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Friday, November 30, 2012

Citizen A TPP special with Professor Jane Kelsey & Lori Wallach

Citizen A TPP special with Professor Jane Kelsey & Lori Wallach

Issue 1: Why should NZers be concerned with signing up to the TPPA?

Issue 2: Why would our Government agree to a deal that didn't benefit NZ interests?

and issue 3: How much is the TPPA a manifestation of the American-Chinese new cold war in the Pacific?

Citizen A broadcasts 7pm Thursday Triangle TV: Next year it will also be available on Sky TV as Face Television

Citizen A will move to Sky TV on their new public broadcasting channel 'Face TV' in 2013.


SaveTVNZ7, Sky TV & Public broadcasting

There has been some interesting blog commentary on Sky's announcement to launch Face TV on their nationwide signal. As someone who fronted SaveTVNZ7 meetings around the country and who also works on Triangle TV and will be appearing on Face TV, I thought I'd add my thoughts.

If the TV Guide was edited by Ayn Rand and put online, it would be Throng.co.nz. If Whaleoil had the EQ requirements to have a best friend, it would be Regan Cunliffe and Regan has given the issue such a lazy once over I'd suggest he give up TV blogging and try something far less challenging like a paint drying blog.

Karol on The Standard has fast become one of my daily must reads on any issue and her post this week on public broadcasting is sharp and very well reasoned.

There are some assumptions that have quickly circulated about this deal between Sky TV and Triangle TV that I think need to be dispelled however.

As someone who has spent many hours sitting with Jim Blackman staring bleakly into the future of regional TV in this country, I know first hand the difficulties Triangle TV was facing.

The Government had not provided any digital signals for any regional television station to cross over to once the analogue signals are switched off next year. While the Department of Heritage and Culture has a responsibility to provide frequencies for this type of regional current affairs, they have stood by and watched regional TV drown.

Kordia has been less than helpful, Freeview have brought little to the table and NZ on Air has given the crumbs left over from Mediaworks and TVNZs multi-million dollar costing talent shows.

Jim had to pull Stratos from Freeview a year ago because there was zero support from Government to allow public funding for Freeview stations. The deal Jim has struck with Sky allows the Triangle signal to be picked up by Sky and simulcast as 'Face TV' on Sky.

Those who are still watching Triangle on the UHF signal in Auckland can continue doing so for free until the Government switch the signal off, at which point there was no digital signal reserved for Triangle to move on to.

As a frontperson for SaveTVNZ7, I am acutely aware of Sky TV's position in the industry and the criticism they have come in for when attributing blame for the decline of public broadcasting. To their credit, they have listened to that criticism and have been the only agency out there prepared to give Triangle TV a lifeline beyond the switch off date.

I have worked in many different media over the years and I've been told on all of them what I can say and what I can't say. I've been banned from RNZ for life for criticizing the Prime Minister too harshly for crying out loud. The only two media organizations who have never told me what I can or can't say are Jim Blackman at Triangle and now Sky TV.

They are giving us a means to offer an alternative evaluation of the weeks current affairs to ten times the audience at an adult time of day like 7.30pm without any editorial restrictions.

Yes it's behind a paywall, but until 2014 when there can be a change of Government to one that takes public broadcasting seriously, this is as good as it's going to get.

The alternative for Triangle and the mix of news and current affairs it brings was to simply end next year when the signal get's cut off.

Public Broadcasting isn't dead, it's been murdered. Death suggests the possibility of a natural ending. This is no such quaint passing of a thing whose time has come, Public Broadcasting has been very purposely murdered by this Government.

Look at the tireless work Myles at SaveTVNZ7 has managed to unearth. TVNZ denied access to these official information requests for 15 months, and the reason they denied it for so long was because of how explosive the information would have been in supporting TVNZ7.

Myles writes...

TVNZ 7 seen as 'important' by most Kiwis
By May 2011 50% of all Kiwis considered TVNZ 7 to be extremely or very important (page 19). This includes people who had never heard of TVNZ 7.

Of those who were aware of TVNZ 7, two thirds gave the channel high importance (page 20) while another 24% considered TVNZ 7 'quite important' (page 21). This shows overwhelming public support of 91% for the importance of TVNZ 7 and it's style of programming.

The previous year, May 2010, 86% of those who were aware of TVNZ 7 thought it important to some degree with 60% giving it high importance. This was before the decision to scrap TVNZ 7 was announced so TVNZ, and one assumes the Government, chose to close down TVNZ 7 despite knowledge of overwhelming public support for the importance of the channel.

The types of people who considered TVNZ 7 to be very important were not limited to Freeview or older viewers - the majority of Sky viewers and 18-34 year olds also considered the channel to be either very or extremely important.

...so more and more NZers supported TVNZ7 and TVNZ hid that. This would be bad enough if the OIAs hadn't also revealed that the Broadcasting Minister purposely led about how many NZers were watching TVNZ7...

TVNZ had figures that proved Coleman was wrong to say TVNZ 7 gets 207,000 viewers each week.
Page 28 shows that by January 2010, more than 500,000 Kiwis watched TVNZ 7 at least once a week and by January 2011 that figure had risen to almost 700,000.

I get these figures thus:
2011 projected NZ population is 4.4m of which roughly three-quarters are 18 and over so possible TV viewers is 3.3 million.

TVNZ 7 awareness in May 2010 is 60% (page 10 of survey) putting the total number of the 'TVNZ 7 Aware' cohort at 1.98 million.

Page 28 shows that in January 2010, 27% of that cohort (534,600) watched TVNZ 7 at least once a week or more frequently, and that by January 2011, 35% (693,800) were watching each week.

The research was done at different dates with the total 'TVNZ 7 Aware' determined in May and the 'Viewing Frequency' in January so I've gone with the most conservative of dates to make sure the dates are well before Coleman's statement in April 2011 of 207,000. Coleman has since admitted getting the figures wrong by accident, yet here is evidence that TVNZ knew what the channel's real weekly viewership was, and most likely, so did the Minister.

...and why does the National Government work so hard at killing of Public Broadcasting? Look at what happens when the media coverage is just left up to the New Zealand Herald, Herald on Sunday, Dominion Post and Sunday Star-Times...

Election coverage biased towards Key, National - study

A study has found four of the country's most-read newspapers were biased during last year's election campaign, with Prime Minister John Key receiving far more coverage than then-Labour leader Phil Goff.

I look forward to challenging that narrative 7.30pm Thursday nights on a larger media platform from early next year*.

*And yes, Citizen A will remain free online.


Thursday, November 29, 2012



What National will do about MMP

My guess as to what National will do with the MMP review is that they won't dump the coat tailing provision. It's the only part of MMP that benefits the right, National would prefer to have John Key passionately embrace Helen Kelly on the 6pm News than dump the only part of MMP that helps them.

ACT have exploited the sub 5% threshold so viciously it would make Ghengis Khan blush, to think National would kill that off seems to be politically naive in the extreme.

