make me feel proud of being a New Zealander.


Australian Speaker headline I'd love to see

Slipper given the boot after Austalian speaker gets caught with Staffer's foot in his mouth. Priceless.


Jonathan Coleman came back from Afghanistan and all he got us were translators?

Afghan interpreters want asylum in NZ - report
Afghans working with Kiwi troops in Afghanistan have asked the Defence Minister for help in seeking asylum to New Zealand, fearing they will be killed once international forces pull out of the country, according to a report.

The workers spoke to One News in Afghanistan's Bamiyan province after a meeting between an Afghan commander and Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman.

The Afghan interpreter said as soon as international forces left his future would be "very dark".

"Our faces are very familiar to most of the people. As soon as international forces leave, our future will be very, very dark and it's most likely we are going to be killed," the man said.

A group had approached the minister after the meeting asking for help.

Let me get this straight. After a decade of propping up a corrupt narco state, arresting civilians and handing them over to known torture units and having the Defence force manipulate the mainstream media into embedded acquiescence our legacy from this war on terror will be refugees who can be identified because of our interaction with them?

Is this a joke?

Every month of this year the US have had to apologize for desecrating corpses, holy books or murderous soldiers going berserk. Labour entered this fiasco to keep America pacified where as National sent them back to dump any pretense of an independent foreign policy, this has bugger all to do with freedom or democracy and that our presence is simply generating refugees should be the final cringe that demands an exit from this pointless war now.

There is no military solution in Afghanistan.


The Union Report - 8pm tonight on Triangle TV and live streamed scoop.co.nz

The Union Report - starts tonight 8pm:

In a turbulent year of lock outs between Unions and employers, Triangle TV is proud to announce “The Union Report”, a new current affairs show that looks at the news week through the lens of industrial relations.

Hosted by blogger and controversial broadcaster Martyn Bradbury, the show will bring together dispute insiders, Union leaders and political commentators and politicians to provide an alternative analysis to traditional mainstream media coverage.

Council of Trade Union President Helen Kelly, commentators Chris Trotter and Mike Williams will be joined by a changing panel of guests from EPMU, PSA, NZNO, Unite, First Union, SFWU, MUNZ, PPTA and CTU affiliates to discuss the weeks industrial activity from the worker’s perspective

Martyn 'Bomber' Bradbury hosts the NZ on Air funded 'Citizen A' on Triangle TV that reviews the week with bloggers. He hosted the iPredict Election Show which predicted the election result closer than any other news agency and had the show described by Political Scientist Bryce Edwards as "intelligent and entertaining".

The Union Report will play 8pm Monday on Triangle TV and simulcast on scoop.co.nz. It will also be loaded onto YouTube and available on Facebook and twitter.

TONIGHT: CTU President Helen Kelly and MUNZ President Garry Parsloe.

Facebook/TheUnionReport Twitter/CitizenBomber

Sunday, April 22, 2012

q+a and The Nation review

The Nation
Excellent piece with Garner and James discussing how grubby the casino deal is. Increasingly this interview between Duncan and Colin is the best touch base wrap up of weekly current affairs.

Rachel Smalley has made TV3's weekday breakfast news far more palatable than the abomination Sun Rise was. She is hard hitting and when focused can provide actual answers out of the interviews. TV3 should strengthen her rather than turn to Guyon.

How Jane Cliften was decided as the left wing response with Brian gone is a little beyond me. The flabby jowl of middle class baby boomer pretension that the NZ Listener now represents hardly gives Jane the credentials to step in for the mighty Brian Edwards.

Nice to see there is life after Murray McCully though.
Is Holmes annoyed that Mike Hoskings has the gold vip card to Sky City? Because his prissy defense of sky city is a little suspicious isn't it? Is Holmes a VIP Sky City mate?

Opening monologue, Damien Christy is on form. Funny as always. Paul's pace was so off it made Fisk's drunk rant last month seem pithy. How does Damien manage to write for him? Christy deserves a merit of order for NZ literature.

