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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Shane Jones must jump ship for Labour

Now the investigation is in motion, the gravity of inevitability is crushing down on Shane Jones. What will be revealed once all the rocks are over turned is not going to be pretty and political reputations are going to be melted.

Jones is already actively looking for a job and should consider stepping down from Labour altogether to prevent the backlash from engulfing the Party.

I just can't see how there will be a pretty ending to this with the rumors and allegations flying thick and fast behind the scenes. Labour Party strategists must be aware it's only a matter of time before the right wing attack blogs get a smell of what is being alleged.

Carol Beaumont (not Carmel) is the next on the list which changes the math re leadership support but that is simply a risk that must be taken.

Political amputation is the best option.


Referendum negativity

Someone wanted to sign the petition the other day and I had problems explaining the wording:

Do you support the Government selling up to 49% of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand?

I agreed with them that the wording asks the person who supports keeping assets to cast a negative vote against the question and that this is counter-intuitive. This person was not going to sign until they understood - and I don't blame them for seeking clarification - after all the logo says "keep our assets" but the question is termed as supporting the sale.  This wording is far from ideal and I'm surprised it was put this way. Perhaps there was an element of cynicism that a right winger supporting privatisation would also vote 'No' because they want more than 49% sold? For whatever reason, and despite the exemplary brevity, the text is lacking.

If you want people to support something you would be better off asking them to vote positively in favour of the proposition rather than against it.  There must be reasons for the wording (like the difficulty of adequately representing the status of the already partially privatised and publicly listed Air NZ on the same basis as the wholly-owned state companies), but it looks like a basic error to have gone negative.

I suggest the following wording may improve the question:

Do you support the Government keeping full ownership of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy and retaining all the Government held shareholding in Air New Zealand?

That's certainly more positive and a bit clearer than confusing people by mentioning percentages and defining the question purely in terms of National's specific programme (which people may not know and do not need to know to exercise an opinion).

And as for whingeing from the right about the use of parliamentary service funding for the referendum: considering some of the campaign rorts that are acceptable under the parliamentary service rules the advocacy for a democratic measure like a petition for a referendum does not appear inconsistent with that sort of funding.

Keep Our Assets Facebook page.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Syria na

Muzza doesn't have a moral compass as such, it's more like an ethical merry-go-round. He'll get on whatever wooden horse he's told to by his mates - the ones who operate the show.

So with this bloody insurrection in Syria, for example, the NZ Foreign Minister will go along with the bigger Western nations - in this case Aussie - in kicking out the diplomats. This seems laudable and just given the reported regime massacre of civilians, including children, but why have they waited so long? What about the (estimated) 10,000+ killed up to that point? Power politics.

The same sort of politics that kept Muzza schtum when the Israelis invaded and bombarded Gaza with chemical weapons and killed over a thousand. The result of that Isreali aggression was that his government soon afterwards welcomed the opening of an Israeli Embassy in Wellington! Two very different sets of values and outcomes dependent on whether or not that Middle Eastern regime is backed by the US or not. Israel is - to the point of being the 51st State, Syria is not - to the point of being designated evil.

The gloves are coming off now the UN has monitors collecting hard evidence of Assad's hostility and oppression. Unfortunately various regimes through history - and many in the Middle East - have gone on despite the majority of a country being occupied by "rebels".  As long as the regime retains solid core support from their own tribes, the party and the military/security leadership it may be possible for them to ride it out and re-take the areas in rebellion. At this point external pressure may tilt the balance towards the rebels and this is what is hoped from this latest round of diplomatic activity. The Western countries are hoping Russia and China will stop running interference for Assad and this latest move will edge that one step closer.

NZ Herald:

New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has backed Australia's decision to expel a Syrian diplomat who was also accredited to New Zealand.
At least nine countries around the world have moved to expel Syrian diplomats over the "hideous and brutal" massacre in Houla of more than 100 people.
The Syrian charge d'affairs in Australia Jawdat Ali - who is also accredited to New Zealand - was notified of the decision to expel him and one other diplomat a day after he was called in to meet with officials over the killings.
Mr MrCully said he had discussed the decision with his Australian counterpart Bob Carr.
He said New Zealand has been a strong supporter of international action to resolve the crisis, providing six New Zealand Defence Force personnel to the UN Supervision Mission in Syria.
Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr told journalists yesterday said the expulsion was "the most effective way we've got of sending a message of revulsion to the Syrian government".

NZ is participating in a constructive way and although the monitoring seems hopeless and ineffective right now their presence and the information they are verifying is potentially very potent.

Since his comments, the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands have also expelled their Syrian envoys.
Mr Carr said the international response could include referrals to the International Criminal Court and imposing UN sanctions such as an arms embargo as well as financial and travel restrictions on identified individuals.
UN-Arab envoy Annan, who will seek to salvage his battered Syrian peace plan during "frank'' talks with Assad, called the massacre in the central town "an appalling moment with profound consequences.''
The former UN chief said those responsible must be held to account, and urged "everyone with a gun'' to abide by his six-point blueprint to help end 15 months of bloodshed.

Problem is for Annan is that it isn't as easy or simple as just a cease-fire. As soon as the regime's forces withdraw or stop firing (if they could be trusted to do so), the rebels - without such orgainsed discipline - will inevitably breach and thus give an excuse for a continuation of the regime's onslaught. It seems deadlocked at this point, however so was Libya.

