Will NZ First survive Peters’ departure?

AMONG his constituency – particularly the grey vote – he has cultivated a huge reservoir of brand loyalty and trust. If you heard it once on the campaign trail you heard it a thousand times. Winston will see us oldies right.

But whether voters will ever come to believe that of the largely unrecognisable faces behind Peters is questionable.  Peters has not helped NZ First’s cause – or the chances of it surviving as his legacy – by reinventing his caucus every three years.

Partly that is due to NZ First’s highs and lows. Its ranks were decimated after the 1999 election, and again in 2008, when it was turfed out of Parliament altogether. But Peters has also alienated many of his caucus along the way. Of the party’s original MPs, only Ron Mark remains – and that only after several years out of Parliament, when Mark even mulled standing for another party.

Mark’s return appears to be the first serious attempt by Peters to put in place a succession plan.

Judging by Mark’s performance during question time, he’s either no longer match fit or he’s seriously lost the plot.

Read more »

Mona’s first shot: $23 mil please

Just as an aside, for Kim Dotcom fans, you may have noticed that as soon as Kim stopped being an idiot, he stopped being the center of attention on Whaleoil too.   Of course, as he pops back into the news, I’ll revisit his story.

Today, David ‘Tainted’ Fisher is still milking Mrs Dotcom, as it is clear Mr Dotcom no longer wants to have anything to do with him (one of the few things Dotcom and I agree on then).

Mona Dotcom has staked a $23 million claim on the fortune of her estranged husband, Kim Dotcom, saying half of what was seized in the FBI-initiated raid belongs to her.

In legal papers filed in the United States, Mrs Dotcom says she has a legal claim over assets and cash caught up in the case.

Her claim, according to the court documents, is 50 per cent of everything owned by Kim Dotcom that was seized in the raid. It does not include any claim she might make on the new fortune created through the post-raid business, the encrypted Cloud storage site Mega.

Her claim includes half-shares in the luxury cars seized from the mansion on the day of the January 2012 police raid, jetskis, massive TV screens worth $185,000 each, and artworks.

The document also reveals how after the Dotcom family arrived for a holiday in March 2010, the tycoon splurged $2.3 million buying eight luxury vehicles throughout his three-month stay – including two Mercedes on one day – before flying out again on a private jet.

“I make the … property claims based on the legal advice of my marital property counsel in New Zealand and my understanding of the applicable property laws,” Mrs Dotcom said in the court filing.

It’s a pointless move.  But worth the lottery ticket.

What’s much more interesting is that under New Zealand’s no fault divorce law, she’s due half of whatever Kim Dotcom can claim as assets.

I’m keeping a very close eye on this asset business, because Kim has a substantial amount of wealth stashed away in Bitcoins.  I would imagine he’s not declaring those as part of his assets, but Mona may very well know about them, so she could upset the apple cart by putting in a claim on half of those.

Bitcoins are a great money laundering device, they are a great way to transport money between countries outside of the banking, taxation and legal systems, and you can bet your bottom dollar that Kim has thought ahead here.

Dotcom’s lawyers have asked the courts to reject the bid, saying the original criminal case was already without warrant and the civil forfeiture case added an unfair burden.

Dotcom told the Herald he would make no comment on matters involving Mrs Dotcom.

The tycoon has shunned New Zealand media since the election [He won't talk to Tainted Fisher! hehe], aside from occasional tweets. But he made one media appearance in an online New Yorkerinterview in which he blamed the FBI case for the end of his five-year marriage.

“My wife and I, we were happy before the case,” he said. “We were living in this completely happy bubble in our happy world and we didn’t have any issues.”

He could still be doing that, if it wasn’t for messing with one person that he completely underestimated.  The media were all on his side.  I was a lone voice in the wilderness for years.

But now I’m the evil guy, still, somehow, and he’s hard done by?

He should really make arrangements to leave New Zealand, if he hasn’t already.  If he thinks his happy bubble was shattered, he’ll look back on how his life is right now and think it much preferable to what lies in the future.

 

– NZ Herald

 

Howcome a state house sculpture costs more than a state house?

Someone “leaked” this to Bernard Orsman (Dirty Council?)

A_110814SPLSCULPTURE21_620x310

It’s a concept drawing of the artwork that Auckland Council are considering.   Except, they must be planning to build it by using unicorn hair and fairy feathers, because the cost is other worldly…

Auckland Council announced plans for the sculpture in March last year, to be funded by a $1 million donation from Barfoot & Thompson, marking the company’s 90 years in business.

The documents show the cost of the sculpture – a “scaled version of a Mount Eden state house” by renowned artist Michael Parekowhai – had reached $1.9 million by May 2013.

With $800,000 budgeted for a crystal glass chandelier made in Venice to be enclosed within the house, the project came under review and the budget was scaled back to $1.5 million in July 2013.

Images of the sculpture have been shared with councillors but not the public, causing widespread criticism.

In February, Parekowhai told council public art manager Carole Anne Meehan he did not want early concept drawings and photos of a model to be “distributed publicly by anyone attending” a council meeting.

But several images were leaked to the Herald. They show a typical state house with external stairs leading to a platform offering multiple views of the chandelier filling the interior.

Seriously, wouldn’t Barfoot and Thompson putting $1M into an actual house and perhaps allowing people to live in it for 12 months at a time on some sort of scholarship make more sense?   I mean, it’s their own money, but good grief, what a stupid way to go about it.