Panel is that awful woman they've replaced Jon Johansson with (why isn't she described as 'National Party wannabe' rather than political analyst?), a slim looking Jim Anderton and Heather Roy (the least crazy former ACT MP)

You know things are bad when Steven Joyce has to front on q+a to defend this casino nightmare. When our first super Ministry tzar has to put off Sunday breakfast to explain why his grubby casino deal isn't whoring off our domestic laws for corporate gain, you know it's not a good week for the Government.

Key honestly seems utterly bewildered by all the fuss, he sees he's made a deal and doesn't understand the negative attention.

Greg Boyd does an amazing job of grilling Joyce, his bullshit answers trying to defend gambling and the fact his Government have actively cut a deal with Sky look stark against the grey spin he's desperately trying to weave. Watching Joyce slap down Goldman Sachs shows how much on the ropes his argument is.

Watching Heather so cleverly pimp for the pub gambling lobby shows how a pro does it. Constantly pointing out that pub charity's return 35% to the community over Sky's 2.5% is genius, (that explains who is funding a lot of this attack on the Governments deal), Jim says we should build the convention center ourselves and Clare Robinson says how wonderful John Key is.

Here is the issue, Key cuts a deal that won't cost the Government anything to build a convention center - he sees no value other than cost - FINALLY Key's greatest strength becomes his greatest weakness. Key was the un-politician, a person supposedly disconnected with the ideologies of yesterday, that was his strength. His ability to wheel and deal inspired vacant optimism, but his total lack of political chip on his shoulder has allowed him to wander into a political minefield with no warning because he doesn't understand the political values on display.

Put bluntly, values matter in politics, it's what inspires people to vote every 3 years. Key's wide eyed routine doesn't exempt him from the political gravity now pulling him down, he made a cost deal without comprehending the full political fallout and it's starting to show.

Brownlee and Boyd rip pieces out of each other over the Christchurch rebuild. Gerry comes out swinging, attacking Greg for describing the rebuild as 'stalling', Greg shrugs off the attack and bounces back demanding to know why a new department has been set up if the rebuild hasn't stalled.

Watching Joyce and Brownlee both attacking so heavily shows how much stress the government must be under. They are spooked and the only thing that spooks Ministers like Brownlee and Joyce is internal polling, they must have picked up a heavy drop and are in full scale damage control.

Greg Boyd proved he could take the heat and demand answers - public broadcasting at it's best.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Will Shearer go this weekend or next month?

Phil Goff infamously once claimed to having a bbq with friends when speculation of a leadership coup against Helen Clark was rumored. Ever since that, Goff's bbq has become an ubiquitous symbol for Labour Party internal machinations. The growing question has been when would the bbq get lit on Shearer's leadership, the answer may be much sooner than later.

The blood is in the water, and the odds are moving on iPredict, the Shearer experiment isn't working, not because of lackluster poll ratings, those landline polls are as flawed as ever, it's the absolute lack of strategic direction beyond stepping to the right and hoping for the best. The Pagani concoction of a tough welfare stance and distance from labour disputes isn't working. The distaste such tactics leave in the mouths of rank and file Labour Party voters suggests they won't tolerate the level of idealogical deviation some of Shearer's advisers have suggested without a mass exodus to the Greens.

Why the Labour Coven ever thought picking a leader gift wrapped for them by David Farrar was going to be a roaring success is above my pay scale, but the actions of the right of the Party in cementing Shearer into the leadership over Cunliffe has left them with no other options if push comes to shove.

The first ripple was Nash stepping down and with Grant Robertson's man, Alistair Cameron, lined up as the new Chief of Staff, the first step towards the inevitable is now forming.

So what's the possible line up? Grant Robertson as leader? Jacinda Ardern as Deputy? Cunliffe to Finance and Shearer to education?

The National Party has been in self mutilation mode since the year began, Shearer simply hasn't managed to maximize this because he's off roaming the Provinces endlessly navel gazing why Labour lost.

Conventional wisdom was that Labour would have waited until Feb next year to replace Shearer if the momentum still remained limp, but with the ascension of Alistair Cameron, that bbq could get fired up well before then. Shearer can still all bring this together if he showed the capability but the longer the tensions stand and the lack of momentum mounts, the more sure a leadership challenge will become.


