How to make $8 million of ratepayers money disappear without a trace

Justin Lester has some explaining to do and not just about his activities on the ratepayer’s dime in Hong Kong.

It seems the council, under his chairing of a key committee, has managed to magic away $8million of ratepayer cash in a  corporate welfare payment to Singapore airlines…and all that exists in terms of paperwork is a Powerpoint presentation delivered after the deal was done…and a two page document that barely mentioned it.

A decision to subsidise Singapore Airlines new Wellington flights for the next decade saw virtually nothing put in writing.

Documents released by the Wellington City Council show that apart from a presentation made to councillors after the decision was made, the council generated a single two page document, which refers to the subsidy only in passing.

In January it was revealed that Wellington City Council chief executive Kevin Lavery had approved a subsidy for a new Singapore-Canberra-Wellington route from the Destination Wellington fund. The route launched on September 21.

The council has never disclosed the maximum Singapore Airlines, one of Asia’s largest airlines, could be paid, but documents suggest it could be $800,000 a year for 10 years.

Read more »

Cartoon of the Day

Life interrupts, and we’ve lost SonovaMin again, at least for a while.  I’m hearing talk of packing and moving being part of the drama.  So once again, we wish him and his family all the best, but of course we are selfishly upset we’re going to have to cope without his keen insight and special way of communicating layered concepts in apparently very simple drawings.  He assures me he intends to return.  I, for one, can’t wait.

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Isuzu D-Max – More pull than a 14 year old school boy

Southern Autos logo

The other night after court I had picked up my usual from my favourite dodgy kebab shop and was heading home. In the evening I like to take the scenic route home along the waterfront and as I came up to the boat ramp I saw that there were a truck and boat down near the water. Then a fellow wearing a life jacket flagged me down and asked if I could help them get out of the sand and water.

Sure I said. First, I asked if they had chains and/or a snatch strap or at worst a rope. I have all that gear and if they didn’t then I would have to go home first. It turns out they did have a rather long snatch strap.

The tide was coming in and periodically people do get trapped in the sand. It is a constant source of amusement living at the beach to see this happen.

These guys, however, were in a spot more bother. The truck…something like a Toyota Dyna or a Mitsubishi Canter was in up to its axles at the back end, water sloshing over the wheels. The boat was basically floating with the trailer attached.

In less than 3o minutes the truck would be underwater.

I’m currently driving the Isuzu D-Max LX double cab manual from my mates at Southern Autos, the most basic model there is. I do have Bridgestone Dueler tires on it, but they are hardly off-road, and this was going to be a tough pull. Wet and grabby sand up to the axles, plus a boat and trailer.

double-cab-ute-isuzu-d-max-lx-splash-white Read more »

Cake has become a political football in America

What is it with cakes in America? In four cases now they have been used for political purposes. In the first case, Christian owners of a bakery refused to make a cake for their regular lesbian customers because it was for a gay wedding. In the next case, Steven Crowder who was upset that the Media were pushing the narrative that only Christians were discriminating against Gays, proved that none of the Muslim-owned bakeries in Dearborn would agree to bake a gay wedding cake either.

Now Walmart has refused to make a cake for a Police Officer’s retirement party saying that the blue line was racist even though last year they happily baked an ISIS flag cake for a customer after first refusing his request for a Confederate flag.

Chuck Netzhammer initially requested a cake decorated with a Confederate battle flag and the words “heritage not hate”, but the store refused.

Mr Netzhammer then placed an order for a cake topped with the banner of the militant group.

-bbc.com

The customer’s first order – a Confederate battle flag cake – was rejected

Read more »

Not all Maori support Hamas hugging Green grandstander

Sheree Trotter (Te Arawa) writes at Shalom.Kiwi:

Davidson has aligned herself with an organisation that is little more than a hate group. Kia Ora Gaza leader, Roger Fowler, has expressed support for a one-state solution (the dismantling of the world’s only Jewish state), has compared Israel to Islamic State, has publicly supported a “third intifada”, and has justified violence against Israeli civilians. This is not an organisation committed to peace and human rights.