Cunliffe on Fire!

Sweet David Lange, this is the kind of fire in the belly that wakes up the nearly one million NZers who were uninspired to vote last year...

Budget Debate 2012 - Part 33


What's good for the goose isn't good for the Cabinet Minister

Well, well, well, what do we have here - while the Government are happy for us plebs to send our children to over crowded school rooms, they won't be sending theirs...

Ministers' kids skip big classes
Nearly half of the Government's Cabinet ministers send or have sent their children to elite schools which are unlikely to feel the effects of changes to classroom sizes.

A Herald survey of ministers found that at least seven of the sixteen Cabinet ministers with school-aged children sent all or some of their children to private schools. Four ministers refused to say where their children attended or could not respond, and five ministers said they had enrolled their kids in state schools.

...so they benefit most from their tax cuts and they don't have to feel the impact of cost cutting education? When are the sleepy hobbits of NZ going to realize they've elected a feudal elite who have a 'let them eat cake while they teach in over crowded class rooms' mentality.

I love how the Government think announcing that schools will only lose 2 teachers each is a great come back!

This is a Government for the rich, by the rich, in the interests of the rich.

If you're not angry yet at this Government, you haven't been paying attention.


Raising Retirement: The intergenerational theft of baby boomers

Bryce Edwards puts together a devastating critique of how those bloody baby boomers have robbed the public services they are now demanding we pay as their charmed existence continues into their dear bloody golden retirement...

If you were born in the 1950s you would have grown up as New Zealand's economy boomed, with almost zero unemployment. If your family couldn't afford a decent private rental there were literally entire suburbs of state houses built and available at low rent. These were not the multi-story blocks that later tenants had to endure, but roomy, well-built (and now much sought after) houses with quarter acre sections. If you wanted to own your own house but didn't have the deposit then your universal family benefit could be capitalised and there were subsidised housing corporation loans to make sure the mortgage payment weren't too onerous. Most health and education services were, for all intents and purposes, free. School donations were actually donations - not invoiced with threats of exclusion if not paid. Tertiary education required almost no fees and living allowances were easily accessible, along with plentiful holiday employment.

Of course the top marginal tax rate was 66% in order to pay for all these benefits. But in the late 80s, just as middle class baby boomers entered their high earning years, the top tax rate was halved. That meant the next generation had to start paying and borrowing for their education, along with market rentals for state house tenants and numerous other user-pays charges.

A new generation of graduates already saddled with mortgage sized debt wasn't really a problem. They were told the need to own your own home was irrational and there were plenty of houses they could rent from the well-off baby boomers, who were furiously investing their surplus income in property, claiming deductions but still free of any tax on their substantial capital gains. House prices rocketed - which was great for growing untaxed wealth, but was a disaster for families trying to buy their first home.

Baby boomers who joined Kiwsaver early will have received the highest proportion of Government subsidy for their savings - the state's generosity is already being ratcheted down. Kiwisaver funds will be the icing on the cake for baby boomers,

...Gen Xers and Gen Y should be foaming at the bloody mouth over hoe we as a generation have been screwed by these greedy buggers, and now we have to raise the retirement entitlements as well???

I am sick of hearing that the retirement age has to raise! If Muldoon hadn't deceived the nation and if the Cullen fund hadn't been gutted, we wouldn't have the looming retirement cost issues we currently face.  Thank you National Party.

I'm against raising the retirement age for two reasons. The first is the sheer audacity of baby boomers and their outrageous intergenerational theft. Like a bloated swarm of locusts, baby boomers have benefitted from free education and social services that allowed them a free ride to property speculate Gen Xers and Gen Y out of their first home, and now these greedy boomers want to lift the retirement age just as they qualify? So Gen Xers and Gen Y have to pay for their education, pay for their kiwi saver and try to save for a deposit in another inflating property bubble while being told that they will have a longer working life as well?

What kind of sick joke is this? How come the original youth generation have sold out their early idealism for such selfish indulgence?

The second reason I'm against raising the retirement age is because raising the retirement age is anti Maori and anti worker. The average life expectancy of a wealthy pakeha comfortably sitting behind a desk may be 79, but for Maori men it's a mere 70 years and for the poor their life expectancy is only 73 years of age. Arn't these blokes the very ones who should be allowed to benefit most from a hard life of work?

Haven't they earned their retirement?

Raising the retirement age cheats Maori and the poor while giving those greedy baby boomers another free ride. Let's keep the age exactly where it is and asset test those boomers so they can finally start giving something back from the society they have so willingly taken from.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The terrible truth about TVNZ7

I hosted the Christchurch save TVNZ7 meeting last night, several hundred very angry people who were genuinely concerned with the death of public broadcasting in NZ. I will be hosting the Palmerston North meeting on the 6th June and the Hamilton meeting on the 13th.

As the former Broadcasting Minister gets caught out lying about the numbers of viewers TVNZ7 had attracted so as to justify killing it off are finally unmasked...

Coleman: Number's up for TVNZ7, regardless
Former broadcasting minister Jonathan Coleman has admitted using incorrect audience figures for the soon-to-be-defunct TVNZ7 but says the free-to-air channel was to be scrapped anyway.

Those campaigning to save TVNZ7, which is due to turn into a TV One Plus One channel next month, say the error has contributed to the demise of New Zealand's only commercial-free, public-service television station.