The problem however is that it looks terribly self serving, so National need to also announce a move that diverts attention.

How does National do that? Lower the threshold to 3%. Such a move would smother attention from the coat tailing rule while creating the pretense that National are being democratic.

Such a lowering of the threshold would benefit National significantly. The Conservatives would have a chance of entering Parliament and the new Rural Party launched this month should be on the phone with National Party HQ making this very argument to them.

It would cement NZ First into Parliament meaning there is always a way to negotiate Winston back into the fold making Labour more dependent to NZ First.

Keeping the coat tailing and lowering the threshold to 3% to divert attention from the first announcement while generating the perception of being more democratic while opening up future coalition partners would be a win, win, win for National.


Skipping stones

Hasn't been much posting on the Red Alert blog after the warfare at and following the conference, but Nanaia Mahuta has written a lengthy piece on the water case which is worth a read.

She explains the following points:
➢ The Crown has a moral obligation to recognise the tino rangatiratanga that Maori assert over their Taonga and a fiduciary obligation to protect those rights and interests

➢ That the common interest that all New Zealanders have in water is not prejudiced by Maori seeking greater protection of their proprietary rights and interests in water

➢ That the common interest that all New Zealanders have in water is not prejudiced by Maori seeking greater protection of their proprietary rights and interests in water

➢ That s.9 of the SOE Act was a mechanism used by Maori to protect their interests vis-à-vis Crown actions and the new clause inserted in the Public Finance Bill does not ascribe the same level of protection

➢ That the Treaty Settlement process does not adequately provide for Maori proprietary rights and interests in water that may be specific and localised to whanau and hapuu

➢ That the final determination of the extent of Maori rights and interests in water will need to be accommodated in Resource Management legislation alongside Treaty Settlements

➢ That the Crown does not have the moral mandate of Maori to sell 49% of shares in State Owned Energy Companies because it prejudices the ability for Maori to assert their tino rangatiratanga over a significant Taonga that is managed in the common interest of ALL New Zealanders

She concludes:
I remember a kaumatua once saying that:
“…the trick to walking on water is knowing where the rocks are…”


I note that a Green MP has a river-related Bill in the House:
via Twitter:
Catherine Delahunty‏@greencatherine
Last day to submit to Select Committee on my RMA and rivers Bill, thanks to all supporters so far!
The Bill appears to be on the parliamentary website where there is a link to make a submission.
The Bill is to limit discharge permits to 5 years.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

In/out of state

NZ Herald:
Workers opened Arafat's tomb before daybreak Tuesday, laying bare the remains some four metres below ground level, the Palestinian health minister said. A Palestinian forensics examiner took some 20 samples and handed them to Swiss, French and Russian experts, officials said.
By midmorning, the grave was resealed, and Palestinian officials laid wreaths of flowers to signal Arafat's reburial.The three teams will separately analyze the samples for possible poison, including polonium-210, a lethal radioactive substance first detected in elevated amounts on some of Arafat's clothing this summer.
Polonium disintegrates rapidly, and experts have cautioned that too much time may have passed since Arafat's death to reach a conclusive result.
Former Sharon spokesman Raanan Gissin said Tuesday that such allegations are baseless and that Israel "had no reason" to kill Arafat, who in his final years lived under Israeli military siege in his walled West Bank compound.Palestinians launched an investigation immediately after Arafat's death at a French military hospital but made no progress. The dormant probe got a jolt this summer when a Swiss lab found the polonium on Arafat belongings provided by his widow, Suha.
Arafat died a month after falling ill at his West Bank compound. The immediate cause of death was a stroke, but the underlying reasons remain unclear, leading to widespread belief in the Arab world that Israel poisoned him.Medical files released by Palestinian investigators earlier this year portrayed Arafat as a robust 75-year-old whose sudden health crisis was initially blamed on viral gastroenteritis.
Arafat's downward spiral began October 11, 2004, when he vomited after a late supper. His condition deteriorated and two weeks later he was flown to France where he died Nov. 11, 2004.
Dr. Bashir Abdullah, a physician on the Palestinian team of investigators, said Tuesday that Arafat's death "cannot be explained in the framework of disease, and therefore our explanation is that there must have been poisonous material."
Palestinian officials acknowledged Tuesday that they had a long road ahead and that the investigation could hit a dead end.
Tawfik Tirawi, the head of the Palestinian team, said the Palestinians would ask the International Criminal Court to investigate further if there is evidence of poisoning.
Later this week, Abbas is seeking UN recognition of "Palestine" as a non-member observer state, an upgrade that could give Palestinians access to the ICC.

A Mossad assassination by radiation poisoning is entirely possible. Arafat himself - as the figurehead and national leader - was a threat no matter what his age was. Despite the heavy restrictions and virtual house arrest in which the Israelis had kept Arafat for the last few years topping him would have always been on the cards. Arafat had escaped Israeli hit squads and assassination attempts on numerous occasions - it's not such a big leap to think the Israeli's finally managed to find a way to kill him.

The PLO leader and Palestine Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, is on the way to the UN to try again for recognition of Palestine (against a hostile US and Israel) - this time as an "observer" nation.

The vote is due on Friday NZ time. France has said it would support the application, but the UK will not. Last year the PA tried for full member status but was blocked by the US who said they would veto it if it came before the Security Council.

The current mission for Palestine to the UN recounts a UN General Assembly resolution from 2004:
Resolution 58/292 (17 May 2004)
Resolution adopted by the General Assembly 58/292. Status of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem
The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolutions 3237 (XXIX) of 22 November 1974, 43/177 of 15 December 1988 and 52/250 of 7 July 1998,

Recalling also Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 1397 (2002) of 12 March 2002 and 1515 (2003) of 19 November 2003,

Recalling further the relevant provisions of international law, as well as relevant United Nations resolutions, with regard to Israeli settlements and to Occupied East Jerusalem,

Reaffirming the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,
Noting that Palestine, in its capacity as observer and pending its attainment of full membership in the United Nations, does not present credentials to the General Assembly,

Affirming the need to enable the Palestinian people to exercise sovereignty and to achieve independence in their State, Palestine,

1. Affirms that the status of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, remains one of military occupation, and affirms, in accordance with the rules and principles of international law and relevant resolutions of the United Nations, including Security Council resolutions, that the Palestinian people have the right to self-determination and to sovereignty over their territory and that Israel, the occupying Power, has only the duties and obligations of an occupying Power under the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949 1 and the Regulations annexed to the Hague Convention respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, of 1907; 2 

2. Expresses its determination to contribute to the achievement of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the attainment of a just and comprehensive negotiated peace settlement in the Middle East resulting in two viable, sovereign and independent States, Israel and Palestine, based on the pre-1967 borders and living side by side in peace and security.

