Paula will pay you $5000 to leave Auckland, but only if you are homeless

Homeless people could be offered up to $5000 to leave Auckland and resettle in a state house in the provinces, Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett has confirmed.

The policy was put together in the last few days and was announced this afternoon as the Government goes into damage control over its handling of housing problems in New Zealand.

Ms Bennett told reporters at Parliament this afternoon that up to 150 families could be relocated to state houses or possibly private rentals through the policy.

“I would say to those that are homeless that there is a chance that they could get a house in days if they were willing to look outside of Auckland.”

The minister said that the maximum $5000 grant was mostly targeted at people who were already in state houses, but homeless could also get access to financial assistance “if that is what is needed”.

Huntly, Ngaurawahia, Hamilton, Whanganui, Gisborne all had vacant state houses available. Any relocation would be strictly voluntary, Ms Bennett said.

If the point is to take pressure off in Auckland, why not offer $5000 to anyone that is currently renting willing to relocate?  Or is it just a matter to clean up some unsightly homeless so the stats look better?  Read more »

Warren snaps back at Trump

The election in the US is going to be awesome.

Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked Elizabeth Warren with some pretty awesome sledging including calling her Pocahontas.

Now Warren has retaliated and it is pretty brutal.

Elizabeth Warren is taking her war with Donald Trump to a new level, and it goes well beyond her usual 140-character Twitter attacks on the likely GOP presidential nominee.

The Massachusetts senator on Tuesday night dedicated a speech to rallying opposition against Trump — calling him a “small, insecure moneygrubber” who she said is “kissing the fannies of poor, misunderstood Wall Street bankers.”

“He inherited a fortune from his father, and kept it going by scamming people, declaring bankruptcy and skipping out on what he owed,” Warren said in prepared remarks, calling into question Trump’s bona fides as a populist champion.

The assaults on Trump are becoming Warren’s signature contribution to the Democratic Party’s attempt to retake the White House. The speech was the second time Tuesday that she stepped into the national political fray, a sign that she’s becoming increasingly vocal in the presidential race, positioning herself as a power player for the progressive left. Warren is expected to play a big role in uniting the party after the presidential primary.

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Winston explains why National voters are coming to NZ First

Winston Peters in front of his campaign bus

“There’s no doubt we’re gonna corrode the National party base because people have got a guts-full,” Peters said.

“We’ve spoken about things for a long time that have proven to be true, more and more New Zealanders are remembering who said that first.”

New Zealand’s levels of immigration were “disastrous economically and socially” – an issue NZ First had predicted years ago based on international research, he claims.

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Helen Clark steps on people to get ahead? That passes the sniff test

Helen Clark and Trevir Mallard with Labour's biggest donor, Owen Glenn, at the opening of a University building Glen paid for.

Helen Clark and Trevor Mallard with Labour’s biggest donor, Owen Glenn, at the opening of a University building Glen paid for.

Helen Clark, the U.N.’s development czar, has emerged as a front-runner in the race for U.N. secretary-general, inspiring international hopes that a powerful woman could lead the world’s preeminent diplomatic organization for the first time. Back home in New Zealand, where Clark served as prime minister from December 1999 to November 2008, the teenage pop star Lorde declared she was “all in” for her “awe-inspiring fellow countrywoman.” Fans produced T-shirts proclaiming, “Aunty Helen for UN Secretary General.”

But many of her own U.N. colleagues are not rooting for her. Clark’s seven-year stewardship of the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) has left a trail of embittered peers and subordinates, who accuse Clark of ruthlessly ending the careers of underlings in her quest to advance her candidacy and of undercutting the U.N.’s promotion of human rights. In the most controversial move, Clark’s top managers allegedly drove one UNDP official out of her job in retaliation for participating in an investigation that sharply criticized the agency’s response to mass atrocities in Sri Lanka, according to internal U.N. emails and several current and former U.N.-based officials and diplomats. The offices of the deputy U.N. secretary-general and a top aide to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon lobbied Clark’s office to rescue the UNDP official’s career, but they were unsuccessful.

That’s our Hels.  And that’s also why she’s better off with the job at the UN rather than coming back to New Zealand and sorting out the mess she left in her wake.   Read more »

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Mental Health Break

Should idiots pay for their own rescue?

The NZ Herald editorial mulls it over

A party of off-road driving enthusiasts set out in 13 vehicles on Sunday afternoon to tackle a notorious high-country dirt track before it was closed for the winter. The weather in the deep south was already wintry. Snow and frigid temperatures were forecast but the enthusiasts in the group of 38, which included two children, were confident they could make the journey by nightfall.

