NZ

The great Sky City tax payer robbery, coming to a trough near you

Mr Joyce said he couldn’t rule out the taxpayer helping to meet part of the shortfall.

No.

No no no!

Design improvements, a new five-star hotel and inflation have rocketed up the SkyCity convention centre’s pricetag by as much as $130 million.

And while additional gambling concessions are off the table to meet any shortfall for the building, taxpayer funding is under discussion.

SkyCity yesterday lodged its resource consent application for the centre, which it’s building in return for concessions such as extra gaming machines worth as much as $42 million a year in additional profits.

Announcing the application, SkyCity chief Nigel Morrison revealed the cost of the convention centre had jumped to between $470 million and $530 million.

The casino operator had previously estimated it would cost $402 million, which it agreed to cover in return for extending its Auckland gaming licence until 2048.

SkyCity — which reported a net profit of $123.2 million last year — is now in talks with the Government on how to fund the increased cost.

In August, SkyCity announced it had increased the scope of the project, unveiling plans for a 12-storey five-star hotel.

Private Public Partnerships are agreements where the private partner takes the risk away from the public, not the other way around.   Read more »

High Quality Staff at Charter Schools: PPTA NIghtmare

Back in February the PPTA were in full panic mode, and still are, about Charter Schools in NZ.

Their recommendations and comments:

- that PPTA members should not seek to work in charter schools and should avoid all professional, sporting and cultural liaison with the sponsors, managers and employees of said schools

– that the five New Zealand charter schools are simply “useful idiots”

The PPTA exec must have wept when the new schools attracted staff and must be apoplectic when schools like Vanguard Military School and South Auckland Middle School generated quality ERO reports (not a bad effort for “useful idiots”).

For kids who need choice this is clearly good news (a point lost on teacher unions) and there seems better to come. The new Middle School in West Auckland recently announced their leadership and highly academic intent.

James Haggett has been appointed Principal of West Auckland’s newest school, Middle School West Auckland, opening in February 2015.

The new school, based at 4341 Great North Rd in Glendene, is for boys and girls in Years 7-10.

Mr Haggett brings experience in two educational examination systems (NCEA and Cambridge), as well as the context of teaching in both the UK and New Zealand.

“I am delighted to lead the establishment of Middle School West Auckland. I identify strongly with the absolute academic drive of the school.

“My experience in the secondary school sector will be useful to ensuring our students are well prepared and transition effectively to the high schools of their choice.”

Mr Haggett’s early teaching career was in low socio-economic schools in the UK. Emigrating to New Zealand seven years ago, he was the Deputy Headmaster in charge of Curriculum at St Peters College, a Catholic secondary school for boys. In addition, he has operated an education consultancy, tutoring students to Excellence level.

Read more »

So-called OECD report into inequality slammed by Rodney Hide

In the NBR Rodney Hide does what no mainstream journalist apparently bothered to do, actually read the co-called report by the OECD into the economy.

Andrew Little and Russel Norman were involved donkey deep in slamming the government over the “report”, but it appears they didn’t read it either.

Rodney Hide did however.

[W]hat a proposition! That inequality hampers growth.

It sounds nonsense, but is it? I thought on your behalf, dear readers, I should wrap a wet towel around my head and find out.

The first thing I noted was that it’s not an official OECD report. It’s a working paper. “The opinions expressed and arguments employed are those of the author.” “OECD Working Papers should not be reported as representing the official views of the OECD.”

Ok so not a report at all, just a working paper from some womble.

The study itself starts badly saying it’s not known whether inequality has a positive or negative effect or whether it has any effect at all. The author has no theory. There is no testable hypothesis.

Undaunted, he dives into 40 years of data across 31 countries. His trusty computer and statistical package grinds away.

Aha, out spits a result. It’s significant! But it makes no sense. Especially the bits that didn’t make news.

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Winston knew this was coming, and dumped her from the party

Asenati-Lole-Taylor-via-twitter

I tried to run this as an important story about an MP breaking the law at the time, but the media were so pre-occupied with their own little games, it allowed Winston Peters to duck quite the controversy.  It may have earned him a few percentage points for the final party vote.

Former NZ First MP Asenati Lole-Taylor inappropriately accessed the criminal records of a former party official, the Department of Corrections has confirmed.

Dennis Taylor, her husband, lost his job last month after an investigation found he looked up historic convictions of NZ First’s former director and Mana electorate chairwoman Marise Bishop.