I have no clue as to what the NZ government's position is on observer status. Usually they fall in line with the US (and to a lesser extent the UK), but sometimes there is no whipping if the issue is not crucial. It will be interesting what the NZ vote is because NZ voted in favour of creating Israel and thus the whole "two state solution" mire. We ought to remember that what has been voted can be un-voted and what has thus been created can also be un-created.

UPDATE 30/11/2012: UN general assembly vote: 138 yes (incl. NZ), 9 against (Incl. USA, Canada), 41 abstensions (Incl. UK, Germany, Australia, Netheralnds).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Peter Jackson tries to re-edit history of The Hobbit

I loved the Hobbit and LOTR as a kid, they were the first two books I read as an 8 year old. But I find Hobbit hysteria to be as twee as the Wellington Ukulele Orchestra. Has Warner Bros trade marked our entire country yet?

It's bad enough that crony capitalism between Jackson and Key has led to our tourism brand being down graded from 100% pure to 100% semi-racist-Aryan-fantasy-written-by-a- potty-English-professor, but having to also listen to Jackson re-edit the history of the manufactured crisis at the Hobbit is just too much.

Jackson is clearly sweating his legacy as a union busting director in the same mould of hysteria as 1950s Mccarthyism and is now spinning that it was once again the Actors Union who almost cost NZ having the Hobbit filmed here.

Which is of course nonsense.

We know his public comments yesterday are nonsense because his private emails released under the Official Information Act gave a completely different perspective didn't they...

Sir Peter: Actors no threat to Hobbit
Sir Peter Jackson told the Government he did not believe an international actors' boycott would force The Hobbit overseas, emails show.

The message, sent to the office of Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee on October 18, is in stark contrast to comments the film-maker made earlier in the month.

Having to put up with Jackson repeat his paranoid union hysteria to justify breaching our sovereignty to re-write labour law for a foreign corporation is a shrieking-bespectacled-elf-speaking-hobbit-eared-Wellington-fan fucktard too far.

You just know that as those Warner Bros Executives flew back to America on their corporate jet after doubling their corporate subsidy and having our laws re-written for them, that they were laughing their arse's off, popping the champagne corks and referring to us 'Shire folk'.


About those SAS not being in Afghanistan for a revenge killing Mr Key

From our, things-that-make-you-go-hmmmm file comes the curious case of Abdullah Kalta.

So let's get this straight. Last month, Key emphatically denies that he's sent the SAS back into Afghanistan for a revenge killing. This month, Key announces the man responsible for killing our troops is dead.

Hmmmmmmm. How on earth does he get away with this? Are we expected to believe that this is just one amazing co-incidence are we?

How fortuitous that the very guy we wanted dead is dead. What are the odds?

Last month, "I'm not sending SAS back for revenge attack", this month, "Oh look our SAS were involved in the death of that guy we said we weren't going back to kill".

Remember the good old days where a person who did something wrong was arrested and put on trial and a system of legal checks and balances allowed for a sense that something close to justice was being meted out?

Have we replaced that system for military tribunal executions?

Every second of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year that you occupy someone else land must be justified at the highest threshold and this entire adventure into Afghanistan that has killed tens of thousands of civilians and displaced hundreds of thousands more never met that threshold.

Continuing to occupy someone else's land one day longer so that you could kill one of their troops who killed some of yours has no honor. It is simply violence begetting violence.

Our continued occupation is part of the problem.

At the very least, let's for Christ's sake stop pretending that we are doing anything nobel in this wound of a country. There is no military solution in Afghanistan and Key's actions are only bringing dishonor on our house.


Shell's Greenpeace shame

Greenpeace protesters asked to pay $700,000
Arguments over the large amount of reparation being called for from Greenpeace protesters are delaying their sentencing.

Eight Greenpeace protesters, headed by Lucy Lawless, are being asked to pay $700,000 after pleading guilty earlier this year to illegally boarding the drillship Noble Discoverer in February.

The protest disrupted preparations for the ship's departure from Port Taranaki, New Plymouth to the Arctic.

Trying to threaten Greenpeace with $700 000 in damages is ludicrous when you consider that it is Shell who should be paying damages to us all for their commitment to make more climate change.

Corporations that are part of the problem deserve all the contempt Greenpeace can associate with their brand.


Mark Unsworth - he likes his scientists gagged

According to Mark Unsworth, only butterflies and rainbows pop out of these holes.

I've met Mark once, he was on the 2010 Backbenchers show I was on making political predictions for the 2011 year ahead.

Unsworth along with Farrar snorted and jeered at my claim that Hone would launch a new political party.

I enjoyed wiping the smirk of both their faces. Unsworth is that sort of spin doctor who gives snake oil merchants a bad name and his latest grossness is this late night email to scientist Dr Mike Joy where Unsworth effectively attempts to gag a scientist from pointing out the utter falsehood of our clean green brand to the New York Times.

It's a brand so damaged that Key's first move as Tourism Minister was to kill off 100% Pure and deform it into 100% Middle Earth so as to avoid claims of greenwash.

We are 40% Pure and 60% cowshit now thanks to Key's farming buddies who wash more filth into our rivers while stealing the remaining fresh water for their ever increasing intensification of dairy farming.

Normally this would just be an arsehole mouthing off, but Unsworth is one of the Nazgul. Unsworth has personal contacts that go deep into the heart of the Government, so when he threatens a scientist it carries real malice.

This is Mark in 2010...

PM's adviser living it up in Sin City
John Key's right-hand man is living it up with big-spending lobbyists in the casinos of Las Vegas, sparking questions about their influence on Government policy.

The Prime Minister's chief of staff, Wayne Eagleson, has spent the past week enjoying a shootin', smokin' and boozin' trip to "Sin City". He has been travelling with NZ Post chief executive Brian Roche, and lobbyists Mark Unsworth and Roger Sowry - a former National Party deputy leader who remains a member of John Key and Bill English's inner circle.

...so the spin doctor for Caltex, British Gas and Air New Zealand who parties in Los Vegas with the PMs Chief of Staff shouldn't in any way shape or form be attempting to gag, silence, threaten or intimidate scientists who are honest about our environmental record.

Climate change and the damage to our environment must remain a debate where science is the final adjudicator, Unsworth is trying to drag the debate into the world of spin where smoking doesn't cause cancer and the Dairy lobby have frolicking cows that never poo.

