Mallard and Dyson shafted by their own team in boundary redraw

It is looking increasingly like Labour’s own advisor to the Electoral Commission has worked very hard at shafting Ruth Dyson and Trevor Mallard. So much so he has missed some strange looking boundary adjustments in other areas.

Jadis has performed some very good analysis of the changes over at the lifestyle, travel and arts blog of David Farrar. From the looks of it there are no winners on the left side of politics.

And most of the losers are Labour.

Losers:

Ruth Dyson, Port Hills – Dyson is the biggest loser in this boundary review.  Her majority has been reversed with the Nats stronghold of Halswell moving into the seat, and Anderton’s old stomping ground of Sydenham moving into Christchurch Central.  Dyson will have a real battle to hold this, even with the Nats putting in a new candidate.  How winnable the seat is very much depends on the strength of the Nat candidate, but a good candidate could take the seat with a 2000 majority.  I’d be gutted if I was Dyson as Pete Hodgson (who did the boundaries for Labour) is a good mate of hers.  Perhaps this is Labour’s new (poor) strategy of retiring MPs.

Trevor Mallard, Hutt South – This is the surprise of the final boundaries.  Mallard has gained all of the  Western Hills (good Nat territory) and lost super red areas of Naenae and Rimutaka. Labour should have been able to stop this occurring but appear to have put up no fight.  Mallard should be furious with his party for failing to keep Hutt South a real red seat.  Why didn’t Hodgson fight hard for Mallard?  Was it a directive from on high?  Realistically, Mallard should hold the seat but he’ll be working hard for it and never should have been put in this position. I expect Mallard’s majority to be pegged down a few.  Read more »

Looks like Winston’s, David’s and Grant’s nasty smears have backfired

Yesterday Winston Peters, Grant Robertson and David Cunliffe all accused Judith Collins of corruptio without a shred of evidence to support their claims.

Now someone who was at the dinner has confirmed the minister’s account and their smears are in tatters.

A senior Beehive adviser has taken the unusual step of going public to back her minister, Judith Collins, over what took place at a dinner with Oravida executives and a senior Chinese Government official.

Margaret Malcolm was one of five guests at the dinner in Beijing which has embroiled Collins in allegations of corruption.

Malcolm, who travelled with Collins to China as her senior adviser, backed the minister’s claim that they did not discuss Oravida’s business over the dinner and that they talked mostly tourism.

“The dinner was very short and discussion was restricted due to some participants having limited English. The conversation centred around New Zealand as a tourist destination.”

She had not taken any notes in her capacity as adviser.

Like Collins, Malcolm also refused to name the Chinese official who Opposition MPs claim was in a position to help milk exporter Oravida overcome export issues following the botulism scare.

Collins has been under fire over allegations she used her ministerial position to benefit her husband’s business interests, though she told The Dominion Post last night that this was not true.

“[NZ First leader] Winston Peters . . . misled the media, he misled the public and actually there is no evidence of it and it’s utterly untrue.”

She had no influence over the $6000 received by Oravida from a pool of government funding for businesses which had been affected by the botulism scare, which turned out to be a false alarm.

Forty-one exporters had received advice and help from the Government relating to the incident and 39 of them received some form of payment, she said.  Read more »

Marlborough Express on the Teachers Council

The Marlborough Express editorial about the woeful inadequacy of the former Teachers Council is particularly relevant, especially the bit about carping teacher unions.

Little wonder teachers are protective of the Teachers Council. It’s probably only polite since it has been so very protective of them.

Unhappily, this has been at the expense of accountability to parents and the public.

The new body is going to have strengthened abilities to exert disciplinary process on errant teachers; and it will have a much more independent look to it rather than the status quo of teachers sitting in judgment on themselves – which they’ve been doing in exquisite privacy.

Education Minister Hekia Parata says new legislation improves teacher registration, enhances reporting requirements and provides a greater range of options when dealing with disciplinary matters. That last bit is particularly important.

The PPTA believes the new body has too much policing power, such as naming teachers facing disciplinary inquiries, which raises the protest that it could jeopardise “natural justice”.

Let’s remind ourselves how well natural justice has been getting along under the Teachers Council.  Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Retronaut

Retronaut

 

The Mobile Office

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Claire Trevett on the ClusterTruck

Claire Trevett’s column today explores Labour’s idiocy with their clustertruck policy.

Former Labour Finance Minister Michael Cullen’s 2006 prophecy of “jam tomorrow” will come to fruition today, although it may not quite be the kind of jam people were hoping for.

It will be a traffic jam.

Realising there are votes to be gained from angry holidaymakers stuck in traffic for hours, Labour took measures to try to harvest them this week by releasing a groundbreaking holidaymakers’ transport policy.

Labour has long been driven by a drive to reduce inequality. So it announced it would drop the need to register caravans and trailers and cut road user charges for motorhomes and campervans.

The coup de grace of the policy was the ban on trucks from using the right-hand lane on three or four lane motorways – an attempt to peg into the futile rage that swamps drivers whose aims are thwarted by said trucks.