The real problem is that the rate payer is going to get stung in the pocket too. Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Photo: Thomson, John, born 1837 - died 1921. A 'November effigy' being paraded through the street, c.1877. At the time this photograph was taken it was common practice in early November to parade effigies of unpopular public figures as well as Guy Fawkes. In his notes to the photograph, Adolphe Smith refers to the effigy shown as being a 'meaningless monstrosity' created purely for the purposes of entertainment and profit.

Photo: Thomson, John, born 1837 – died 1921.
A ‘November effigy’ being paraded through the street, c.1877. At the time this photograph was taken it was common practice in early November to parade effigies of unpopular public figures as well as Guy Fawkes. In his notes to the photograph, Adolphe Smith refers to the effigy shown as being a ‘meaningless monstrosity’ created purely for the purposes of entertainment and profit.

November Effigies; Street Life in London

Read more »

Fran ‘O on Key’s awful handling of the “Slater” issue

Whale Oil Blogger Cameron Slater Portrait Session

Watching John Key tell Parliament he had not spoken to blogger Cameron Slater “in my capacity as Prime Minister” immediately brought to mind the famous words uttered by one of the legal profession’s more accomplished Silver Foxes.  …

When it’s the Prime Minister who is being asked to account for his own actions during Question Time, resorting to semantic gymnastics and logical contortions to avoid accountability just looks too cute by half.

“I did not have sexual relations with that woman”

“It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is”

“But not in my capacity as Prime Minister”   Read more »

Bill English’s state housing reform is privatisation by stealth

Like an insidious slow rot, Bill English wants to get his hands on part of the $16B worth of cash currently locked into government-owned social housing stock.  This is one of the most under-the-radar National reforms that may have a substantial effect.  John Armstrong muses

Bill English’s masterplan to radically “reform” the Labour-initiated, octogenarian state housing scheme has all the hallmarks of being ideological for ideology’s sake.

The power combo of English and the Treasury is a pretty unstoppable force at any time. Implementing a policy in tune with its world view, the Treasury has been let off the leash, albeit briefly. It is just like the good old days before MMP and the advent of prime ministers obsessed with opinion polls and little else.

That the policy may yet be a complete dud does not seem to have penetrated the minds of those responsible for writing the relevant Cabinet papers. It is enough that the winner from the restructuring of “social housing” – the more anodyne term that National prefers to use – is the private sector.

I’m all for Government getting out of things they have no business being in.  But we are still to see a clear explanation how English is going to encourage the private sector to take on the least attractive and possibly loss-making tenants in a deal where they take all the risk.   Read more »

Whaleoil now part of Google’s “dark net”

Seems the European Data law that forces Google to filter search results with certain, erm, search results, has hit us too.

Due to a request under data protection law in Europe, we are no longer able to show one or more pages from your site in our search results in response to some search queries for names or other personal identifiers. Only results on European versions of Google are affected. No action is required from you.
These pages have not been blocked entirely from our search results, and will continue to appear for queries other than those specified by individuals in the European data protection law requests we have honored. Unfortunately, due to individual privacy concerns, we are not able to disclose which queries have been affected.

Please note that in many cases, the affected queries do not relate to the name of any person mentioned prominently on the page. For example, in some cases, the name may appear only in a comment section.

The following URLs have been affected by this action:

http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2010/04/page/6/
http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2010/page/147/

So, you too, as commenters anyway, are possibly censored.   Read more »

Step 1: Chemical weapons captured Step 2: MIG fighters Step 3: Chemical weapons used

…or so it is claimed.

The play to get the world behind boots on the ground action is marching on.

Dizzy, vomiting and struggling to breathe, 11 Iraqi police officers were rushed to a government hospital 80km north of the capital last month. The diagnosis: poisoning by chlorine gas. The perpetrators, according to the officers: Islamic State extremists.

The chlorine attack appears to be the first confirmed use of chemical weapons by the Islamic State on the battlefield. An Iraqi Defence Ministry official corroborated it, and doctors said survivors’ symptoms were consistent with chlorine poisoning.

I love the “appears to be” leading to the use of “confirmed”.  It’s skillful, no?

It is one of three crude chlorine attacks that Iraqi forces say have occurred since the extremists seized vast tracts of Iraqi territory this summer, although details on the other two incidents remain sketchy. The reported assaults raise concerns that the militants are attempting to hone their chemical weapons capabilities as they push to seize more ground.

Say to  have occurred.   Read more »

Where in the world is Kimmy?

 

Can you spot Kim Dotcom?

Wembley Legends Join Where’s Wally? For 25th Anniversary

Click the image for a larger version

Here is a little game. (Or is it?)  Where is Kimmy?   Is he still in New Zealand, or has he quietly slipped away, relying on his Bitcoins to see him through?

 

 

Malaysian diplomat in a New Zealand court about now

The Malaysian diplomat accused of assaulting a Wellington woman has been ushered onto a plane to Auckland [last night], his departure from Kuala Lumpur kept out of the public eye.

News media at Kuala Lumpur International Airport told Stuff that Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail went through a “special entrance” onto his flight.

Rizalman arrived in Auckland around midnight, and traveled on to Wellington where he is to appear in court this morning.

New Zealand formally filed an extradition request in recent weeks for Malaysia to return Rizalman so that he could appear in court in New Zealand. He left the country five months ago.

Rizalman was arrested on May 10, and charged by Wellington police with burglary and assault with intent to rape relating to an alleged attack on Tania Billingsley, 22, in the Wellington suburb of Brooklyn. Read more »