June 2009

Anyone up for a flight on an Airbus?

Not bloody likely right now. Far too many in too short a space of time have fallen out of the sky for my liking.

The latest crash of an Airbus was into rough seas off the Comoros Islands.

Air Bus Tui Ad

 

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Foreshore law failing Maori, should be scrapped: Report

Foreshore law failing Maori, should be scrapped: ReportA review of the controversial Foreshore and Seabed Act says it should be repealed. The 150-page report said the law failed to recognise Maori property rights as recognised by the courts and advanced the general interests of the… [NZ Herald Politics]

Finally we get the recommendations from the review committee. There are four options;

They recommend the Act be repealed, and offer four options for consideration:

  1. Do nothing further – leave the Court of Appeal decision intact and allow claims to be made to the Maori Land Court.  This option is not favoured.
  2. Have a staged settlement with negotiations between Hapu/Iwi and the Crown – basically add this to the historic grievances to be settled. They say if this happens, there needs to be provision for public input to safeguard rights of access etc.
  3. A national settlement along the lines of the fisheries and aquaculture settlements.
  4. A mixed model that combines a number of discrete components: a national settlement, allocation of rights and interests, local co-management, and an ability to gain more specific access and use rights. This is preferred.

My preferred Option is Option 1. This was the position before Labour egregiously changed the law with just 4 days notice. It should be the position that remains after the law is repealed.

This law was never about the beaches and always about the removal of a group of citizens to seek redress in the courts. There was no guarantee that any court would have awarded title and Labour panicked.

There is almost no case for a “settlement” and could be seen as just another treaty gravy train process to be milked.

The Maori Party has done well to garner enough support to overturn this legislation and good on them. Their supporters have been rewarded for their loyalty in the face of some pretty treacherous actions from Labour the party that previously claimed to be the only one to represent Maori interests.

Labour with their high and mighty attitude will no doubt scaremonger against the recommendations. I hope they do, so we can see once and for their condescension toward Maori.

Restore the status quo and let Maori take their chances in the courts like every other citizen.

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McCoskrie finds money for Referendum

That cunning little do-gooder Bob McCoskrie has found the funds necessary to pay for the referendum. Actually it is pretty clever thinking. Here is his presser about it.

$9 Million Found To Cover Referendum

Family First NZ says that Treasury figures reveal that $52 million has been budgeted for social policy advice for the financial year and that only a portion of this is needed to cover the cost of the Referendum.

“The upcoming Referendum is simply an outcome of political deafness but its cost is covered under projected government spending,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“$52 million has been budgeted for Social Policy Advice under the Social Development Vote, and includes ‘the provision of information to, and discussion for, the public and other agencies on social policy issues’.

“The anti-smacking law is a massive social issue which has affected the role of parents and the functioning of families. The Referendum will allow the public to finally have a say on this issue after being completely ignored by the politicians.”

“Getting the anti-smacking law right will also have economic benefits. Latest figures on child abuse reported in the Christchurch Press show an incredible 2/3’rds of notifications to CYF requiring no further action.”

“By correcting the anti-smacking law to avoid unnecessary investigation and intervention, and with $433 million being budgeted for CYF according to Treasury papers, the $9 million on the Referendum is not just about a flawed law but correcting an expensive exercise in mis-defining real abuse.”

“We can now refer to the Referendum as Social Policy Advice,” says Mr McCoskrie. “Its cost is covered.”

Cameron Brewer – Austin Powers and Clark Kent?

Veteran media whore Cameron Brewer is in demand…he is described as a cross between Clark Kent and Austin Power.

However I don’t think even Cameron Brewer with his messiah like qualities could manage to talk up Lower Hutt. Perhaps this is a role for Trevor Mallard who I know is just beside himself reconciling his place on the opposition benches.

Richard Long goes Turkey Shooting

Richard Long goes on a turkey hunt against the gobblers of the left moaing about Crushers Container Prisons or Crim Tins as I like to call them. He has no shortage of targets with them all gobbling away begging to be shot at.

Why only two to a cell? When that suggestion replaced the blackboard menu outside a cafe in Ngaio, Wellington, a few months ago, it was clear the Government had won the “lock them up and throw away the key” argument.

Ngaio is one of those Labour- voting leafy suburbs, adjoining Wadestown, home of the chardonnay socialists. If the liberals cannot win the penal debate in these areas, then they have lost it completely.