As “Kiwi families” loaded up their surfboards and fishing rods, David Cunliffe’s Caravan of Love was here to help. “Fun can quickly turn to frustration when the family realises the rego for the caravan has expired or there’s a big truck hogging the fast lane.”

Cunliffe declared, “Kiwis are sweating the small stuff too much.”  Read more »

Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  SonovaMin

Credit: SonovaMin

Stephen Franks on the outrageous claims of corruption by the opposition and media

Stephen Franks provides a thoughtful response to the outrageous claims of opposition MPs under parliamentary privilege of corruption by Judith Collins.

I note that they dare not repeat those claims outside of the protection of parliamentary privilege.

Political journalists continue to give credibility to the Oravida beat-up. I’ve not heard anyone I know, outside the ‘beltway’ set, who share their faux indignation. Perhaps aspects yet to be revealed will vindicate the accusers. But on what has been disclosed so far, those alleging corruption disgrace themselves.

We come from an era, widely regarded as our most incorruptible, when all manner of goods were marked with the Royal crest, and the words “By appointment to HM the Queen”. Approval as suppliers to the Crown was overtly advertised, for the benefit of the supplier. I recall no concern that it was a corrupt practice.

Nor is there any objective argument that Ms Collins advocacy for any dairy interests in China or elsewhere, has been inimical to the interests of New Zealand. The allegations of corruption are the single element most likely to reduce the barriers to corruption. When it is acceptable to equate such innocuous behaviour with corruption, we lose the capacity to distinguish, and ‘everybody does it’ becomes a more likely excuse for genuine corruption at other levels

If there was some indication of covert payments then it might run. But most of us know that there is implicit personal endorsement, even if it is unwanted, in most engagements of powerful people.  Read more »

Cover up under Simon Bridges watch – Part 2

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While Labour and Winston Peters are using Parliamentary privilege to fire off stupid allegations at Judith Collins, they are ignoring a pile of incompetence within MBIE – the very Ministry tasked with growing NZs business.

Part one exposed the dodgy behaviour of MBIE officials under Simon Bridges’ watch.

It raised questions about how MBIE officials are managing the Government’s procurement process, and how questions about dodgy union organisations are being deleted from Supplier Questions in GETS.

Maybe it was a simple mistake, but then again we all know the unions love to think they have union-friendly government officials in their back pocket. Maybe that’s why they get an extra $500 for being a member of the unions. If Labour and NZ First want to talk about corruption, they don’t have to look any further than that rort.

But back to Simon Bridges’ MBIE officials.

This very same GETS RFP #448 then exposed a monumental flaw by the very officials tasked with advising Simon Bridges on his Employment Relations Amendment Bill.

In what is an astonishing revelation, MBIE advised – in their Supplier Questions about RFP #448 of 20 February 2014, that the Employment Relations Bill Part6A (vulnerable employees) doesn’t apply.

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Not sure how that works out for them.  Read more »

Labour’s clustertruck policy is total carnage

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When Labour last attacked truckies there was a nationwide blockade of the nations towns and cities. On that day they al drove ont he left hand side letting people transit as they protested.

Truckies by and large are courteous drivers. But LAbour continues to attack them.

Labour’s policy this time though is a sham. Of the 11,000km of NZ roads their policy will affect just 60kms, mostly in Auckland. Their claims of people fed up with holiday traffic held up by trucks are fanciful, and anyone who lives in Auckland knows the problems aren’t the trucks at holiday time…it is the crappy roads, roading choke points and people towing boats and caravans that hold people up.

Still, Labour thought this was a winner, and a more spectacular policy cock up I haven’t seen in many a year.  Read more »

Even the happy hand clappers are coming around on cannabis reform

They are calling it God’s plant, but there is growing evidence that the happy hand clappers are coming around to cannabis reform.

Jesse Stanley sees marijuana as “God’s plant.” He is one of five brothers—all alums of an evangelical high school—who grow medical marijuana from their two dispensaries in Colorado Springs, Colo. As he put it to the website FaithStreet: “God is moving in the hearts of men and women and children around the world about this plant in ways that I never would’ve imagined.”

The Stanleys got into the marijuana business in 2009 because of a cousin who was in pain and wasn’t helped by conventional treatment. Several years in, they made an unexpected breakthrough. The mother of a 5-year-old girl named Charlotte came into their dispensary seeking help for her daughter’s severe epilepsy. Wary about giving marijuana to a young girl, the Stanleys took a strain called “Hippie’s disappointment” that was low in THC (the chemical that gives the buzz), and created a new blend, high in cannabidiol (the chemical with the medical potential). Charlotte could take it in small doses.

Remarkably—the Stanleys might say miraculously—Charlotte’s seizures decreased dramatically. They dubbed their blend “Charlotte’s Web,” and started a charity called Realm of Caring, which has helped reduce the seizures of hundreds of children like Charlotte. Gaining national attention, the Stanleys even melted the heart of CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, who had been a major critic of medical marijuana.  Read more »