In April last year Dr Coleman said TVNZ7 attracted about 207,000 viewers a week, compared with the 600,000 people who tuned in nightly to One News, and the Government would not be putting new money into the channel because it was not a high priority.

He was questioned about the figure earlier this year after a report on TVNZ7's own programme Media 7 said it was wrong because Dr Coleman had divided a monthly figure by four. Audience data was only collected once a month and weekly audience numbers were much higher, it said.

At the time Dr Coleman said the figures were provided by officials or by TVNZ itself.

However, papers released under the Official Information Act show the only figure officially provided to Dr Coleman was that Channel 6 and TVNZ7 together had a monthly audience of 2.1 million.

...a new revelation revealed last night was that TVNZ purposely didn't promote TVNZ7 because they feared it would eat into their own ratings. TVNZ management went so far to smother TVNZ7, that Wallace Chapman had to put his own hand into his own pocket to buy advertising for Backbenchers so that the public had any idea the show was on.

The lies spread by National regarding ratings coupled with the attempted assassination by TVNZ management should be considered cultural treason by both of them.

The anger at these Save TVNZ7 meetings is not going away.


Gwaze verdict II

Mr Gwaze is probably the most relieved person in the country today.  He has had the most terribly dark cloud hanging over him for many years.  He could have been a vicious monster - looking at a 15+ years minimum prison sentence, or - as the jury have found - a victim himself, of unwarranted police and medical suspicion. Given Gwaze is a black Zimbabwean living in a white city like Christchurch claims of racism have been inevitable. NZ Herald:
George Gwaze has been acquitted on charges he sexually violated and murdered his 10-year-old niece for the second time.
After a four-week retrial, a jury of seven men and five women took almost 15 hours to reach their verdict at the High Court in Christchurch today.

This is an extraordinary case for many reasons. Firstly the Supreme Court set a precedent in overturning a not guilty verdict by a jury and ordering a retrial. This was done on the basis that some of the HIV evidence given by a doctor was misleading/wrong (if I recall correctly). If it was a substantial error to allow this evidence as it was put then I don't have a problem with a deviation from the double jeopardy rule as the Supreme Cout would not have done this without serious concerns with the first trial.

Secondly is the circumstances of the alleged offending - having taken place in the family home with his daughter being in the bed next to the girl (the alleged victim).  Maybe that isn't so strange - as sexual offending within households is more prevalent than "stranger" attacks - but where was he and when? I do wonder what the sequence of events was supposed to be from the prosecution position. Maybe this is where the jury also had elements of doubt in comparing the two versions of the story? Gwaze chose not to take the stand so we don't know his side of the story beyond what his lawyers have intimated.

Thirdly is the strange and tragic circumstances of the girl's HIV/AIDS infection.  It is presumed that the girl has had HIV since birth and yet no-one in the household knew of it?  Given the high rates of HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe and Gwaze's own medical (albeit veterinary) experience and knowledge I find this difficult to understand. I take it that consistent with the Immigration Service's atrocious inability and unwillingness to bother about checking anything, that the Immigration authorities did not know and did not want to know whether this girl, and indeed anyone coming from Zimbabwe, had HIV or not.  The other question is does Mr Gwaze have HIV or not? I guess that was batted away as a breach of privacy and as not holding enough probative value, but I see how it could be relevant if different strains could be identified (but I don't know how scientific that is).

While I'm glad a jury - again - has decided there isn't enough evidence to go along with the Crown assertion he is a peadophile rapist killer that has more to do with me not wanting to believe a family man in his own house could do such an unforgiveable and unthinkable act rather than purely from what the evidence indicates. [UPDATE: After hearing a bit more about the trial (second one) and the nature of the conflicting medical evidence I realise I'm not in a position to make a call on that evidence and I should just STFU and trust the 11 jurors who reached their conclusion. The facts they determined seems to be the NZ medics had no clue as to how HIV/AIDS presents and could not be dissuaded from their initial speculation. My co-blogger, Mr Bradbury, has been well vindicated for his Alabama/banjo critique of this case in terms of how the Christchurch Police operate and their perverse prosecutions and the reliance on dodgy DNA testimony from the government scientists. I think since the AIDS scare of the mid 1980s and the success of retro-viral medicines in the 90s the virus has been destigmatised to the extent that people in NZ have forgotten how deadly it is when not treated. The effects of the disease in this case sounds something akin to the Black Death. The poor girl was a bit ill - but not sick enough for anyone to consider she needed to go to the hospital or see a doctor - and then 18 hours later she's dead of a massive haemorrhagic episode so horrific the only explanation they could come up with is that she was the victim of a vicious sex attack.  That's full-blown, final stage AIDS for you. Is this disease not the most horrendous malignancy ever? How many other non-diagnosed HIV/AIDS infected people are there in this country who may be in similar danger? From this case the infected person may have as little as only one day between presentation of symptoms and death - that is terrifying.]  The whole case has been unsettling: layers of uneasiness upon layers of doubt upon layers of suspicion and then wrapped in prejudice.

The Union Report online now - with CTU Economist Dr Bill Rosenberg & SFWU's Annie Newman

Issue 1: How does a zero budget impact on workers and public servants, Bill English claims we all liked it, really?

Issue 2: What will the living wage campaign do for social justice in NZ?

and Issue 3: How does Iwi involvement in the Affco industrial dispute change the wider dialogue for labour relations in NZ?