The types of veiled threats Unsworth makes just after midnight to scientists should concern us all.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Giving 110%

The Tory's state asset privatisation plans hinge on the outcome of the Maori Council's water challenge. It starts today:
via Twitter:
Adam Bennett‏@AdDeville
Packed press bench for the Maori Council, Pouakani etc vs the Crown over the Mighty River sale in the High Court in Wgtn today.
Retweeted by
In anticipation of the privatisation goldrush, Mighty River Power's board has raised the looting perception comensurately:
State-owned electricity company Mighty River Power is raising its dividend policy from 75 per cent of earnings to between 90 per cent and 110 per cent, saying it has fewer investment needs in the near future, and sweetening its attraction for investors in its partial privatisation.
The Government plans to offer up to 49 per cent of the Auckland-based firm, which owns the Mercury Energy brand and a string of hydro and geothermal power plants in the central North Island, for sale in the second quarter of next year.
That assumes court action by three Maori bodies, led by the New Zealand Maori Council, fails to block the sale in the courts and that market conditions are judged appropriate for the first of three SOE power company floats.
In earlier posts I expressed an expectation that the company would end up taking on a load of new debt in order to boost dividends for the incoming shareholders. A 110% target cap seems to indicate this is the direction even if the borrowing stats aren't specific enough to confirm it.
Also from the MRP board is a position of uncertainty over the Maori Council's action.

Mighty River Power holds land and interests that may be impacted by certain claims that have been brought or are pending against the Crown under the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975. In the event that
the Crown agrees to the return of some or all of the impacted land, resumption would be effected by the Crown under the Public Works Act 1981 and compensation would be payable to the Company. A claim relating to fresh water and geothermal resources is currently under consideration by the Waitangi Tribunal. The impact of this claim is unknown at this time.
The more specifics that come into the public sphere and into public knowledge about just how profitable the Crown power companies are will both encourage share purchases and also encourage resistance to it.


February Democracy - it begins

Guy Fawkes in February?

And it begins. The reverberations of the emotional violence for political ends meted out at the Labour Party Conference was always going to start online and it has in the form of the February Democracy movement by Labour Party members who want a leadership challenge in February to energize the membership and give the leader a real mandate...

We are New Zealand Labour Party members committed to a party wide, open and transparent leadership election in February 2013. Description

At the 2012 Conference, delegates voted to implement new rules for the election of its leaders in accordance with its social democratic values.

We are New Zealand Labour Party members who are committed to the members having their collective voice heard. We believe that the new process for electing a leader should be tested, initiated by the MPs voting in February 2013 to trigger such an election.

The election would take place under the 20/40/40 electoral college, which places more power into the hands of Labour members and the affiliates. We believe that as we move into the 2014 election, it is vital that the members are involved.


Fear and Loathing

This is a guest blog post. The author needs no elaborate introduction. Mr Ross Meurant.

This is a Time of fear and loathing.
 This is a time we must creep about in servile fearfulness.
This is a time of fear and loathing.
This is a time when our guardians are dangerous.
This is a time when they who guard the guardians are also the guardians.
This is a time when our Courts are weak.
This is a time not long after a time when police invoked draconian anti terror laws abrogating rights and freedoms we had enjoyed since Magna Carta - on the grounds of spurious untested “police intelligence” -some of which was illegally obtained – and used as a basis to secure warrants from unsuspecting judiciary – to catapult the nation onto a terror alert footing from Tuhoe to Auckland.
This is a time when our police covertly conspire with foreign governments and break the laws of our land.
This is a time when covertly conspiring with a foreign government by our military would be treason.
This is a time when to behave in such a matter while a Minister of the Crown, would be perfidy.
This is a time when bandana wearing machine gun toting police anti terrorist AOS tactical unit members jump from helicopters to terrorise pregnant women, children and smugly describe an injury to a man cowering on the floor before them as an “accidental” stomp on his hand.
This is a time when the police officer in charge of such a raid called to account before a Court of Law, with contumacious arrogance informs the Court that he will first check with a foreign power before acquiescing caveat from a judge of the Highest Court in our land.
This is a time when called to account for their conduct before a Court of Law for one of the most bizarre agent provocateur cases in western judicial annuls, police justify their illegal means by their ends and defiantly appeal against rebuke and sanction by one of our judges.
This is a time – thirty two years in fact after a Royal Commission of Enquiry pardoned a man for two murders but also identified two police officers as having fabricated evidence to secure the convictions of the pardoned man – that police still do not accept the pardon nor the rejection by the Appeal Court of an appeal against the Commission findings – and protest that the Royal Commission “was wrong”.
This is a time when the police ignore the rule of law but are the law.
This is a time when police marksmen can miss their target several times but accidentally kill an innocent passer-by, yet escape culpability for a transparent negligent killing – which is prima facie manslaughter.
This is a time when the Independent Police Complaints Authority - which is nothing more or less than a glorified government investigation unit – usurps the role of our Courts by deciding the culpability of killings such as described above, in camera and not in a formal Court of law.
This is a time when the Government Communications & Security Bureau breaks the laws of our land and spy illegally – in the name of freedom from tyranny for the people of Aoteoroa.
This is a time when the calibre of police ministers our nation has endured for too long has been, in the writers view, a procession of dogs being wagged by the tail.
This is a time when, as Edmund Burke once wrote, when: 
No man committed greater evil than to believe that because he could do not much he should do nothing.
This is a time when you must stand firm.
This is a time when you must and defend your rights but more important, defend the integrity of your country.
Ross Meurant

This is Mr Meurant's first blog post for TUMEKE! Next: Error of Judgement


Friday, November 23, 2012

Citizen A with Mike Lee & Julie Fairey - Labour Party meltdown

Citizen A with Mike Lee & Julie Fairey

Issue 1: What is the fall out from the Labour Party leadership meltdown?

Issue 2: How can Auckland make housing affordable?

and Issue 3: Key says he has left NZ in a better place than when he found it. Which begs the question, how on earth did he find it?

Citizen A broadcasts 7pm Thursday Triangle TV

Citizen A will move to Sky TV on their new public broadcasting channel 'Face TV' in 2013.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Hipkins must be demoted before ceasefire in Labour Party can become established

There must be peace in the Labour Party! 2014 is too important an election for the main opposition Party in the country to be torn in two, and for that peace to occur a de-escalation in hostilities must be taken up by the cooler heads in the Caucus.

I don't want to relitigate the issues as it just gets me so angry that a manufactured leadership coup by the media was manipulated by the ABCs to assault Cunliffe in the first place, so let's focus on the future.

My understanding is that Cunliffe has taken on board the criticisms thrown at him that he should have shot Gower down asap and Trotter gives some insight into the personality dynamics that drove Cunliffe in the Dominion Post on Friday. Cunliffe will take his punishment and work hard to regain the trust of Caucus, but if the civil war is to end there has to be two things that occur.

The first is that post the February vote, there has to be a clear pathway back to the front bench where his talents can be used, and the second has to be the demotion of Hipkins as whip.

That nasty little piece of work defamed Cunliffe and the New Lynn LEC (and many other LECs) should and will complain at the manner in which Hipkins defamed Cunliffe.

The other poisonous part of this is the leaking to Claire Trevett of a version of events by the ABCs that happened in the meeting that is actually false. Cunliffe was gagged from responding to anything yet here we have leaks from the ABCs spinning another false narrative.

If a clear path of redemption post the February vote for Cunliffe back to the Front Bench is not made and Hipkins is not demoted, then the Labour Party can expect the feeding frenzy against them on the Blogs to last all the way up until 2014.