Beijing agree to rename space program as part of Crafar deal

Key to sell Crafar farms to China announcement pending. The wheeler-dealer does it again, just days after China visited us to put the hard word on, Mr swish deal maker has cut them a sweet heart deal they'll love. Part of the self-advised deal is Beijing agreeing to rename their space program after John Key's son, Max.

National see only cost and no value. They are selling NZ productive farm land off to China, they are privatizing our assets, selling laws off to Warner Bros, MediaWorks and Sky City.

When it comes to domestic welfare, this Government slashes and burns beneficiaries with all the compassion of napalm on cancer, but when it comes to corporate welfare, this Government can't write cheques fast enough.

This is a Government for the 1%, by the 1%, in the interests of the 1% voted in by a delusional 47% of the voting electorate. The political saying goes that Labour is good for the economy, National is good for the corporations. If you're not angry yet, you're not paying attention.

NZ under National, where everybody gets a bargain (as long as you're John's mate)


Warner Bros announce new film in NZ starring John Key

We changed our law for Warner Bros and we'll do it again for Sky City. From 'One law to rule them all. One law to find them. One law based on crony capitalism and who is mates with John Key and in the darkness bind them' to suave self-advising wheeler dealers, Warner Bros and Sky City join forces to present a project so astounding in its self-advised audacity, it has to be seen to be believed.

The country that writes laws for a wink and nudge brings the latest in blockbuster entertainment, John Key in Casino Key.

007 never looked so double oh corrupt.


Key says he 'advised himself' over Casino deal???

Stop on convention centre work ordered
Prime Minister John Key ordered officials to stop work on plans for a national convention centre after Sky City indicated it might extend its existing facility, Cabinet papers reveal.

The papers have emerged as Key today said he "advised himself" to chase Sky City for a deal to build a new national convention centre in exchange for changes to gambling laws.

I'm sorry, what did the Prime Minister say he did there? John Key says 'he advised himself' over sky city casino expansion??? Is this intellectual masturbation masquerading as political leadership? How the bloody hell does he 'advise himself'? He ordered officials to stop plans for a convention center when he heard Sky was extending theirs and has a quiet dinner with Sky City and cuts a deal when Sky City are telling shareholders that they have new cabinet level influences?

Key says he 'advised himself' over the sky city deal??? He seems to want to give this deal all the sanctity of a breast self examination rather than the inner machinations of public policy. Political wankery never sounded so self-deluded

How filthy must this self advised deal get? This has become a screaming fiasco and no one in the National Party seems to have any sense of the sheer disgust from most members of the public at this grubby little scam.

For a political leader who had such a charmed sense of flawlessly side stepping issues in his first term to look so club footed and self mutilated now is fascinating. Key looked this way when he was trying to defend police action in the tea pot tape. There he tried to claim the tea pot tape amounted to the phone hacking of murdered families, claimed it could lead to more youth suicide if they were published, tried to suggest the police had plenty of time to investigate his compliant because crime rates had fallen and ridiculously ended that bizarre chapter of audacity by stating he had stood up for the principle of not being secretly taped after he had retrospectively expanded police powers to do exactly that.

The same sense of incredulity that wafted over the tea tapes has now attached itself to this shameful deal, watching our PM pimp for Sky City and defend the bloody gambling industry is jaw dropping. National Party hubris has been insulated because of flawed landline polls, they have allowed themselves to be lulled into a false sense of complacency and a deluded self belief that they are untouchable.

Watching National trade their free market doctrine for a command economy model that hands out party favors with all the fervor of the Communist Party is an irony too rich to ignore.


Citizen A online NOW - Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning

Issue 1 - What doesn't John Key get about the public disgust over giving Sky City more pokie machines?

Issue 2 - Does the Beast of Blenheim justify civil detention for future crimes and will reducing parole hearings create counter productive outcomes?

Issue 3 - How does leaking personal worker details to right wing bloggers help build safer work environments? Does the Ports of Auckland have some answering to do?

Citizen A broadcasts 7pm Thursday Triangle TV


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Key's shoulder tap to crony capitalism a king hit to process, public interest

It was all my idea?

NZ Herald:
SkyCity's shareholders were told of close ties to "high ranking" Cabinet ministers five days before Prime Minister John Key invited the company to bid to build the new national convention centre.