The Union Report screens 8pm Monday Triangle TV - the home of original public broadcasting

Facebook/TheUnionReport Twitter/CitizenBomber

Monday, May 28, 2012

The draft IPCA report - when will it be released online?

So the draft IPCA report into Police action over the so called Urewera terrorism case has been completed and it is DAMNING of the Police. The Police have done all they can to stymie the report and are currently trying to desperately water it down.

This could be very damaging for the Police. After Peter Marshall's smug defense and refusal to apologize for a $14million cost, allowing the Police to use illegal spying tactics and terrorizing a community with a history of righteous grievance, his position will fall to pieces once the IPCA report is released.

Which is why they are doing all they can to strangle it right now.

But here's the question - if the IPCA allow themselves to be bullied into the Police position, will the draft report appear on line so everyone in the mainstream media can see the difference between the two?

I would hazard a guess and suggest that yes, yes it will go on line. Somewhere.

Stay tuned to Tumeke for details over the following days.


Tasers - the fried pork special (reasons not to watch Breakfast TV)

The latest images from a Taser shooting a man walking away from Police has been broadcast on Sunday on TVNZ last night and pathetically debated on Breakfast TV the next morning. Gordon Campbell does an excellent piece on why these issues of importance shouldn't be debated on a TV show as intellectually shallow as Breakfast (especially now that the excellent Corin Dann has left), and it's certainly true of the Taser debate.

Breakfast TV did a cheerleader response to the images, and fell back on 'most people contacting us agree with the Police' - wow, that's incisive isn't it? One of the many problems of NZ is our cultural obedience to authority, we love cops the way we love All Blacks. An unquestioning, slavish worship of the Police is not healthy, it's deeply unhealthy.

The Police have immense power in this country (especially with the new spying powers where the Police can break into our homes and spy without any judicial oversight) and all I ask for is that as a progressive liberal democrat we have checks and balances. Suggesting that is enough to get a lynching in parts of pro Police NZ.

So we come to the taser debate again. Yawn. The argument for tasers is that 'better you get taserd than shot' - I think we all agree with that, but the problem is the NZ cop worshiping public have a mentality that anything a cop demands is legitimate and any action justified. It isn't.

A taser can't be used for compliance, it can only be used if there is an immediate threat, the images from the taser cam (which the cops fought 2 years to stop being screened publicly - pity Breakfast TV didn't ask about that) clearly show the man walking backwards, not advancing and his hands are by his side.

The reliance on tasers is partly because the Police relaxed their physical requirements to be a Police Officer and so they impose authority through a Taser, but mostly because the public will allow cops to get away with anything.

The reality is that the debate won't change until the Police taser a middle class kid, the second that happens, there will be demands to 'do something'.

It's only Police brutality in NZ when a precious white teenager gets zapped.


Bosses astounded workers won't slave themselves for crumbs

The latest right wing meme is that lazy dirty bludgers don't want to work. It was best articulated on Citizen A a couple of weeks ago by National Party Candidate Claudette Hauiti who insinuated that unemployment was a white myth, and this meme is now gaining mainstream media traction and of course, the mainstream media are more than happy to regurgitate it without context.

The perfect example is yesterdays story that the Jobless unprepared for the 'realities' of workforce. In it, boss after boss after boss are stunned that the unemployed won't slave themselves for crumbs off their plate. Because NZ hates the dirty filthy bennie so much (bashing them is our fourth favorite cultural hobby after rugby, alcoholism and domestic violence), this latest attempt to justify why they won't take up jobs that offer slave wages is as attractive to redneck snarling talk hate radio as arming Police with semi-automatic grenade launchers.

What the story doesn't look at is how the jobless would get to the work place in the first place without a functioning public transport system for $13.50 an hour, how do the jobless pay for child support on $13.50 an hour, how do the jobless pay for petrol on $13.50 an hour, indeed why would anyone with any skill not leave NZ for Australia where they can get paid twice as much?

The legacy of our low wage economy seeded by the National Party in the 1990's with the Employment Contracts Act is not mentioned once in the news story, just the right wing meme dat dem lazy fucking bludgers won't work. The pittance being paid doesn't cover the cost of living, so who works as a slave? Apparently the bossman and NZ Herald believe slaves should be lucky.

We are rapidly becoming uglier by the day and with the economy sinking deeper because of the Great Recession, that ugliness is becoming the accepted norm without one counter perspective allowed.


When does Labour move against Shane Jones?

After doing some digging, I'm astounded by what I've heard are the allegations that are quietly laid against Shane Jones in this immigration case. The reality for Labour is that if I've heard them, it's only a matter of time before Slater and Farrar find out and go nuclear, Labour have to move to cauterize this before it hurts them.

For Shearer this provides a real opportunity to show some leadership and stamp his own authority on the party and put moves against him to rest, if he doesn't and Jones is allowed to bleed in the water, Shearer will be weakened by this to the point of coup.

Gordon Campbell is right about the immigration Minister having discretion to make calls that over ride official advice, but the Minister doing it must have a valid justification. Shane Jones will be hard pushed to create those valid justifications.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Save TVNZ7 meeting Christchurch Monday night 7pm

I will be moderating the Save TVNZ7 meeting in Christchurch tomorrow night (Monday) at the CPSA Building CPIT Campus, Madras Street, City.

Facebook details here.

Appearing to discuss the death of public broadcasting and why it matters will be...