It's time Shearer showed some actual leadership over this farce.


Eye for an eye, and part of the cheek, all the nose and several limbs

If what Israel is doing are 'surgical strikes' it looks like their Doctors do surgery by blindly swinging rusty chainsaws in kindergartens.

The latest spike in violence by an apartheid state like Israel would be universally condemned, but Israel being the 51st State of America gets to justify their brutal occupation in a bubble of hypocrisy.

Seeing as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak both tried to create a war on purpose in 2010, I don't think it's cynical to see this latest massacre of Palestinians as nothing more than an election campaign for Netanyahu.

The IDF propaganda machine that is David Farrar (and disturbingly FirstLine on TV3) pumps the justifications and crap rationals for the continued deaths of Palestinians while the Israeli Ambassador gets to spin without any real challenge.

The hopelessness and brutality inflicted upon the people of Gaza should shame the rest of us. Israel must be as isolated as South Africa and any incoming progressive Government must consider closing the Israeli embassy as a matter of principle.


NZ - 100% Middle Earth Animal Abuse?

NZs new flag after Key re-wrote labour laws for a foreign corporation.

I'd heard through the rumor mill that there had been animal deaths and that people weren't happy and suspect that the frantic denial of any wrong doing has a lot more to do with the absolute panic PETA can cause any movie stupid enough not to take care of their animals.

Pet people can become vicious and PETA as a lobby group have an enormous amount of influence. If they don't like what happened to animals involved in the Hobbit, they will declare open war on us when they find out what we do to caged chickens and pigs.

Did these animals get abused? Well based on the appalling way Peter Jackson treats his human workers, it doesn't seem that much of a stretch. You can see they are actually concerned by this with a counter media strategy that would make the IDF jealous, Jackson banned a RNZ journalist from attending the opening because their reporting wasn't sycophantic enough.

NZers recently surveyed showed that the Hobbit stirred a lot of criticism from many of them. The manufactured crisis at The Hobbit where Key and Jackson sang in unison that it was all the actors union fault turned out to be an utter falsehood once Peter Jacksons emails were released under the Official Information Act that showed it wasn't the Actors union who were the problem at all.

I think NZers felt they had been conned when Key re-wrote labour laws for Warner Bros and they turned a bit sour over Jackson as the constant promotion of his business started looking less patriotic and more cronyism.

The anti-union hysteria dutifully whipped up by the mainstream media was so ferocious you would need to go back to the 51 lockout for a recent example.

The problems with basing NZ's entire marketing image on a semi-racist Aryan fantasy written by a potty English professor was never really considered. It's happened because Key and Jackson are mates and because NZ needed to move away from 100% Pure because Key's Farmer mates have polluted our rivers so much so that we are more 40% pure, 60% cow shit now.

NZ - 100% Middle Earth Animal Abuse doesn't seem like an attractive tourism slogan now does it?


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

100 eyes for an eye

Gaza is a narrow strip with over a million refugees from episodes of Israeli intimidation and harassment, squeezed in. Israel is a Jewish state founded on the typical 19th century colonial basis of ethnic purity, land seizure and occupation, large-scale immigration from Europe and a large-scale containment, repression and exile of the other people already there. Israel is now dependent on immigration to maintain a dominant majority and they will not permit the vanquished Arabs in Gaza or any of the other millions of Palestinian refugees in neighbouring countries and the West Bank to return. In Australia this colonial ideology was dubbed the "White Australia Policy", in the United States it was called "Manifest Destiny", in South Africa they called it "Apartheid", in Israel they call it "Zionism" and in New Zealand and Canada - where conformist and incurious smugness combines with favourable comparisons to their bigger neighbours - their governments and European populations still can't bring themselves to acknowledge they are colonial entities let alone give a name to what they have been doing. [UPDATE: After some more thought the name of the colonial ideology in New Zealand is simply: "New Zealand". That is what the government mercenaries and kupapa were killing and dying for according to the memorials to the so-called "Maori Wars", not for the Queen of for the Empire, but for "New Zealand".]
The US and NZ and many other Western nations backed the creation of Israel against the wishes of every country in the region - and to the extent NZ still backs Israel (eg. by the NZ government inviting the Israelis to establish an embassy in Wellington, through trade, by participating in Israeli diplomatic stunts like orchestrated walk-outs on Iran etc.) then the NZ government too must have blood on its hands.
Gaza voted for a Hamas government in an election and for this democratic sin they have been collectively punished - blockaded on all sides (incl. the air and the sea) by Israel - an act of war.
"There is no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. So we are fully supportive of Israel's right to defend itself from missiles landing on people's homes and workplaces and potentially killing civilians.
"And we will continue to support Israel's right to defend itself," Obama said.
"My message [...] was Israel has every right to expect that it does not have missiles fired into its territory."
Commentary about Israel from the Americans occurs in a void inside a bubble of their own hypocrisy and Obama's remarks are typically callous and one-sided. No country on Earth - we might immediately respond - would tolerate being blockaded in the brutal manner Israel has to Gaza. Surely, Gaza has a right to defend itself too? But they aren't the chosen people, they're Arabs and they can be slaughtered en mass and at will on the whim of the IDF without any moral qualms it seems.
In this current conflict it appears that Israel is running out of legitimate targets and is going down the list in the way they did in 2008. Eventually they will be left blowing up schools and hospitals - like last time when they shelled UN-marked schools with banned chemical weapons.
And the local right wing Jews dutifully pump out the IDF propaganda:
More (from RT):
The IDF are the ones killing civilians here, not the Hamas-linked groups. It's 100+ dead Palestinians and about 3 Israelis. The IDF know full well that civilians will die when they hit the kill button on their American made and funded machines of war. In 2008 the IDF slaughtered 100 Arabs for every Jew. Does this mean they will kill another 200 Palestinians in Gaza?

Labour Party meltdown - winners, losers & predictions

Cunllife Solo at 5pm yesterday after being dealt with by Darth Shearer

I'm still trying to get the blood out of my socks as it was ankle deep on the floor of the Labour Party conference.

The factional abuse of the Labour Party is exactly like the Game of Thrones except with far more incest and violence.

So who are the winners and who are the losers here? It's a complicated picture with all factions winning and losing to some degree. Here are my observations from being at the conference and knowing many of the personalities involved.

Mainstream media:
The ability to manipulate and manufacture what occurred at the conference into a leadership coup complete with 'Dark Forces' from Vernan Small surprised even me.

How Patrick Gower asking Cunliffe 8 times in a row whether he was challenging Shearer equates into a leadership challenge shows the ease with which a lie echoed repeatedly can become fact.

Jane Clifton and Trevor Mallard are an item and if you read her version of events at the Listener, you can't honestly tell which one of them wrote it.

The power of the MSM to manufacture a crisis was used by the ABC to crucify Cunliffe. The MSMs interest was not in the facts of the modernization of the Labour Party, their interests became the demonization of Cunliffe and the generation of a false narrative.