Late that night when the snowstorm had arrived and their four-wheel-drive vehicles were mired in 2m snowdrifts on the Waikaia Bush Rd near Otago’s boundary with Southland, a rescue mission had to be mounted.

Searchers from the police and the National Rescue Co-ordination Centre were unable to reach them by land and called off the attempt at 1.30am. The stranded people spent the night in the vehicles with the engines running to keep them warm. Next day the storm continued and several attempts to reach them by helicopter were aborted.

The Defence Force was called on but even its chopper could not handle the conditions. The people were facing a second night huddled in the vehicles until just before dark, two snowmobiles reached them and they were ferried to safety on Sunday night.

All that is great stuff.  The problem is:  why did those people think they could tackle the most challenging conditions at a time when severe weather was forecast?  And should this decision mean they pay for their rescue?  Read more »

Map of the Day

Harman reads between the lines; thinks he’s got the Big Budget Reveal

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One big number is likely to stand out of this Thursday’s Budget.

That will be a huge forecast Government surplus for sometime in the next Parliamentary term.

Mr English has been recently addressing each of National’s regional conferences and in those speeches he has talked about “better than expected” macro numbers featuring in the Budget.

Ten days ago he told his party’s southern regional conference in Wanaka o that in “two or three years” the Government would be recording a five billion dollar surplus. Read more »

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Farrar provides some facts to counter the shrill headlines predicting John Key’s demise

The Media party have piled in on the latest Newshub poll suggesting that a small, less than the margin of error, drop in popularity of John Key is the beginning of the end of him.

They have ignored that Andrew Little is below Winston Peters in the same poll and he dropped even more than John Key.

Arts, lifestyle and travel blogger David Farrar takes time out from his hectic touring schedule to present some facts that seem to have escaped the commentators in the Media party.

The Newshub story says Key has plummeted as Preferred PM as he has dropped 1.5% in 6 months. This is of course not even statistically significant let alone a plummet of any kind.

I thought it would be useful to compare the Preferred PM ratings of May 2016, with May 2007 – the same point in Labour’s third term.

In May 2007 the PM was at 30% Preferred PM and in May 2016 the PM is at 37% Preferred PM.

In May 2007 the Opposition Leader was at 32% Preferred PM and in May 2016 the Opposition Leader is at 9% Preferred PM.

So Clark was trailing by 2% in May 2007, while in May 2016 Key leads Little by 28%.   Read more »

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Organiser admits that anti-fishing campaign is based on lies, but doesn’t care

One of the organisers of the campaign, Barbara Maas, to put pressure on the fishing industry and McDonald’s has admitted in a Facebook post in reply to my challenges that the campaign is based on a lie, but she doesn’t care and it is all about exerting financial pressure on the industry in whatever way they can.

Worse she threatens to escalate their campaign.

It seems that the point of the consumer campaign, which focusses on hoki and McDonalds has been sorely misunderstood although we explained the this rationale to the CEO of the NZ Seafood Industry Council at some length when we met him in Wellington last month. We are well aware that hoki is a pelagic fish whose range does not overlap with Maui’s dolphins.

The point of the campaign is not to target the relatively small and primarily domestic market of the inshore fishery where Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins live, but to exert financial pressure the NZ seafood industry, which has denied there is a problem even exist. Every relevant scientific body (International Whaling Commission, IUCN, 200 scientists strong Society for Marine Mammalogy, has been urging the NZ government to remove gillnets and trawling along the 100 m depth contour (approx. 20nm) year after year.

This is the biggest red flag scientist are able to wave, yet NZ has not only ignored their advice entirely but as we now know, has suppressed Maui’s and Hector’s dolphin deaths from coming to light. 3-4 Maui’s dolphins die in fishing nets each year (MPI and DOC data). There are now less than 50 Maui’s dolphins left. Unless something happens now, they will disappear within a matter of years.

Just to be clear: we have done everything possible to avoid a boycott and have talked to the industry and the government about this sine 2012. When we met the Seafood NZ CEO Tim Pankhurst last month, we reached out to him to give us a reason not to have to take this step. His response was along the lines of ‘Do your worst!”

For the sake of NZ’s fishery, its fish and its dolphins I urge every decent and honest fisherman out there to ensure this is resolved before things escalate further.  

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