Now, in a letter to Bishop, Corrections has revealed the investigation found Lole-Taylor, who was a rehabilitation and reintegration services adviser at the time, also broke the rules.

But because she quit Corrections after becoming a list MP in 2011, they can take no action. Read more »

The Boagan signs up Brian “Opinion-for-Hire” Rudman

rudman

By now, regular readers will know all about Michelle “The Boagan” Boag’s campaign to steal $2.1 billion from the Auckland Energy Consumer Trust to give to her new friend Lyin’ Len Brown so he can build his trainset a bit earlier than planned.

But remember, this is The Boagan we’re dealing with here. Her campaign is going about as well as when she got caught videoing the Winebox Inquiry, or when she made Bill English leader of the National Party, or the Blackheart America’s Cup fiasco, or her “help” in John Banks’ mayoral campaign …

If The Boagan’s involved you don’t have to wait long for a fiasco.

And so it has happened again.

Of the original Ten Dwarfs, The Boagan recruited to her $2.1 billion snatch, it turns out some didn’t even know they were meant to be involved.

The original Ten Dwarfs were:

  1. Kim Campbell – from the Employers’ and Manufacturer’s Association
  2. Michael Barnett – from the Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce
  3. Tony Garnier – from the Auckland Business Forum
  4. Stephen Selwood – from the NZ Council for Infrastructure Development
  5. Barney Irvine – from the Automobile Association
  6. David Aitken – from the National Road Carriers Association
  7. Heather Shotter – Committee for Auckland
  8. Cameron Pitchers – from the Campaign for Better Transport
  9. Connall Townsend – from the NZ Property Council
  10. Jeremy Sole – NZ Contractors Federation

Whaleoil’s spy at the big meeting to plan The Boagan’s campaign say as soon as they got wind of what she planned, Barney Irvine, Connall Townsend, David Aitkin and Jeremy Sole decided not even to show up.

Tony Garnier did show up but made clear he was there only to listen and wasn’t signing up to anything. Stephen Selwood turned up and spoke strongly against The Boagan’s $2.1 billion snatch.

Now the tipline is running hot with news Michael Barnett of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce had his eye off the ball and didn’t really know how he was being used by The Boagan. His board is furious. They knew nothing about the snatch.

Even the Boagan’s old winebox mates at Russell McVeagh weren’t impressed either when they found out they were being asked to unleash the legal dogs of war against AECT.    Read more »

A Chamber board member writes about AECT

boag-grinch

There is much scrambling occurring behind the scenes after Michelle Boag’s little plan to raid the AECT consolidated fund and hand the cash to Len Brown was rumbled.

A humber of people named are now backing away from the plan, and some feel they have been mis-represented by their attendance at Kim ‘The Clown’ Campbell’s little meeting the other day.

Clearly people are frustrated at the Boagan’s old school whispering campaign and it looks and sounds like the Chamber is running a million miles away from her nationalisation/theft scheme.

One Chamber of Commerce board member writes:

Dear Cameron,

I have long been a reader of your blog, and appreciate that you have a desire to put the truth out in front of your readers.

I also understand that you suspect the motives of some people, and use your blog to raise these issues into the sunlight.

I know that you accept that you don’t always get it right, and have, in the past, been happy to acknowledge this, and apologise accordingly.

Your recent attack on Michael Barnett and the Chamber of Commerce is one of those errors.

I am not a neutral bystander in this, and write as someone who chose to be a Director of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce. This choice was made through years of watching the way the Chamber, and Michael work.

The Chamber is the rational voice of business within Auckland. An organisation which works to make sure that the physical and political landscape is shaped to serve the interests of Auckland, by ensuring that the business environment is the best it can be.

This is not an easy task, and for many years the Chamber has worked away to ensure that business has a rational and respected voice.

Michael has been a voice promoting initially the need for significant transport projects in Auckland, and then promoting the debate on where the funding will come from. Auckland faces a dramatic shortfall in funding for transport projects whether or not the Central Rail Link is built.

Government has accepted the Central Rail Link case, and has said that it will provide funding when certain conditions are met, and after a certain date if they are not.

The debate that needs to happen is for Auckland City to determine where it will source its funding, and how it will achieve that.

The only way for this to happen fairly is to bring all of the options on to the table, and work out which ones are available for use. Read more »

Winners are grinners, thanks John

John Armstrong tries to have a dig while at the same time declaring me a winner of the year…ah and there is yet another cartoon about me.

He will be the next target of Giovanni Tiso’s Stalinist inspired online bullying.