Clare Curran – Labour Broadcasting Spokesperson
Steffan Browning – Greens
Rahui Katene – Maori Party
Trisha Dunleavy – Media Studies at VUW

An evening of biting commentary and flagellation of commercial TV awaits, if you are in Christchurch, see you there.


q+a and The Nation review

The Nation

How weird is this? Duncan Garner is no longer on the show because he had a massive argument with ACT Party cheerleader and Executive Producer of PR company FrontPage, Richard Harman. Apparently the dispute was over direction of the show. Duncan wanted a successful current affairs show and Richard didn't.


So they've replaced Duncs with this other bloke, Simon Shepard. I'm not sure why Rachel Smalley hasn't been pulled up to the plate, she's actually pretty good on Firstline, and just needs better researchers for The Nation, but no, it's this Simon Shepard bloke.

Which begs the question, why bother watching? While Duncan is right wing enough to launch his own Party, he is a current affairs pit bull who once locked on doesn't let go. I love that, he's entertaining enough to ignore the right wing bias, but Simon Shepard? More Simon Yapping Dog.


Patrick Smellie, Colin James and Brian Fallow are on to quiz Bill English on the ZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Fallow has a go at English in terms of the zero budget, the host has blended into the background, what was his name again? Bill's noting that his spin is so great he's convinced the entire political spectrum of the 'return to surplus' joke. Fallow asks if things get worse will there be a sub-zero budget, Bill accepts that.

To be fair, none of them believe Bill and they all let him know.

Best surprise was David Parker suddenly coming to life and attacking the critics with Labour's big ideas on capital gains and raising the super age.

The counter would have been 'yeah but you are still sticking to the same surplus crap David, using the same right wing mechanics, so let's ease off the self congratulations just yet hu?'

Parker was looking too pleased with himself to have been asked something like that.

It's an okay show this week.
So it's official, since the complaint against him has been upheld by the press council, Paul Holmes is a racist. Apparently the Q&A producers tell people that 'they look after Paul better than the Herald does'.


English is on, seeing as the arrogant clown is predicting a 3rd term landslide for National at yesterdays National conference, I'm surprised he's even bothering to appear on interviews.

Interesting question about SERCO.

Parker is on selling the Labour vision. He's fighting a good fight this weekend. He's doing better than he has all year. Sadly Cunliffe would have done better.

Panel is Ray Miller, Heather Roy and the great Matt McCarton.

Heather doesn't like the budget, Matt points out Labour and National believe in the same free market myths and points out that National are destroying young people by raising the pension while charging more for kiwisaver.

They all point out that cuts don't grow the economy. Great discussion on how student loans have created the incentive to leave for our students.

The reality however is that despite the damage National are causing NZ, the sleepy hobbits love him. Political polarization has reached American levels, it doesn't matter what Key does, National voters love him.

Peter Marshall is on defending the Urewera farce. He admits that there wasn't any actual target. He's using all the evidence that was thrown out and wasn't able to be used in the case.

What about the $14million cost Peter? What about the illegal spying your Police force engaged in? What about the over the top manner you raided a community with a long history of righteous grievance? What about just talking to key members in the so called conspiracy to pull this whole thing back? Why allow Key to visit the area 2 months earlier if there was such a violent threat? How come catapulting a bus onto George W Bush was considered a credible assassination attempt?

When will you be investigating Slater and Lusk's hunting parties Peter?

I've got a question Peter, the draft IPCA report that is DAMNING of your Police action (and which you are desperately attempting to smother and have changed), are you concerned that it will get released on line so that the differences between the draft and the official can be exposed?

I think the draft IPCA report into the Police handling of this should be sent to Wikileaks, are you concerned about that Peter?

He has all the smugness of the NZ Police defending and justifying their beatings of protestors during the Springbok tour.

Holmes brings up the good question of 'what they were doing', which is a bloody good question. Activists shouldn't touch guns. That doesn't justify the over reaction, but Jesus, how stupid to give the Police this excuse.

Flavel points out that a person caught 2 years ago with vastly more military weapons got a $5000 fine.

Heather Roy points out that when you give the state vast powers, there needs to be checks and balances. Ray points out they were watching for 18 months and that the NZ Police went on a fishing expedition and how can the Police Minister not know before the night before.

Very good show today. Well done Q+A.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Rena Captain jailed for 7months, Iti gets 2 and a half years - welcome to NZ's Louis Crimp factor

Is it just me, but shouldn't crashing a ship and spilling 400 000 liters of oil get a far longer sentence than making a Molotov cocktail? 7 months in jail compared to two and a half years? WTF?

What was the real threat to NZ here? Crashing ships into our coastline or roleplaying at freedom fighter? (When corporates do what Tame Iti did, they call it a paintball retreat).

This astounding difference in prison sentence against the actual damage to NZ will appear even more egregious once the IPCA report is released.

A terrible week for justice in NZ.


Friday, May 25, 2012

This budget as 'sensible' as the sensible sentencing trust

I'm sick of hearing the mainstream media describe this budget as 'sensible' or 'balanced' - its as 'sensible' as the sensible sentencing trust and as 'balanced' as Fox News.

What the hell is sensible about 270 000 children living in poverty with zero hope from this zero budget?

What the hell is sensible about 267 000 NZers unemployed and underemployed with zero hope from this zero budget?

What the hell is sensible about 500 000 NZers earning less than $16 an hour with zero hope from this zero budget?

