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Dodgy Ruataniwha dam court drama enters next stage

The legal battle over whether part of a protected forest park can be used in a land swap deal that would allow Hawke’s Bay’s controversial Ruataniwha irrigation scheme to go ahead is set for another hearing.

The Department of Conservation and the company behind the $275 million project are seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court a decision last month which ordered the land exchange deal to be reconsidered.

The Court of Appeal ordered the Director-General of Conservation Lou Sanson to revisit the deal which would have swapped 22 hectares of the Ruahine Forest Park for 1270ha area of farming land known as Smedley Block.

The conservation land was to be flooded as part of the proposed dam project across the Makaroro River that would capture and store about 900 million cubic metres of water, allowing up to 30,000ha of land to be irrigated.

Forest & Bird had appealed against a High Court ruling which upheld the decision to revoke the land from the 94,000ha forest park.

It said if the appeal to the Supreme Court was successful it could open the way for the loss of other protected land. Read more »

UK Labour unity? Not so much


On Monday Seumas Milne, Jeremy Corbyn’s spin doctor, enraged a shadow minister by deliberately deleting part of his speech.

He must be wishing he’d deleted the whole of Tom Watson’s.

This afternoon, Labour members in Liverpool watched their deputy leader expertly undermine their leader – and then gave him a standing ovation. It was remarkable. And because Mr Corbyn was sitting at a platform on stage, mere feet from Mr Watson, you could watch his reaction. It wasn’t hard to guess what he thought.

The speech started harmlessly enough. Jokes about David Cameron, digs at Theresa May. But then Mr Watson praised Sadiq Khan. Earlier in the day, the Mayor of London had given a speech implying that, unlike him, Mr Corbyn was a vote-loser…

Read more »

Auckland Mayoral Debate at Auckland University

If you thought Hillary and Donald wasn’t much chop…

…this is not a joke.  This is not a panto… this is what really happened.


Green Party won’t run for Phil Goff’s seat of Mt Roskil

phill goff mayor hoardings 1

It seems that the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green parties practically just means that they are using it for their own Epsom-styled cup-a-tea deals

The Green Party has decided to not stand a candidate in a Mt Roskill by-election, should Phil Goff win the Auckland mayoralty and vacate the seat.

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

Labour is not perceived as business friendly


Deloitte’s Mood of the Boardroom survey simply confirms what exclusive INCITE:Politics polling has shown:

CEOs rated leading Opposition MPs’ performance over the past year on a scale of 1-5 where 1 equals not impressive and 5 equals very impressive.

Consistent with last year’s Mood of the Boardroom survey, Labour’s Jacinda Ardern tops the list of Opposition MPs, as rated by CEOs, closely followed by Green co-leader James Shaw. Read more »

Mental Health Break

Bruce the Wandering Whale in Amsterdam continued…

I can thoroughly recommend the hop on/hop off canal cruises – only 20 odd Euros, lots of commentary, history and interesting sights.

We got off the cruise at the Heineken Brewery (about 500m from the entrance) and met my niece who, although she has lived here for six years, had never done “The Heineken Experience”. Costing about 16 Euros, you get a self-guided tour and two drinks at the end. There is an interactive ride (where we get brewed – taken through the process as if you are the product) which although a bit corny, is lots of fun. At the end we had a few of the freebies – it tastes so much nicer here than it does in NZ. Dominion Breweries wreck it when they brew it locally!

Bruce at the Heineken Brewery PHOTO supplied Whaleoil

Bruce at the Heineken Brewery PHOTO supplied Whaleoil

You have probably seen the pic of Bruce, who had a few at the Heineken Brewery and got a bit silly, but here are the pics again

Bruce at the Heineken Brewery PHOTO-supplied Whaleoil

Bruce at the Heineken Brewery PHOTO-supplied Whaleoil

Bruce enjoying a beer at the Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam PHOTO supplied Whaleoil

Bruce enjoying a beer at the Heineken Brewery in Amsterdam PHOTO supplied Whaleoil

Bruce at the Heineken Brewery after having one too many beers PHOTO supplied Whaleoil

Bruce at the Heineken Brewery after having one too many beers PHOTO supplied Whaleoil

Read more »

Map of the Day

Trump turned up to his job interview unprepared


For 90 minutes, we watched one candidate for president display the seriousness the office demands while the other did what was once unthinkable: show up unprepared for a globally televised job interview.

The first US presidential debate between reality-television star and wealthy builder Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was mind-blowing. Trump brought the vaudeville shtick that worked for him in the primaries to the main stage and bombed.

Trump’s performance was the rhetorical equivalent of hurling garbage on the lawn. A question about x would lead to mentions of y, z and whatever else came to mind. For instance, a response about Hillary Clinton’s emails led to a mention about the sorry state of New York’s LaGuardia Airport. And then there were the gasp-worthy moments that would sink any other presidential aspirant. Read more »