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No new taxes, except the two that aren’t. And then we don’t know where the money goes. No, it’s not Labour launching policy

Partial transcript from The Nation:

When political editor Patrick Gower talked with Finance Minister Bill English yesterday, he began by asking if National had misled voters.

Bill English: No, we didn’t. The airport levy is a user charge. And across government, we have user charges for all sorts of things. We’ve been changing, for instance, the charge on passports. I don’t think anyone would suggest that that’s a new tax. And in this case, we’ve got demand at the border – lots more people turning up. It’s a problem of success. We’ve got biosecurity risks, and so we’ve taken the opportunity to shift the cost from the taxpayer to the user.

Patrick Gower: So it’s a charge at the airport, so every cent of that will go back to airport security. Is that what you’re saying? Every cent of that, just like a passport charge, because that’s what a charge is?

Well, that’s yet to be seen just exactly where it all goes, but the users are certainly going— Read more »

French parliament: Let them eat cake [POLL]

France’s parliament has voted unanimously to ban food waste in big supermarkets, notably by outlawing the destruction of unsold food products.

Under the legislation passed on Thursday, as part of a broader law on energy and the environment, supermarkets will be forced to donate any unsold but still edible food goods to charity or for use as animal feed or farming compost.

All large-sized supermarkets will have to sign contracts with a charity group to facilitate food donations.

“It’s scandalous to see bleach being poured into supermarket dustbins along with edible foods,” Socialist member of parliament Guillaume Garot, who sponsored the bill, said.

At present, some grocery stores are pouring bleach in bins after throwing away food to make it unfit for consumption.

French people throw away between 20 to 30 kilos of food per person per year costing an estimated $13m to $22m annually, according to the AFP news agency.

The government is hoping to slice food waste in half by 2025. Read more »


Mediaworks management realistic about John Campbell

MediaWorks management viewed Campbell Live’s crusading journalism as a liability that stretched audience patience, company sources say.

The show’s ongoing coverage of Pike River, where 29 men died in a 2010 explosion at a West Coast coal mine, was specifically singled out by management as having led to viewer “fatigue”.

The term “fatigue” struck a sour note last night with Bernie Monk, spokesman for families of the dead mine workers.

“I can’t believe that would be one of the aspects of getting rid of John,” he said.

“Sure Campbell Live covered a lot of it but TV One did a hell of a lot too and they are still willing to do that.

“Campbell Live was a great ally in getting the truth out and I felt he was never over the top or on a crusade by any means.”

The review by management – which concluded on Thursday with host John Campbell leaving the network and the show facing replacement within the next six weeks – also considered Campbell Live over-emphasised charitable fundraising and coverage of the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake, GCSB spying and child poverty.

They’ve labelled it the “GCSB”, but it was of course Campbell’s obsession to bring John Key down at the behest of Kim Dotcom and with the help of stellar performers such as Wrongly Wrongson. Read more »

The “Decade of Whaleoil” series: Key v John Campbell

Decade of Whaleoil

Decade of Whaleoil

June 6 2015 marks the day Whaleoil has been publishing for ten years.   I can’t account for the earlier weeks and months, but there haven’t been any days without content for close to a decade, that’s for sure.  I thought it might be fun to go back through the videos and relive some interesting moments in politics.

With John Campbell on the way out, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this highlights package Whaleoil placed on YouTube in August last year.
Read more »

Watching you die taught me how to live better – Garner

by Pete


A remarkable piece written by Duncan Garner in the Dom Post today.  If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s here in full.

So, Dad, it’s five years ago this week that you died of cancer. You passed away in Wellington’s Mary Potter Hospice, after a brave nine-month battle.

You won’t know this, but I was asleep on the floor beside your bed when the nurse came in at 4am and said you had slipped away. I was heartbroken, mate – and I still have days when I really miss you.

I’ll never forget pushing you in your bed, through the hospice, to the waiting funeral directors. You died on Budget day 2010 – so I’ll always remember Budget days for the wrong reason.

Anyway, I just wanted to write to tell you about the last five years. Your death, aged just 63, gave me some real perspective.

I quit being a political reporter not long after – I realised Parliament was a ridiculous place to work and it was killing me. At your funeral plenty of people spoke about you – but no one mentioned your work or how hard you worked. At the end that’s not what matters or how your life is judged. Your funeral left a lasting impression on me.

It’s not that I don’t work hard any more, but I strive to find more work-life balance and prioritise what’s actually important in life.

We are so busy hitting each other over the head every day, it’s easy to remember that we all have real struggles in life that extend far beyond a ponytail pull, a fraudulently signed painting, and even leaking some docs to a journo because she’s giving you the glad eye.   Read more »

Mental Health Break

Comment of the Day


Richard said

Sue Bradford wants benefits lifted to the same levels as superannuation, indexed to the average wage instead of inflation.

So she effectively wants the retirement age lowered to 16?