For Māori who oppose Kia Ora Gaza’s hatred of Israel, the co-opting of Te Reo Måori for their cause is deeply offensive. Historically, Māori have had strong connections with the Jewish people. Indeed the struggle of the Jews gave inspiration to many of our tipuna, and several indigenous prophetic movements in the 19th century were established on the Jewish model. The return of Jews to their ancient homeland has been an inspiring example for many indigenous peoples. Even though the Jewish people experienced expulsion and dispossession, they never abandoned their hope of return, and a small Jewish remnant kept ahi kaa in the land over many centuries of dispersal. The rebirth of Hebrew has been an inspiration for the revitalisation of Te Reo Māori in Aotearoa.

Read more »

No surprises here, black market tobacco is growing

A few years back I attended a symposium in Singapore on Illicit Tobacco and how to combat it.

At the conference, we heard from law enforcement and customs people about the effect taxation had on illicit tobacco imports. Basically the more you tax the product the better the return for criminals to enter the illicit tobacco market.

So, it was no surprise to me to read this:

For smokers, the habit is getting increasingly expensive as the Government ups its tax to discourage smoking and recoup some of the health costs.

A pack of 20 cigarettes is expected to cost about $30 by 2020. A 50g packet of premium loose tobacco, used in roll-your-owns, currently costs about $78.

That is big money for hard-up smokers who are turning to the black market to buy stolen cigarettes and illicit loose tobacco.

Customs estimates the market for illegally manufactured or smuggled tobacco represents 2 to 4 per cent of consumption and is “not a significant problem”. Its figures are based on a 2013 report by Action Smoking and Health (Ash), which excludes stolen tobacco products.

Police believe the black market is fuelling armed robberies and burglaries, with criminals targeting dairies and stealing tobacco products for resale rather than for personal use.

King says: “There’s going to be people shot over it [tobacco]. Someone is going to get killed.”

Read more »

Latest Roy Morgan poll proves Andrew Little was right to ignore the centre

It seems I was wrong. And Helen Clark was wrong, and John Key was wrong. The winning of the election isn’t in the centre, it is heading left like Bryan Gould says.

The latest Roy Morgan poll suggests that Andrew Little’s eschewing of the centre is a brilliant move. Instead of trying to out National National, they need to double down on socialism…it’s working.

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During September support for National fell for the second straight month, by 4.5% to 41.5% (the lowest support for National in three years since September 2013) now clearly behind a potential Labour/Greens alliance 45.5% (up 5.5%) for the first time in a year – since September 2015 after Prime Minister John Key attended several overseas summits in early September.   Read more »

Can’t wait for Patrick Gower to go nuts over this

I won’t hold my breath waiting for Patrick Gower to go nuts on the Greens pulling out of the Mt Roskill by-election to give Goff’s shadow, Michael Wood, a chance at winning.

The Green Party will not stand a candidate in the Mt Roskill electorate should Phil Goff win the Auckland mayoralty race.

The party made the official announcement this afternoon after weeks of speculation it would not stand a candidate in the central Auckland suburb.

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the government in 2017 and, as part of that, we’ve decided we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election,” says Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei.

The Greens and Labour signed a memorandum of understanding in May, where the parties committed to “work collaboratively to change the government.”

Ms Turei says today’s decision shows that agreement is working.

“The Mt Roskill by-election will be closely contested and we don’t want to play any role in National winning the seat,” she says.

Read more »

Not sure how the Muzzies are going to take this

I am certain there will be mass killings once this park in Paris opens up.

Paris authorities plan to open a park for nudists in the French capital some time in the not too distant future.

“We need to find the right place and we don’t want to upset anyone or ruffle feathers,” Deputy Paris Mayor Bruno Julliard said. “It’ll probably be a park or garden,” he told RMC radio.   Read more »

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