SkyCity chairman Rod McGeoch said the access was enabling the company to change the way it was seen by "key influencers".

The claim emerged as the Government comes under intense pressure over its relationship with the company after Mr Key admitted yesterday it was his idea to have SkyCity build the $350 million national convention centre.

Sounds like the sort of shit that used to go down in Australia. But it's not corruption if the government ministers themselves unilaterally initiate the public-private partnership? Well... they claim they did.

Last night Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce corrected a previous statement that he had not met SkyCity officials for five months.

A spokeswoman for Mr Joyce, whose ministry officials are negotiating the deal, said he had met Mr McGeoch last Friday at the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum in Sydney.

"They talked briefly about the national convention centre proposal," she said.

This is precisely the Statist 'pick-a-winner' policy of protection and regulation that the National Party traditionally rails against most dogmatically, as an article of faith. At least, they do when in opposition - now they are in government it turns out these evils are "an important part of building that tourism model."

Parliamentary records show Mr Key had dinner with the SkyCity board on November 4, 2009 - five days after Mr McGeoch's speech at the annual meeting.

Mr Key filed a written response to a Green Party parliamentary question saying they discussed the convention centre and board members raised issues over gambling law.

Yesterday, Mr Key said his approach was not a "shoulder-tap".

He said SkyCity was the only party prepared to fully pay for the convention centre and he was comfortable if the deal led to an increase in the number of poker machines the company was allowed.

"It's largely the issue of a piece of infrastructure for tourism and it's an important part of building that tourism model."

Well if it wasn't a shoulder tap then what was it? A mutual back scratch? A back massage? or maybe a *special* massage? I'm picking with the favours that Sky City does for the Tory election campaigns it's more like a very, very ***special*** massage... long time.

I recall in the term of the previous Labour ministry that Ross Armstrong - then Chairman of TVNZ amongst other roles - had to resign after implying to a corporation it would have an inside running on a public-private partnership deal the government was working on. Armstrong had to go as he had crossed the line and Clark acted promptly to remove the implication that her government tolerated a wink-and-nod culture of influence peddling; but what happens when it is the PM themselves cooking it up? Just business? Just getting it done and making the calls that need to made? It didn't wash with senior officials like Armstrong, why should it wash with the PM? Aren't the principles similar enough here?

Does he have the authority, free of Cabinet, to arrange to allocate these millions of dollars in government funding? Does he think he's still a trader on the floor, with personal authority delegated to wager large amounts on bets where he reckons he's the House?

He has conflated the public interest with Sky City's private corporate interests in a way which both undercuts the viability of Auckland's other competing venues and which will contribute inevitably to the encouragement of irresponsible gambling, ie. the licencing of hundreds more pokie machines. Any trade-offs mooted have no counteracting off-set for the losses to the other venues or to mitigate the peculiar social harm that pokie machines represent.

NZ social media Klout top 50 influencers - Gareth Hughes most influential on line politician

Hey I'm ranked ten in NZ social media Klout top 50 influencers, one behind John Key the Prime Minister. Coming tenth has never felt so rewarding. Whale oil who is so quick to bleat about his puffed up site stats is ranked 55.

Measuring online influence is a new way of ranking those who are operating online, Klout measures what influence your social media generates amongst those following you, Gareth Hughes has the highest ranking of any NZ politician at 8, one ahead of Key. The Greens understand the new social media world better than any other political party in the country and his ranking above Key proves this.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cops bash MANA protestors at Glenn Innes eviction protest

Last night, with no media presence whatsoever, Police Officers used violent tactics against John Minto, MANA activists and protestors against the eviction and privatization of state houses in Glenn Innes. Four were arrested, many more assaulted and a local housing leader was badly wounded in the head and left lying on the ground in a seizure.

Socialist Aotearoa has the eye witness reports.

The call has gone out to all activists and media to assemble for the protest tonight. If the Police think they can get away with beating protestors up while Media aren't there, let's show them how ill founded that notion is tonight.

From 5.30pm tonight at the Glenn Innes Library, Line Road, Glenn Innes, MANA Party leader Hone Harawira will be present to attend another night of protest against this privatization of state homes and send a message to the Police that we are watching their behavior.


Putea v Whenua

Poor old Ngati Tama.