Accordingly, when former Labour Party president Mike Williams was complaining on television at the weekend about the dangers of prison double- bunking, and described the new modular container prison cells as “Dickensian”, he was baying, so to speak, into the wind.

What on earth was Mike Williams asked for anyway? More importantly where is the current Labour President…hasn’t he just disappeared?

So was penal reformer Peter Williams when he fronted up on prime-time television against Corrections Minister Judith Collins. She has always been regarded as a bit of a shrieker, but she sat calmly, with a wan smile, while Peter Williams went completely over the top on the evil, degrading container cells proposal, predicting it would all end in failure and tears.

Out of touch, and out to lunch while we enjoy the turkey club sandwiches.

The critics lose touch with the electorate on this. They leave the impression that, even if Corrections offered to house their clients in the Holiday Inn and the Intercontinental, Messrs Williams and Williams would still find fault with the wine list.

The overall electorate view is that prisoners have it sweet. While many financially stretched households are turning off the heaters and curbing food bills, they view prisoners as having an easy life, in centrally heated accommodation, with three good meals a day.

Many will no doubt reason that, if more prisoners have to double-bunk, it might be a rather big disincentive to going to jail in the first place. The prospect of sharing your cell with a nasty piece of low life might help slow the escalation in the prison population – estimated to climb from the present 8300 to 12,500 by 2018.

Exactly, nothing would encourage me more to obey the law than the thoughts of sharing a 6m square cell with a 200kg prisoner named Bubba.

As for the container cells, taxpayers will welcome the cost reductions. At $248 a day, it costs as much to accommodate prisoners in our Corrections system as it would to put them up in a good hotel. The cost of the Spring Hill facility was a staggering $643,000 a bed. Plugging in the container cells to existing prison facilities with the infrastructure to support additional inmates will cost only $53,000 to $63,000 a bed.

AN ADVANTAGE of moving in this direction at the moment, with the world economic downturn, is that ports are littered with excess containers. And it was a brilliant touch to suggest that prisoners could learn rehabilitation skills by helping to adapt the containers for their own use.

Corrections chief Barry Matthews won further points when he was asked what prisoners thought of the container proposal. “I’m not interested in what the prisoners think,” he said.

Finally someone in the media gets the numbers right, rather than simply repeating the numbers that Clayton Cosgrove reefed out of is arse. On Barry Mtthews, he certainly needed some points as he was certainly plumbing the depths of low scores until he saw the light and endorsed Crusher’s thoughts. I think he must have felt the cold steely stare of the Minister for longer than he cared to and has now had a subsequent attitude adjustment.

By harping on about “Dickensian” prison conditions, Labour is managing to leave the impression that it wants to indulge prisoners with spa pools and feather pillows. It would be a better political tactic to concentrate on more effective rehabilitation programmes in a bid to reduce our awful recidivism rate of about 70 per cent.

Oh they do, they do, heated floors, Plasma TV’s….that is prisons under Labour. I and the electorate by the looks of it prefer Crushers vision for our prisons.

Pay gap protested at Parliament

Pay gap protested at ParliamentAbout 200 people braved freezing temperatures outside Parliament today to protest the lack of pay equity. [Stuff Politics]

Oh just shut up already. Labour and their flunkies are bemoaning the cancellation of another do nothing committee that in nine years of the socialists achieved precisely zero.

If Labour were really serious about pay equity they would ahve fixed it already when in government. Now they can just STFU.

Own Goal by Hipkins

PM flies first class, says it’s Labour’s faultPrime Minister John Key’s first trip as Prime Minister to the Apec meeting in Peru and then to London to meet the Queen cost $96,841 – but he’s blaming part of the cost on first-class flights booked by the Labour Government. Information… [NZ Herald Politics]

Chris Hipkins has been a busy little lickspittle filing endless silly Questions to ministers in an attempt to beat up almost anything. The sad little ginga even joined in the witch-hunt on flight expenses and there he came undone exposing the extravengance of his former boss, who we have now found out liked to fly First Class.

Information provided in response to questions from Labour’s Chris Hipkins show Mr Key’s international travel from election day to May 7 totalled $148,595 for four trips.

The total bill for all ministers’ international travel over that period was $707,581. It included airfares, accommodation, other expenses and the costs of any accompanying staff, MPs or spouses.