The media walk away being one of the clear winners in this bloodbath, but it's the kind of 'win' you gain after machine gunning everyone else in the back.

The Blogs: For a medium that had been written off as nonsense, the Blogs became a vehicle for the frustration the wider left felt at the lack of actual political direction from Shearer.

The Pagani doctrine and third way Blairite Welfare bashing complete with an imaginary beneficiary on a roof had left Labour looking less and less like the party Members and Unions wanted to be a part of. That exasperation was voiced on the Blogs.

If anything the Blogs have forced Labour an inch to the left with Labour's cheap housing for children of the middle classes and they have shown the leadership that they have a level of influence previously not seen.

Before the rise of the Blogs, disaffected members had only bitching down at the pub after a conference to fuel discontent, in the new social media world Blogs have an impact well beyond that and can energize the members needed to win in 2014.

When the debris of this massacre is cleared away, the leadership need to rethink their social media strategy.

Emotional violence: Who said the vicious power of emotional violence doesn't work in Politics? The venom spewed out by that nasty little piece of work Chris Hipkins shows how real politics works. Denigrate and demonize ones opponents and then sink the fangs in deep.

The terror created by this style of violence stuns detractors within the Party, and it works. Look at how Mike Smith on The Standard is now using that same tactic on the New Lyn LEC.

In the bear pit of politics, emotional violence silences opposition. It is a reminder to anyone seeking political office that when challenging the vested interests of the establishment, you need skin so thick it's steel plated.

Labour's Neoliberal old guard: The real winners here are Labour's neoliberal goons of yesteryear. When confronted by a real challenge by members and Unions, they responded by saddling the media manufactured 'leadership coup' and crucified the one MP who had challenged the orthodoxy of free market politics.

The grip this group (quaintly referred to as the ABC's) has within Labour has now been cemented in the short term and their purge against anyone thought to be a Cunliffe supporter will ensure their complete domination of the direction of the Party.

The Unions & the Labour Membership: Long term, they are victors. They have forced change upon the Labour Party leadership, but their victory has come at a terrible cost.

In the short term, the Party and Unions will be punished for daring to become more democratic. You can see that currently in the denouncement by MPs of Moria Coatsworth's evaluation that the leadership coup was a media beat up.

In the long term the members and unions will flex their new political muscle, but those are fruits to be savored after a couple of years of a nuclear winter.

MANA & The Greens: I wouldn't be surprised if there is a mass move by left voters away from Labour to MANA or the Greens.

I've been surprised by how many commentators on The Standard have voiced support for MANA in the wake of this, it also says something about the Greens who manage to hold a leadership vote every year without ripping themselves to pieces.

The wider balance of power to challenge the Government in 2014 won't be damaged (Labour voters won't go to National in the wake of this) but Labour are most vulnerable to attacks from the left.

The left of the Labour Party:
While forcing the Caucus to the left, they have been bloodied and broken and won't get a chance to regain control of the Party until the old neoliberal guard are removed or demoted. That isn't likely in the short or medium term.

Democracy: When you consider that Cunliffe's ultimate crime was not to publicly declare who he would vote for in a secret ballot that will be held in 3 months, Democracy itself was the main loser from all of this.

As Brian Edwards righteously points out...

This fact seems to have escaped the country’s political journalists who could see nothing wrong in demanding that Cunliffe tell them who he intended to vote for in a secret ballot three months from now.

The modernization of the Labour Party, to open it up to members and unions was a great victory, but the backlash has eroded that victory to a mere symbolism for the short term.

David Shearer: The sham confidence vote is not what strong leaders do.

Shearer made a great speech at the conference and finally suggested he had listened to the demands to articulate a left wing political vision, however his management of the witch hunt has caused divisions the Party hasn't seen since the 1980s.

Brian Edwards again...

A little bird (not David Cunliffe) has told me that in the run-up to today’s emergency caucus meeting a number of Labour MPs, probably a majority, were rung by David Shearer or one of his apparatchiks seeking a cast-iron guarantee that they would be supporting Shearer today and in the constitutionally mandatory confidence vote in February.

This is both unethical and against Labour’s constitution. It makes nonsense of today’s ‘unanimous’ vote. And it makes nonsense of the February vote. If a majority of Labour MPs have yielded to this monstrous piece of bullying, that vote has in effect already been taken. Should Shearer prove a disaster over the next three months those MPs who assured him of their support in February will have no choice but to stand by him, regardless of the damage this might do to the Party.

...and Gordon Campbell...

According to one of RNZ’s Morning Report hosts this morning, David Shearer “needs to stamp his authority” on the Labour caucus over the David Cunliffe affair. Well, when people feel the need to stamp their authority on something, it usually means they don’t bring natural authority to the table, and have to over-compensate. Feeling the need to stamp your authority is usually a sign of weakness, not strength.

Not only are the attacks on Cunliffe looking disproportionate to his alleged sins, but demonising him will mean that the caucus is willing to throw overboard one of its few capable public performers and political assets. Yep, let’s keep Trevor Mallard but do our level best to end Cunliffe’s career, once and for all. That makes sense. Let’s crack down on Cunliffe but continue to let Shane Jones publicly go after our coalition allies if they dare to criticise one of his corporate donors. That’s the right thing to do.

Shearer won the battle, but the open wound on the Blogs will become quickly septic.

The real problems for Shearer are the exact same problems that generated all the resentment towards his leadership in the first place. Yes he's taken a step to the left (marginally) and yes he performed well at the Conference, but outside of that Conference has his ability to articulate that vision gotten better? Not much.

The question still becomes can he foot it one on one with Key and we have yet to see an actual answer to that.

The emotional violence meted out to Cunliffe by Mallard and Hipkins has the Party in a state of shock and awe which will quickly turn to outrage. Whatever Cunliffe's shortcomings, they must be preferable to the Party than the psychopaths prepared to wage this kind of war in public.

The reality for everyone concerned is how to move forward so that this Government gets kicked out in 2014, to that end cooler heads will be calculating issues over the Summer.

Possibility 1 - Shearer the King: This lifts Shearer and he becomes a latter day David Lange who powerfully articulates with passion a new vision for the country and he is swept into power in 2014.

For this to happen, Shearer needs to sit down and be intensively media trained. This should have happened in the first 3 months of his leadership, it clearly hasn't. He also needs to create a new social media strategy and have that person start reaching out to the Blogs with the appreciation that they are influencing the debate now and need to be brought back onside.

He needs to mollify the Party by adopting some more of their big ideas combined with a Labour Relations policy that gives the Unions more teeth.

Cunliffe's supporters need promotions and eventually Cunliffe needs to be restored to the front bench before the next election.

Odds of this happening? Based on the vicious response to being forced to become more democratic you would have to rate the odds of this as very low.