NZ Herald:
A Taranaki iwi has lost almost $20 million, wiping the total value of its $14.5 million 2003 Treaty of Waitangi settlement, as its leaders go to ground following the announcement.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Christopher Finlayson labelled the situation "very sad indeed" but expressed confidence in the wider strength of iwi organisations' post-settlement bodies to manage their assets.
It reportedly invested $12.5 million in a failed software company, My Virtual Home, which is in liquidation.

Shithouse. Virtual is an apt description - if they had bought an actual, real house for that sum it would probably be worth more now than it did then.

The problem with Finlayson's dismissal of any responsibility by the government for what happens after a settlement is that it does not absolve the Crown for having set up (via their "red book" settlement template rules etc.) the structure in the first place, and dictating (it can never really be a proper 'negotiation' because the parties are utterly unequal in resourcing, the government itself largely pre-determines the outcome and there is no independent arbitration or mediation) what assets are returned.

NZ Herald:
Mr Finlayson said iwi would never be bailed out for losses made after settlement. Asked if there was enough done to ensure that iwi had strong post-settlement arrangements, the minister said he believed there was.

"Yes, the Crown has a well-established approach ... that balances the Crown's responsibility to make sure the iwi are in a position to manage the settlement assets against the need for iwi to plot their own destiny.

"Any ongoing involvement of the Crown in iwi decision-making is a return to a very paternalistic period in our past. It also undermines the concept of full and final settlement by suggesting the Crown has an on-going role as guarantor."

What the Iwi want - like every tribe - is the return of their land. Simple. Not just a tiny bit here and a little slither there for "cultural redress", but all of it that was wrongly taken. Ngati Tama's total "commercial redress" under their settlement legislation for example is only a paltry 2.6 ha!

If the choice was money or land, it would be the whenua each and every time. The NZ government refuses to do this for several reasons - all of which, perhaps unsurprisingly given the colonial situation, resolve directly to racism.

The bald fact is that during the course of just one afternoon the Finance Minister decided to bail out the (almost exclusively) Pakeha investors and other classes of South Canterbury Finance stakeholders north of a billion dollars based on contracts the Treasury knew they should never have signed. The total settlements to Iwi Maori for the last 150 odd years of institutional racism, war, killings, confiscation, theft, corruption and discrimination - that have taken decades to 'negotiate' in some cases - is still less that that figure.

There can be no question that these post 1992 Treaty settlements are stich-ups for this generation as much as the previous settlements (like the 1920s Sim Commission and the ones during and after WW2) were deals done - often for political motives - to placate that generation; to buy off, cheaply, another cohort of dispossessed Maori. Each settlement (so far as I've seen) gives the right, for example, to the Crown to divvy up land in the settlement area to other tribes! How is a continued confiscation mechanism that undermines the Mana Whenua of a tribe just and fair? The NZ government's insistance on a "full and final" legal fiction is, to borrow a phrase, a simple nullity.

The issue of insufficient redress negating notions of "full and final" are contained in the Ngati Tama legislation. Section 6:
The Crown acknowledges that despite previous efforts made in the twentieth century, including those of the Sim Commission, it has failed to deal in an appropriate way with the grievances of Ngati Tama. In particular, the payments made under the Taranaki Maori Claims Settlement Act 1944 did not sufficiently address the grievances of Ngati Tama.

And by the same rationale who is to say what was agreed in this generation will not also be viewed as incomplete by the next? They - like everyone else - would far rather prefer the land back.

By refusing to return any substantial blocks of land and making claimant groups take the money the government is setting the scene for investment failure such as what has occured with Ngati Tama. Smaller Iwi especially cannot be expected to have robust accountability mechanisms and the depth of acumen that others have - and the government, surely, has a duty to ensure they are able to manage that settlement fund adequately. Land on the other hand, when put into Maori title, does have some safeguards (even if it is not total as the Matauri X case showed).

If South Canterbury bloody Finance (against all reasonable advice) can partake in a Crown guarantee scheme to protect their investments then why can't an Iwi forced to take the money by the Crown be guaranteed in some form?

Finlayson may want the government's hands to remain clean, but every settlement invloves reciprocity and a continued relationship.