Days after forming the new government, Mr Key flew first class last November for his first trip as Prime Minister, to the Apec meeting and then to London – a one week trip which cost $96,841.

The paper says bookings for the Prime Ministerial first class travel were made under the previous Labour administration when Helen Clark was Prime Minister “and in accordance with the standard practice of that administration.”

Bwahahahaha, own goal spectacular. Nice to know too that it was standard practice of the socialists to trough it up hugely in First Class all the while looking through the bottoms of their chardonnay glasses at the peasants who suffered high taxes to pay for it. Pigs in a Trough.

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Herald Editorial: Govt mustn't give way on league tables

Editorial: Govt mustn’t give way on league tablesState educationists go to extraordinary lengths to resist the ranking of schools in what they disparagingly call “league tables”. The Primary Principals Federation says its members might refuse to file results of new national standards… [NZ Herald Politics]

Labour are sure picking some strange fights.

Trevor Mallard has decided that he and Labour must protect at all costs the reputations and honour of loyal unionists and fight the release of information school performance in National Standards Tests.

Educationists, in other words, are not looking at tests in the same way that parents do. The professionals, in so far as they accept comparative measurements, want to know the school is performing well enough for one in its social situation. Caring parents want to know their child is in a good school.

League tables are a perfectly legitimate tool from the parents’ point of view. A good school for their child is one where high standards are maintained and if the pupils come with advantages, so much the better. If some schools have to work harder than others to bring most of their pupils to the desired standards, so be it. Parents want results.

Exactly. DPF points out though how we might usefully implement Trevor’s suggestion across all of the State Sector. Trevor must really, really hate being in opposition, never mind though he will have at least three terms to come to grips with his feelings of loathing for the opposition benches.

Labour and their union buddies just keep on choosing battles they cannot possibly win, and long may that continue.

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Did you know?

A cool video on the progression of technology.

 

Quitters need not apply

The race is on for a new National Party President, kind of. The National Party has called for nominations for the Board of the Party. The President is then selected from the successful Board members by the successful Board members. Gone are the days of the Slater vs Boag true presidential style race (and marketing and lobbying that goes with it). Or have they?

I understand that there are murmurings about the hallowed halls and amongst the party flock that Wira Gardiner is the anointed one (by Key) – at least that’s what his backers will tell you. Wira Gardiner is furiously trying to make friends with lots of party apparatchiks on Facebook and inviting them to lunchs and dinners in a desperate bid to get himself elected to the board.

I am just a little concerned that Wira is even seen to be a viable candidate to be a Board member, let alone the next National Party President.

  1. Wira is the classic fair-weather friend. Wira is the man who has quit the Party numerous times. Off the top of my head I can think of 2002 (when he realised that English wasn’t after all the friend to Maori he’d set him up to be (the positioning that arguably contributed to the 2002 crushing defeat)), then he quit again when Brash continued the promotion of “One standard of citizenship for all”
  2. Wira is seriously conflicted. His wife Hekia Parata is an MP. If he is President his role is first to the Party, to the membership and the organization – not to the Parliamentary arm. Also, any time Wira flies with his wife then how are we to know if he is flying as a spouse or if he is flying as President of the Party. I can see the potential wrangles with Parliamentary Services abound already.

Throwing your toys and having conflicts of interest aren’t a good look for any prospective board member let alone the President. The National Party has traditionally eschewed Presidents considered to have close links with caucus preferring instead to have an arms length relationship between the aprty and caucus.

My Wellington spies tell me that Wira’s team is suggesting that the Prime Minister would back him to be President if he makes it to the Board table, and that the PM himself will nominate Wira.

Well, in some ways I can see why John Key might do this. It’s certainly a great way to ensure that the Parliamentary wing of the party is stronger than the membership and organizational arm. The conflict of having a wife as an MP ensures that Wira will put the interests of the MPs ahead of the membership, or at least that will be the perception. And, as we all know perception plays a crucial role in politics.

I still think the greatest risk of National Party members even electing Wira for the Board is that he’ll quit when the going gets tough, or if he disagrees with a policy direction. How many National Party grassroots members and activists have seen the Party through the good times and the bad? Well, guess what? Wira hasn’t and doesn’t do that. He’s your fair weather friend.

When you vote for your board members list Wira Gardnier dead last, just like he has rated the party when things got tough.

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