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Why can’t we have attack ads like this?

Politics crosses with pro wrestling.




Is a facilitation payment you do in secret not a bribe?

Cabinet documents do not shed sufficient light on why McCully spearheaded an initiative which at its kindest interpretation resulted in a sweetheart deal to look after Saudi businessman Hamood Al-Ali Al-Khalaf, whose company had made legal threats to seek $30 million after National reconfirmed its predecessor’s ban on the live sheep exports.

Nor do those documents – which are very carefully constructed – pass the smell test for a Government that has become rather too easy a prey for commercial shakedowns by aggrieved foreign investors.

The story goes that the Al-Khalaf Group employed public-law lobbyist Mai Chen to prosecute its grievance with the National Government by arguing that it had been commercially harmed by a policy about-face. This after rival lobbyist Matthew Hooton – who ultimately blew the whistle on the affair – lost out on the representational contract.

The chain of events so far disclosed suggests that Cabinet ministers were not prepared to run the risk that Al-Khalaf – a powerful figure in Saudi Arabia – could permanently sour New Zealand’s negotiations towards a free-trade deal with the Gulf states unless he was “looked after”. Read more »

New Green Taliban co-penis won’t improve party’s appeal

Both would-be leaders know the Greens have to dispel the notion they are permanent hostages to Labour, through operating on that party’s left flank. Coalition with National remains a very distant prospect, mainly because the two parties would rip each other to shreds, over social policy in particular.

Hopes of reaching some kind of understanding that might allow the Greens to give confidence to a National administration, but nothing else, would have to be a lengthy process in which both parties got closer together step by very small step.

The idea that the Greens should avoid being ghettoised by becoming an environment-only party is simplistic. Judging from the Alliance’s record, the Greens’ social justice agenda could be worth half or more of their votes.

There is no guarantee that the environment vote is as large as many pundits assume, especially now the major parties have moved to look softer on environmental matters to hold on to to their own “green” supporters.

What the Greens have to do is reach out from their inner-city metropolitan strongholds, like Shaw’s Wellington Central, and start making connections in the suburbs, provincial cities and rural towns plus the special case of South Auckland where their vote is pitifully low. The best punt is the suburbs where voter attachment to the two major parties has weakened. Read more »


The “Decade of Whaleoil” series: Key’s too sexy for his shirt

Decade of Whaleoil

Decade of Whaleoil

June 10 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.

A video like this today would be seen as a spiteful hit.  It’s all the more amazing it was done during Key’s teflon halcyon period.
Read more »

No place to hide for hackers and Bitcoin transactions

The accused mastermind behind the underground website Silk Road will be sentenced on Friday for orchestrating a scheme that enabled more than $US200 million of anonymous online drug sales using the digital currency bitcoin.

Ross Ulbricht, 31, faces up to life in prison after a federal jury in Manhattan found him guilty in February of charges including conspiracy to commit drug trafficking, money laundering and computer hacking.

Prosecutors are seeking a sentence “substantially above” the 20-year mandatory minimum that US District Judge Katherine Forrest must impose on Ulbricht, who admitted to creating Silk Road but denied wrongdoing.

Another “who? me?” defence we have grown to love from likeable morbidly obese rogues.   Read more »

Mental Health Break

Another high horse ACT will never be able to ride

The Electoral Commission has referred the ACT Party to the police for failing to disclose donations worth more than $30,000 in the lead up to last year’s election.

The Commission announced it had taken the step today over donations from the party’s biggest backers Alan Gibbs and Dame Jenny Gibbs.

ACT Party leader David Seymour says it’s down to an administrative error.

“These things happen, the rules are quite technical. I don’t think there’s any malice here; in fact I’m certain there’s not. It’s just up to us to cooperate with the authorities and go through the motions,” he says. Read more »

Map of the Day

Sponsored by What Power Crisis, click here for this week’s Solar Deal


Countries that have sent animals into space

Read more »

Norman takes off Rod’s dead man’s shoes

Russel Norman signs off … as Green Party co-leader after nine years.

“It feels good,” the MP said ahead of the vote to replace him at the party’s AGM [today].

“I’m pleased I’ve made the change. I’m pretty happy with what I’ve done but I’m also happy with moving on as co-leader.”

He will begin a new chapter next week when he takes his place among the back seats of Parliament’s debating chamber.

“I’ve never been a backbencher before,” he said, relishing the opportunity to focus on a narrower range of responsibilities.

His new portfolios will be determined under the new co-leader – likely to be either Kevin Hague or James Shaw – but he says he wants to maintain his deep interest in climate change and green economics.

He plans to spend more time with his young family and has a long reading list he hopes to get into now that his workload is quieter. Read more »