Winners: Andrew Little; Paula Bennett; Cameron Slater. Has Labour’s luck finally changed? Little nearly did not make it back into Parliament following Labour’s dreadful election. His victory in the party’s subsequent leadership contest could hardly have been slimmer. But he has taken on the cloak of leadership with gusto. Labour finally has a game-changer. National would be foolish to still believe otherwise.

Bennett got the jobs she wanted in the Cabinet reshuffle. Now positioned as deputy leader-in-waiting as a minimum – and could go even higher when Key eventually departs.

Slater got slam-dunked by Dirty Politics; his influence within the corridors of power has consequently diminished. Outside, it has grown exponentially. Bad publicity is good news for Whale Oil.

Read more »

If the Sony hack was an act of terrorism then perhaps the media might like to explain what Dirty Politics was

The media jumped right into Dirty Politics, they revelled in it, they hunted down and still hunt down people to cause them to lose their jobs. They are as complicit as the hacker was in a crime, yet they still act like they have done nothing wrong.

Meanwhile in the US we have the Sony hack where largely the media aren’t reproducing emails or attacking stars for their coarse private communications.

It is perverse.

We now also have the announcement from the FBI that the criminals behind the Sony hack are from North Korea. Worse still they have stated that North Korea’s government is actually behind the hack.

The FBI has confirmed North Korea was behind the cyber attacks on Sony Pictures.

“As a result of our investigation, and in close collaboration with other US Government departments and agencies, the FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions,” a FBI statement said.

“While the need to protect sensitive sources and methods precludes us from sharing all of this information, our conclusion is based, in part, on similarities in specific lines of code, encryption algorithms, data deletion methods, and compromised networks.”

“We are deeply concerned about the destructive nature of this attack on a private sector entity and the ordinary citizens who worked there,” the FBI said in the brief statement.

“Further, North Korea’s attack on SPE (Sony Pictures Entertainment) reaffirms that cyber threats pose one of the gravest national security dangers to the United States.”

The FBI said that it had “determined that the intrusion into SPE’s network consisted of the deployment of destructive malware and the theft of proprietary information as well as employees’ personally identifiable information and confidential communications.”    Read more »

Woolworths Australia under investigation for same Bully Boy tactics as Countdown

Countdown claimed to be exonerated despite 91 complaints against them, after a report and investigation from the Commerce Commission.

Woolworths in Australia has the same owners as Progressive/Countdown in NZ  and our Commerce Commission let them off the hook after Shane Jones claims.

Woolworths is now being accused of the same bully boy Maia style standover tactics as has recently occurred in New Zealand and the Australian regulators are investigating.

WOOLWORTHS buyers have told suppliers their products could be pulled from shelves just days before Christmas if they refuse to fund the supermarket giant’s new Cheap Cheap advertising campaign.

“I was asked for a contribution of almost $1 million, and when I refused to pay I was told a ‘range review’ was underway and I would be informed of the outcome early next week,” said the sales manager of one of Australia’s leading health product companies.

“The implied threat is that some of my products will no longer be stocked if I don’t pay up.”

Woolworths staff have also been accused of telling suppliers the payment requests had the “endorsement” of the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) – a claim that the consumer watchdog rejects.   Read more »

Scumbag baby basher jailed, but not for long enough

Anyone who bashes a baby should serve a good long stretch in prison.

One baby basher has just been sentenced to 4 years and 5 months in prison, Not long enough.

A computer gamer who bashed and critically injured his baby boy has been sentenced to jail for the act described as “a complete horror story”.

Waipukurau man Devon Ashley Bird, 21, appeared in Napier District Court this morning for sentencing after pleading guilty to ill-treating a child and causing grievous bodily harm with reckless disregard last month.

Judge Bridget Mackintosh sentenced him to four years and five months in prison.

The story of his abuse is horrific.

The offending occurred on November 1, 2013 after Bird’s partner and mother of the nearly five-week-old baby boy had spent the night caring for her son at their Central Hawke’s Bay home.

She woke Bird about 6.30am and asked him to care for their baby, who was asleep in a bassinet, so she could rest, court documents said.

At some time between 6.30am and 10am, while the baby was in his sole care, Bird caused what a doctor said was “non-accidental trauma and extremely unusual for a five-week-old infant”.

It was also during this period that Bird, who is studying computer science at EIT, began playing the graphic video game The Walking Dead.

The game is described online as a “survival game in the midst of a zombie apocalypse”.

The boy’s grandmother described the incident as a “complete horror story”.   Read more »