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Clare Curran shows how not to hold ministers to account

Clare Curran thinks she is something special. The reality is she is something dreadful.

Look at the question above and wonder no more at her utter stupidity.

She went down to the house thinking she had a gotcha for the minister regarding the appointment of Bill Francis to Radio NZ’s board.   Read more »

You want 3 Strikes for burglary?

ACT Leader David Seymour will seek leave to introduce a Three Strikes for Burglary Bill to Parliament today, in the face of declining burglary resolution rates.

“By saying burglars have a 90% chance of getting away with it, Phil Goff is actually understating things,” says Mr Seymour. “Firstly, because uninsured victims typically do not report this crime, the reported rate of burglaries represents only about 45% of actual occurrences, according to a 2006 Treasury estimate.

“Then, around one in 10 are resolved, but ‘resolution’ does not even mean charges are laid.  It just means the likely perpetrator has been identified and a decision is made how the deal with them. So somewhat less than 10% of burglaries result in charges.

“Only a proportion of those charges (about 30%) result in conviction. Only 40% of those convicted of burglary are imprisoned. So in the end, less than 2% of reported burglaries result in any burglar serving a term of imprisonment, and when they do, it is generally a term of only a few months.

“Burglary is peculiar among crimes in that it is planned, not spontaneous. So incentives matter. A one percent chance of prison provides almost no deterrent.

“Burglary is also committed by a small group of chronic recidivists. ACT would provide a strong incentive against this recidivism. Read more »

Paypal blocking payments to VPN and SmartDNS services but you can use it to buy other ‘bad’ stuff

Paypal has announced that they are stopping processing payments for users of VPN and SmartDNS services ostensibly because they say it is enabling copyright infringement, such as geo-blockades, which are violating its terms of service.

PayPal is widely known for their aggressive stance towards BitTorrent sites, Usenet providers and file-hosting services, but VPN, proxy and SmartDNS providers might now suffer the same fate too.

This week PayPal stopped accepting payments for a company that provides VPN and SmartDNS tools, stating that these may facilitate copyright infringement.

So-called “unblocker” tools can be used to bypass geo-filtering blockades which Netflix and other video platforms have in place.

According to the message PayPal sent to UnoTelly and possibly others, these services are against the company’s policies because they help users to bypass copyright restrictions.

“Under the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy, PayPal may not be used to send or receive payments for items that infringe or violate any copyright, trademark, right of publicity or privacy, or any other proprietary right under the laws of any jurisdiction,” PayPal’s email reads.

“This includes transactions for any device or technological measure that descrambles a scrambled work, decrypts an encrypted work or otherwise avoids, bypasses, removes, deactivates or impairs a technological measure without the authority of the copyright owner.”    Read more »

Cunning Winston

Winston Peters knows how to get people talking about him, and there is no better way than to challenge the PM to a $100,000 bet.

Winston Peters has offered to pay $100,000 to the Prime Minister’s favourite charity if John Key can find evidence that the New Zealand First leader has been fishing in his Northland electorate.

The challenge was issued after Mr Key ribbed Mr Peters in Parliament over the amount of time the Northland MP spent in his electorate, describing him as the “member of fishing”.

Mr Peters was questioning Mr Key about the Northland Economic Development report and the PM responded: “I dare say that Minister [Steven] Joyce now knows more about Northland than the member does. In actually having been there once this year, he has probably been there more than the member has.”   Read more »

Time for a fat-bastard tax


Forget sugar taxes, fat taxes or anything else based on ingredients. We should be taxing the fatty not the food the fatty scoffs.

Kiwis are porky and dangerously deluded about it, a new study has found.

While we might tout ourselves as a sports-mad nation, the reality is most of us are hopelessly inactive.

According to a study comparing 11 countries, Kiwis were not only the chubbiest, but were “wildly off the mark” in estimating how fat they were.

While six in 10 were overweight or obese, most thought only 45 per cent of us fitted that description, independent research for the annual Cigna 360° Wellbeing Score found.

Health and nutrition experts are not surprised. “I think it’s normal to be overweight now,” New Zealand Nutrition Foundation dietitian Sarah Hanrahan said.   Read more »

Mental Health Break