What the hell is sensible about crushing unions, destroying public broadcasting, slashing public services, killing off social housing, strangling the low waged, handing over billions to the already rich, spending $900 million on a private prison, privatizing our assets, increasing class sizes or replacing social service with 0800 numbers.

What the hell is sensible about any of that?

What's sensible about cheering the tax of rich people for $107m when they are cutting child care for poor people by $170m?

What's sensible about Bill English needing the tobacco industry to breathe life into the economy? What a foul kiss of stench.

I was waiting for John Key to predict that Zombie Marx will return from grave to feast on mum & dad investors if the Government dares borrow any more money.

This provided a 'brighter future' the way a blind cyclops does. We don't want to borrow more, but we must see that we can't cut back, we need a new revenue source and the wealthy should be our target. Top tax rate in NZ 25 years ago was 66%, now it's 33%, the richest have had their tax rate drop by 50% in quarter of a century, it's time they started paying back.

In the end it wasn't the Mother of all budgets, it was the selfish rich prick Uncle of all Budgets.

This zero budget was nothing more than wealth defense - the 1% will sleep easy this weekend.


Will Police Commissioner Peter Marshall still be so self-righteous after IPCA report into Urewera farce?

'Urewera Four' sentences decried by iwi leader
Prison sentences handed down to "Urewera Four" members Tame Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara are "completely over the top", leaders of central North Island iwi Ngati Manawa say.

Iti and Kemara, along with Urs Signer and Emily Bailey, were found guilty of unlawful possession of military-style firearms and Molotov cocktails at training camps held in the Urewera Ranges in 2006 and 2007.

Iti and Kemara were sentenced to 2-1/2 years jail and Signer and Bailey had their sentences adjourned but home detention was signalled when they appeared in the High Court at Auckland yesterday.

Justice Hansen said that despite a "Dad's Army" aspect to the camps, their intent was serious.

Two and a half years? Who was the judge? Louis Crimp?

What a bitter and sad little episode this farcical terror case has ended us with, a conspiracy rant by a Judge that to NZs deep embarrassment, will forever be on our history books. Hansen foamed about a conspiracy the jury didn't find them guilty of, this spiteful prison sentence is a desperate attempt at saving face for a Police force who has cost the NZ taxpayer $14 million dollars.

96 years ago, the exact same ridiculous situation occurred when Rua Kenana was found innocent of main charges but was sent to prison by the Judge on lesser sentences.

What was Iti and his merry militia doing in those misty hills? He was playing at freedom fighter without any of the actual fighting, a camp for the politically active to run around and role play. When corporate leaders do it, their called paint gun enthusiasts. When lefties and Maori Nationalists do it, apparently it's terrorism. That said, activists should never pick up guns. Why give your enemies the ammunition?

If Judge Hansen was serious about chasing conspiracy, perhaps he should investigate Cameron Slater and Simon Lusk's hunting parties in light of the National Party having concerns that Lusk and Slater have "a very negative agenda for the party".

But I digress. This investigation that attacked a community with existing righteous grievance; that cost us $14million; that cost us all our civil rights by legalizing illegal Police spying techniques; HAD to end in a prison sentence because the State and the Police have to desperately do all they can to save face, before the IPCA report into this abortion gets released.

As I pointed out last month, rumor has it that the IPCA report is deeply damaging and critical to the Police, and that's why they have done all they can to hold up releasing it.

It is vital for the so called 'independence' of the IPCA that they do not buckle under the attack now going on by the Police in trying to dismantle the criticism. This outrageous sentence and the prickish way Police Commissioner Peter Marshall has justified this disgustingly expensive joke demands the system to get involved and rebalance this latest injustice. If they don't, the stain of this sentence will spark the next generation of grievance. At the end of all of this, what were we supposed to be terrified of exactly? Police breaking the law to spy on us? Communities being terrorized by para-military police? A failed police investigation costing the tax payer $14 million? Who exactly was the terrorist?

Let's see if Police Commissioner Peter Marshall is so self-righteous after the IPCA report gets released.


Citizen A online NOW - Zero Budget Special

Budget Special with Dr Wayne Hope & Selwyn Manning - what are the economic, social and political ramifications of National's zero budget?

Citizen A broadcasts 7pm Thursday Triangle TV


Thursday, May 24, 2012

NZ Crown budget 2012

Bill English is just a few short minutes away from dishing out some more of that austerity anti-awesomeness the Nats have been perfecting over the last four years.

The students (Twitter: #blockadethebudget) are protesting now in Auckland:
Will update as the Budget stats are released.

UPDATE 3:30PM: Who am I kidding? The wonks that were in the lock-up will be doing a better job of analysis than I could ever give. And don't click on that Budget stats link above - it's not working - and neither is the Treasury one (that I could find). Best just go to the Beehive site for all the press releases. And there's millions of them. Random one from Pita Sharples for instance:

Cadetships a focus for Māori Affairs:

The Government will fund 1,000 Māori cadetships over the next four years, Māori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples says.

“A total of $10 million allocated to the Māori cadetship programme over the next four years will enable 250 young Māori cadets a year to get paid jobs and training opportunities for at least six months,” Dr Sharples says.

“This means 250 people a year for four years will be on the road to success, through partnerships with private sector employers. This cadetship programme has a track record of exceeding targets in the past, and I am expecting great results from this investment in our young people.