Possibility 2 - Cunliffe the Challenger: The Polls take a dive and Shearer continues to stumble through interviews with all the grace of a stunned bird after flying into a window.

This is seized upon by the Blogs, and the drumbeat for a leadership challenge in February start the call for Cunliffe to challenge.

This option has risks. The venom spat out by the ABCs wouldn't end, they have the most to lose from this and would never accept a change without damaging the Party permanently.

Odds of this happening will become a certainty if Shearer trips up in the next 3 months.

Possibility 3 - Robertson/Ardern ticket: For those not in the ABC or Cunliffe Camp, they will be watching this blood letting in despair.

Imagine the following scenario. The Robertson/Ardern ticket reach out to Cunliffe and to the Party. They offer Cunliffe Finance in exchange for his factions support in a leadership challenge that sees Grant as leader and Jacinda as deputy. It appeals to the Party because it ends the attacks and allows peace to break out.

Odds of this happening? Seeing as the only person who walks out of this factional fighting stronger is Robertson, the change of personal would give Labour the face lift they desperately need and after the last 48 hours, anything is possible.

If only the left could fight Key with as much energy as they fight each other. 2014 must be the focus and NZ is screaming out for leadership. It's a pity that Labour haven't been able to provide that to date.


What now for the Stephen McIntyre case?

As reported in the HoS in the weekend the next step in the Stephen McIntyre case is to lodge a formal complaint with IPCA. I'll meet with two of their investigators this week to evaluate how independent the process is. The last thing his friends and whanau want is a whitewash.

I would like to thank the HoS, Russell Brown and Radio One for picking this issue up and highlighting it.

Every single reason the Police have offered up to what and why they were at Stephen's house on the 16th July are provably doubtful.

The first justification for being at Stephen's house was the claim they were simply checking on Stephen's bail conditions, but Stephen did not have any curfew. His only condition was that he resided at his address. Stephen's lawyer points out this is the first case he's ever heard of Police checking on bail conditions with someone who didn't have any curfew.

The second justification for being at Stephen's house was the claim when they were there that they could smell marijuana but chose not to use that as a reason to search Stephen's house. This is doubtful because on the 22nd June according to their own fact sheet of Stephen's arrest at Green Cross, that is the exact justification they used to search the office.

On the 22nd June the 'we smell cannabis' was justification enough to search the offices of Green Cross, yet on the 16th July it suddenly stopped being a reason to search his house?


7 other eyewitnesses in the house at the time, Stephen's widow, their two teenage sons and the 4 guitar students Stephen was teaching guitar to all attest there was no marijuana being smoked at the house at all. I contend to readers that the Police lied about smelling marijuana because if they could, they would have searched his house again and would have picked up an easy arrest. They said they could smell it to threaten Stephen.

The third justification for being at Stephen's house is the most demonstrably false. The Police claim they were there to find out who Stephen's lawyer was, as Stephen's lawyer has pointed out, the Police knew full well he was representing Stephen. He had been there on the 22nd, he appeared for Stephen in Court and he had contacted the Police twice to discuss the case. The pretense they were there to innocently ask who Stephen's lawyer was is a bare faced lie.

Then we have Stephen's account where he claims the Police asked how he was pleading, threatened more charges if he didn't plead guilty and claimed to be able to smell marijuana.

Less than a week after that intimidation, Stephen was dead.

My interest in this case goes beyond Stephen being my friend. Every citizen should be deeply concerned over the Police tactics in this case. Do we really want a Police force that turns up on your doorstep at night and asks how you intend to plea in a case while threatening more charges if you plead innocent?

That's the sort of tactics of a Police force out of control and we have seen numerous examples recently of the Police acting as if they are a power unto themselves.

The illegal spying during the Urewera fiasco, purposely deceiving the Courts in the Red Devils case, the jaw dropping incompetence over the Kim Dotcom case and involvement of the GCSB and the recent report into the sexist culture of the Police inspired by the investigation into the pack rape culture of the 1980s that found Police aren't changing.

If we as citizens don't stand up and demand accountability from the Police then we are part of the problem. A complaint to IPCA is the first step towards that.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The crucifixion of David Cunliffe

Artists impression of how the caucus vote went. Hipkins argued if Cunliffe survived drowning, then he was a witch.

The white smoke rising from the Caucus meeting after the sham leadership vote was Cunliffe's beard being burnt. It took a little longer for the meeting to start because Cunliffe's ribcage wouldn't crack right open and Mallard & Hipkins were fighting over his earlobes for trophies.

The media generated leadership crisis caused because the Journalists didn't take any notice of what members were wanting leading up to the conference was manufactured into a coup with 'dark forces' and the ABC clique took the opportunity to kill Cunliffe off.

In the end Shearer did not take the advice of Robert Winter or even Brian Edwards and kicked the only star performer he has in his Caucus off the front bench.

If Shearer thinks this abuse of one of his own at the manipulation of the msm and those dead wood MPs desperate to keep their own necks safe has allowed him to 'move on', just pop over to The Standard and see how well that's panning out.

The only winners here are the Green Party and the MANA Party as members watch the only MP articulating a left wing political vision get stomped in the face.

Kia Kaha Mr Cunliffe - it's an ugly day when good people get mugged and left to bleed in the street.

On a more positive note, I suppose it was the best TV interview Shearer's given. It's a thin silver lining, but when the cloud is shaped like a mushroom, you take what you can get.

Based on what Gower created, Labour can also be thankful Slater wasn't allowed into the Conference. If Paddy could manufacture a leadership crisis, Whaleoil could've triggered a mass suicide in Caucus.

Today's Caucus meeting was brought to you by the letters B-A-C-K-L-A-S-H.


Scenes from Shearer Strikes Back

In a Labour Party Caucus far far away....
Princess Ardern is concerned Labour's poll ratings are as frozen solid as Hoth
Granto Robertrissian becomes concerned the deal he's cut with Darth Shearer is causing the Party to meltdown.
Moira Coatsworth isn't happy either.
Boba Mallard explaining to Darth Shearer that he'll handle the media. "The dark side of the force is very strong in Patrick Gower."
Bounty Hunter Chris Hissock is sent to hunt down Cunliffe Solo
Darth Shearer "Cunliffe, I am old enough to be your father".
Cunllife Solo at 4.10pm today


How gay

John Key has just twittered:
John Key1h
I'm catching up with President Obama at the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh
And then he posts this picture:
That's a really, really shiny pink shirt right there. Now who gets to make the poof jokes!


Radio New Zealand has put out job vacancies for "online content producers" for what they describe as "Youth online". The positions report to a "Youth Online Project Sponsor (CEO)" with a post set-up manager to be confirmed. A radio network - and a public broadcaster - employing a team just to do stuff online doesn't make sense. Reading between the lines this is the beginning of my co-blogger's long-held dream of a RNZ Youth radio network. Congratulations are - hopefully - in order.
 "YR CEO" as the reference? It looks obvious to me, anyway, that this is something bigger than a web page buried at rnz.co.nz. There's little chance this team are going to be gathering and making all this new content just to have it distributed online. As for the frequencies and when they will be in a position to roll it out, I haven't a clue. I imagine it will be run entirely off current RNZ resources and focussed on the main centres.