“This decision also supports my vision for Te Puni Kokiri to focus on areas of critical importance to Māori communities – in this case jobs – through strategic influence and partnerships with other government agencies, industry, and local government,” Dr Sharples says.

The Minister has a great deal of confidence in TPK, but I'm still trying to figure out what their purpose is: holding hands? Endless, circuitous, redundant liaison functions? Are they the necessary machine that can bring things together and achieve outcomes that no other organisation can? or are they just pointless middlemen in a bureaucracy practising interference, control, dependency and the opposite of Tino Rangatiratanga and Mana Motuhake, ie. the opposite of autonomy and self-reliance? It looks to me like attempted Empire-building to make TPK "relevant" and have a high profile policy attached - but is this what they are good at?
So, $10m is divided into 250 cadets per year (although only 6 months stints?) That's $10k each - which is approximately what the dole would be for them so maybe it will be good value on these numbers.

From the Nat's summary page: Note the spiralling net government debt (bolded).

June Years
$ billion
Core Crown revenue
Core Crown expenses
Total Crown OBEGAL
Total Crown OBEGAL
excl quake expense
Net core Crown debt
March Years
Real production GDP
Unemployment Rate
(March quarter s.a.)
Current account balance
(% of GDP)

Urewera 4 sentencing underway [Updates] BREAKING: 2.5 Years prison :(

Sentencing is underway:

The “Urewera Four” are being sentenced on firearms charges today, dating back to the 2007 raids.
After a six week trial at the High Court in Auckland in March jurors were unable to reach a decision on the main charge of belonging to an organised criminal group.
However, they were able to reach a decision on the firearms charges.
Tame Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara were found guilty of six firearms charges and not guilty of four.
Urs Signer was found guilty of five firearms charges and not guilty of five.
Emily Bailey was found guilty of six firearms charges and not guilty of four.
The four will all be sentenced on those charges today.

Live Twitter updates from Solidarity15. Last hour from that twitstream:

This was ongoing conduct over a long period of time and there were 11 semi automatic weapons involved. Some...
Actions caused divisions in Tuhoe and wider community. Police conduct is not the starting point. Your conduct...
Crown want longer sentence than four years as a result of aggravating features of offending. Purposes of...
Theories were implausible health issues and Rau Hunt reasons discussed
Semi automatic weapons described. Possession of firearm and in my view jury accepted you were in joint possession...
Proceed to sentence on basis that consequences of Hamed is not a relevant circumstance on sentence

Serious charges required trial. Do not accept impropriety by virtue of admission of surveillance evidence. This is...
Judge rejects proposition Crown case changed

However despite Stevenson argument for Signer, and Nesbit for Bailey showing case Changed as that put to Supreme Court so manifestly unfair
Decision of Supreme Court applied here. Unfairness ruled inadmissible against some has lead to apparent disparity between two groups
"The Crown wants to see the Urewera Four sent to prison. Tame Iti, Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara, Urs Signer and...
The Crown wants jail for the Urewera Four and what it says was "serious offending". Each face a max of four years jail and a fine
Lawyers have finished giving submissions. Judge will sum up case before deciding what penalty each of the Urewera 4 will g
Lawyers have finished giving submissions. Judge will sum up case before deciding what penatly each of the Urewera 4 will get
michaelmorrah: Public gallery at the Urewera sentencing packed with Tuhoe supporters, political activists, police...

Nga Mihi Annette Sykes for the updates from court

11:45AM The Judge is currently reading it out.

UPDATES to 11:55AM:

Recourse of self help crosses the line of what is reasonable

Ends do not justify the means. Refers to earlier case of Iti and commentary from Elias CJ in unlawful discharge of a firearm

Ultimate goal was directed in a general sense to achieving Tuhoe redress and Mana Motuhake

Accept this case distinguished from other cases

Some in this group held extreme anarchist views... Cumulatively these factors disclose seriousness beyond any...

A private militia WAS being established which is .... An anathema to our way of life

The issue of the charge that was failed to be proved is distinct from why you possessed firearms. The intention...
Don't like where the Judge's logic is going...

UPDATES to 12:01PM

Tame: 3 yrs Rangi: 3 yrs

Imprisonment unavoidable!

Altruistic intentions are relevant though as aspiration for Tuhoe justice by peaceful means

Is there a difference between the four of you? I reject crown view that there isnt. Iti and Kemara had key roles
FFS. 3 Years is ridiculous! The sentence will most definitely be appealed - you don't have to be a lawyer to work that one out.

So the Crown - the NZ Government - got what they wanted in the end, a harsh sentence based on Pakeha apprehension, fearmongering and the misuse of their shabby anti-terrorist laws. Sad day for justice and Tuhoe.

UPDATES to 12:10PM

Tame Iti and Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara -2yrs, 6mnths; Urs Signer and Emily Bailey - 9mnths home detention

Tame/Rangi: 2yrs 6 mnths

Signer and Bailey... Peaceloving couple. Contradictions in case at loss to explain 2 years starting point reduced to 6 months

Term of imprisonment should reflect mitigating factors however. Not gang related on contrary pursued for worthy...

Tame: 2 yrs 6 mnths
The expression "shithouse" comes immediately to mind.

UPDATES to 12:20PM

Sentencing of Urs Singer and Emily Bailey in the Urewera trial been adjourned so home detention can be considered. Others jailed

Sentencing as the beginning of another generation of Maori political prisoners. Remember Parihaka, Maungapohatu!