With the funding for RNZ capped under National this effort must have been an uphill battle internally - at least at a budget level. Any incoming government of the centre-left now has a base upon which to transform online into on air if it has not already reached that stage.

Of the many questions arising the main one is: what age band of youth will be the target demographic?

The Shearer Empire Strikes Back

David Cunllife at 4.10pm today

After the euphoria of the Labour Party rebels beating the Leadership Death Star at the conference by forcing MPs to be more democratic and have to listen to members and unions I should have seen the vicious response brewing.

I didn't.

The Shearer Empire has struck back.

That nasty little piece of work, Chris Hipkins should be done for defamation for lying that Cunliffe was disloyal to two leaders and he should be taken to the NZ Council for his disgusting public attack on Cunliffe who has been one of the few Labour Party MPs who has actually performed.

By the way, whatever else happens over the next 2 years Mr Hipkins, I'm almost certain that you'll get yours.

Little creeps always do.

Let's be 1000% clear here shall we? This is a manufactured leadership crisis by the media.

There. Was. No. Leadership. Challenge!

Patrick Gower asking David Cunliffe 'Are you going to challenge Shearer? Are you going to challenge Shearer? Are you going to challenge Shearer? Are you going to challenge Shearer? Are you going to challenge Shearer? Are you going to challenge Shearer? Are you going to challenge Shearer? Are you going to challenge Shearer?' doesn't a leadership challenge make.

The media who were present had ignored the building tensions that were being expressed on the blogs that the rank and file wanted a 40% threshold and a real say in the Party. Tumeke pointed that out in September, but the MSM couldn't see the nuance and so when the shock of what was actually going on sunk in, they saw it and reported it all as some grand leadership conspiracy being orchestrated by David Cunliffe.

There. Was. No. Leadership. Challenge!

Confusing members and unions wanting real say in the Party for a conspiracy where 'dark forces' as Vernan Small ridiculously called it could take over Labour would be hilarious if the ramifications weren't so evil.

Isn't it interesting how all the right wing mainstream media pundits present had all supported Shearer before the conference and surprise, surprise they rip Cunliffe to shreds.

Todays leadership challenge is a kangaroo court sham, and after the show trial Cunliffe and his supporters will be led outside and shot.

Cunliffe's supposed crime of disloyalty? Not announcing how he will vote in a secret ballot 3 months from now. As Brian Edwards righteously points out in his brilliant blog on the issue...

This fact seems to have escaped the country’s political journalists who could see nothing wrong in demanding that Cunliffe tell them who he intended to vote for in a secret ballot three months from now. Leaving aside the constitutional absurdity of the question, it seemed to escape their notice that Cunliffe does not have a crystal ball to tell him what the state of the parties will be in February 2013, how well Shearer will be faring in the Preferred Prime Minister polls or anything at all about the political landscape against which the ballot will be conducted.

...so Cunliffe is being crucified at 4pm today for not revealing who he will vote for in a secret ballot 3 months from now.

Just think about the extraordinary injustice of that.

I had honestly believed that Shearer had finally listened to the members and unions that they wanted a left wing political vision articulated after all the Pagani beneficiary bashing that defined his first year. The housing policy was great and Shearer presented it without the possum in the headlights look he's adopted in the past, but to take their vengeance at being forced to become more democratic out on Cunliffe goes beyond opportunistic, it's hateful.

By executing Cunliffe and punishing his supporters, Labour are sowing the seeds for a bitter harvest, the first shoots of which will blossom on the blogs.

What a terribly misjudged response to a manufactured leadership crisis.


Monday, November 19, 2012

To bed... To sleep, perchance to Dream

It is remarkable that at a conference at which the leader of the party is universally said to have performed well, at which a level of wider democratic participation is agreed upon to elect the leader, and at which an election plank housing policy was launched could have resulted in such a public blood bath. You have to hand it to the them (and they would prefer you hand them a knife) - nobody does factional infighting like the NZLP.

Like returning from a wonderful evening out only to be told later on the way home that they were all talking shit about you behind your back. And it was such a nice party. What a downer. And it has all been self-inflicted - a frenzy of fratricide. The ructions have been open and seething online today.

It's all Cunliffe's fault... for being Cunliffe, apparently. And it wouldn't have started if Shearer wasn't at fault... for being Shearer. What an inglorious mess.

I heard Cunliffe on RNZ this morning saying he expected a caucus vote at the earliest and that Shearer would win a leadership vote in caucus - and that it would be unanimous. So it shouldn't be much of a shock to read this afternoon on Labour's website that Shearer has moved:
Labour Leader David Shearer has called his caucus to a meeting in Wellington at 4pm tomorrow.
“I will be seeking the endorsement of my colleagues for the Labour leadership.
“The endorsement I’m seeking will be in line with the decision made by Labour Party members at this weekend’s conference that I must have at least 60% support of the caucus.
“A formal endorsement vote will also still be held in February in accordance with the new rules approved by Party members.
“I’m holding this vote tomorrow to demonstrate that I have the support of my caucus and to put recent speculation to bed.
“It is important that these matters are resolved so that Labour can lift its sights to focus on the serious challenges facing the country, including jobs, education and housing affordability,” said David Shearer.

Note this is not the caucus or the Labour caucus, this is "his caucus". The problem is the "recent speculation" of which he speaks has been stoked primarily by his own supporters - not just the hysteria of Paddy Gower and the parliamentary press pack. It is a resolution to a matter already resolved and therefore an empty gambit. It won't give any sense of a clearing of the air and so has little value beyond a formal recognition of what happened at the weekend's conference. Another coat of varnish on the veneer of power.

Shearer is older, he had his mates (like Phil Goff) at the top of the table to let him in - so he had no time to lose because of his age and he had to take it because the circumstances were he may never have the opportunity again.  Cunliffe on the other hand is a bit younger, doesn't have many mates at the top table and so he can afford to wait for circumstances (like the opinion polls) to change.

As for the speech itself - riddled with the usual cliches - but the substantive policies were BIG policies.  Government part-funding of 100,000 new houses and making landlords insulate their rental properties is a huge move that will cost billions and positively affect hundreds of thousands of lower income people. The procurement policy is a veiled domestic-preference for tendering but could have a life-saving impact on some businesses. Mandatory enrolment in Kiwisaver is another biggie, but far less controversial as the Nats had flagged it as a possibility. Monetary policy and the RBNZ changing to consider the exchange rate (rather than just inflation) is on the cards. A Capital Gains Tax looks locked in; but by exclusion we see a financial transaction tax is not (this still leaves Mana with a few unstolen policies! Read Minto's on FTT).