Raoul Duke@Judgenudge
at the high court. A haka just rang out from the urewera 4 supporters. 2.5 - 3 yrs each.


Annette Sykes and the other lawyers for the imprisoned will be applying for their immediate release pending an appeal, but I'm not sure the Court will do this. I'm reminded that Iti (at least) has already been in jail when he was arrested at the beginning so a month or so will be taken off for that - but two and a half years is total bullshit for these charges. The Crown judge has bought into the Crown prosecutor's hype about the Crown police's fruitless spying - pathetic really. There is little evidence of the independence from government that the judiciary is supposed to maintain. 

Why it's all Greek to David Farrar

The bore of babylon, Government online propagandist and pollster, David Farrar isn't dreaming in color anymore, and he's not sure why.

In a column he wrote for the Herald last week, David got as close as he intellectually can to questioning the cause of the Greek crisis and the response by NZ. I say as close as he can because sadly for David and many of his right wing brethren the reality of what is happening goes well beyond the parameters of their free market dogma.

What David and the rest of the right can't admit is that this is a unique crisis of capitalism, akin to the 1929 stock market collapse. The full social impacts of that global economic meltdown caused by feral non-regulation weren't felt until the late 30's and required a global world war to re-establish hegemonic control. Our melt down from 2007/2008 has only just begun in terms of the social damage, but it has also cut to the very core of the neo-liberal Milton Fridman free market doctrine in a way that hasn't been accepted by his many acolytes yet.

This existential crisis has hit the right harder than a flawed Facebook launch. Friedman's infected theology argued markets were a natural thing of beauty and worked best when unmolested by any Government regulation. It has been this flawed belief that unregulated markets would magically balance themselves through the arcane magic of supply and demand that has dominated the global debate for corporate benefit. In the 1970's the real economy and the financial economy were evenly valued but 40 years of deregulation, low tax, free market Milton Friedman dogma has seen the real economy valued annually at $8 trillion while the financial economy is valued at $330 trillion. That disconnect between reality and the inflated bubble world of finance has gone pop, and we must reconsider the rules of the game because the unsustainable consumer culture of SUV's, plasma TVs and cosmetic surgery all on the credit card game is over.

Milton Friedman was wrong, the market left to itself is nothing but a greedy venal event horizon that will collapse upon itself, the lessons of Keyenes that David Farrar and the National Party work so hard to ignore is that managed capitalism is the only alternative to this flawed free market virus. Developmental policy and not austerity is the only way forward, democracy beat fascism and communism 60 years ago because it could promise it's supporters that their children would get a better deal than they did, austerity is not compatible with that promise. The splintering of the political spectrum throughout Europe (mirrored here by the rise of MANA and the Conservative Party) is the most obvious symptom of where this promise is being embraced or broken.

The top tax rate in NZ 25 years ago was 66%, it's now 33%, the richest have had their tax rate drop by 50% in quarter of a century. The reason the occupation movement and their anger at the 1% caught attention was because their grievance is so righteous and the other 99% know that.

The right will paint a picture of Greece that fits their ideological limitations. David will wag his finger about the feckless Greeks and their disgustingly socialist agenda of spending borrowed money while piously seeing their suffering as a cautionary tale of the dangers of left wing politics. The simplistic bullshit of this position denies the reality...

Goldman Helped Greece Hide Catastrophic Debt
(Newser) – Greece's budget problems were allowed to grow to their current monstrous size with the help of a Goldman Sachs deal worthy of an Oscar for creative accounting. Greek government officials—no strangers to number-juggling themselves—used the US bank to concoct a derivatives deal that allowed the country to circumvent EU rules requiring member nations not to run deficits exceeding 3% of GDP, Der Speigel reports. The deal, agreed in early 2002, circumvented EU rules with a credit swap in which government-issued bonds in dollars and yen were traded for debt in euros. Such transactions don't need to be reported to EU authorities. The Goldman-Greece deal exploited this loophole by inventing a fictional exchange rate, allowing Greece to borrow billions more and mask the true size of its debt. Greece's deficit problem will become even greater when the Goldman bonds mature over the next 10 to 15 years. Greece's exploding debt is now threatening to bring down the euro.

Taking their weapons of mass financial destruction Goldman Sachs were instrumental in the collapse of Greece. Goldman Sachs role in hiding billions of dollars worth of Greek debt, all the while betting that the Greek economy would collapse is like buying fire insurance for a house, leaving the gas on and inviting the owners around for a cigar evening. The role of Goldman Sachs is never mentioned when David is finger wagging at Greece.

The debt bogeyman which the right fall back upon as their last ditch attempt to justify austerity is the most disingenuous part of this. Labour did what any Government should in boom times, pay down the debt, it is the private debt that endangers NZs economic future now, and that private debt is the direct legacy of the user pays free market faith that the Washington Consensus (that none of us consented to) has inspired.

What David and National can not comprehend is that their main pillar of faith in the Temple of Milton, that deregulated free markets are flawless, has been structurally compromised and the global economy is in for a grinding correction beyond their limited solutions. It's like Christians being forced to accept the resurrection of Christ is just one big metaphor rather than gospel truth, the economic meltdown is an existential crisis at the very core of right wing mythology.

That's why David's utterances and Key's vacant optimism are the empty words of a priest in a hollow church.