Politics

Get ready for Len’s fireworks inspectors

Len Brown’s council seems intent on poo-fingering any event that people might have fun at.

The latest imposition of silly rule making twats with clipboards is over Guy Fawkes night next week.

Aucklanders wanting to celebrate Guy Fawkes on November 5 must find a public display or stay in their backyards, the council says.

Fireworks were banned from public places in May this year with the aim of protecting people, animals and property from the risks of fireworks. ¬†¬† Read more »

Another dud Green idea

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The Green party is a party of dud MPs, dud ideas and dud results.

Yet another of their dud ideas has crashed and burned because they never bothered to check out the details.

They wanted the government to replace the extremely fuel efficient diesel BMW fleet with gay electric cars…except they never checked if they will ever be available in New Zealand.

The Green Party may have ideas around having Tesla Model S sedans as government limousines, but if they do they will be private imports, with Tesla telling AutoTalk it has no plans for the New Zealand market. ¬† Read more »

This could so easily describe NZ Labour

Ed Miliband is dead set useless.

He is about to lead the Labour party to a stunning and crushing defeat in Scotland at the hands of the Scottish National Party.

Ed Miliband’s hopes of become Britain’s next Prime Minister suffered a serious setback today as a new poll suggested Labour is facing political annihilation at the hands of the SNP in its Scottish heartlands.

The survey, by Ipsos Mori, found Labour is currently polling at just 23 per cent in Scotland which, if replicated in May, would see the party lose all but four of the 41 MPs it currently has north of the border.

Such a result would make it next to impossible for Labour to win an overall majority in Westminster and form a Government after the next election.¬† Read more »

David Cunliffe is running for Deputy leader

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New Lynn have gone all in on Andrew Little

Former Labour leader David Cunliffe‚Äôs loyalists appear to have thrown their weight behind Andrew Little in the Labour leadership race, including promoting unofficial meetings for him and fellow contender Nanaia Mahuta. Read more »

Karl du Fresne on the news and why he is wrong

Karl du Fresne is a good writer, I enjoy his work.

Yesterday he wrote about the news and in particular the thoughts of Mike O’Donnell and news.

O’Donnell suggests that by the time of the next general election, social media may have rendered the evening television news bulletin extinct. His theory seems to be that consumers of news (a ghastly phrase) will no longer be prepared to wait until 6pm for their fix, but will update themselves constantly throughout the day by accessing news on their smartphones and tablets.

People have the capability to do that now. But do the vast number who still get their news from newspapers, TV and radio really have such a voracious appetite for information that in future they will demand it in (to use another ghastly phrase) “real time”?

I somehow doubt it, and I wonder whether people like O’Donnell have been misled by their own enthusiasm for the digital revolution and their missionary desire to promote its supposed benefits.

du Fresne is both right and dead wrong.

Same with O’Donnell.

People do want news real time, and they don’t care if the quality is poor, they are happy for it to evolve in the course of the life of the story. Mostly though the medium for consuming news will not be via social media…that will simply be the conduit through which you are informed that news exists.

Social media is vastly over-rated and in New Zealand the so-called Twittersphere is in reality a very small world….populated by vocal lefties and tragics who feel the need to comment one everything but ad zero value to the discourse. Just because you can say something doesn’t mean you should.

On top of that the Twitter warriors who try to mount campaigns and bully, threaten and intimidate overstate their actual reach.

During the whole Dirty Politics saga which was designed to cause maximum pressure on me and my associates, but also designed to subvert an election, I was called by people asking me if I had seen this or that mentioned on Twitter. I almost never had seen. I don’t live with my head inside my phone. Frankly Twitter is a waste of time. Again, the general election result proved that.

If you had listened to the agitators and plotter and the guilty on Twitter then my demise was hoped for, in reality as well as metaphorically, but it failed to materialise. Twitter and social media was supposed to deliver the left an election victory. It failed.

Why?

It failed because there is an incredibly small number of people using Twitter, and they only ever talk to each other. They essentially form a group that produces confirmation bias. But when you are wrong and you only talk to people who meet with your ideas of proper political beliefs then all you do is chat agreeing with each other. ¬† Read more »

Why is there no law to rein in dodgy ratbag local body politicians?

Former ARC Councillor Bill Burrill is not the first dodgy ratbag Councillor to trough from abuses of power to his own pecuniary advantage in recent years.

A few years back in 2009 Council Watch was calling for a number of Councillors from the Canterbury Regional Council to be prosecuted and sacked from their positions after an investigation by the Auditor General Lyn Provost found that four individuals had broken the law by acting in conflict with their official role.

Back then those Canterbury Councillors failed to declare a conflict on interest that lead to a financial benefit for themselves by participating in discussion and voting on proposals before Council.

Under investigation the Auditor General’s office chose not to prosecute stating that whilst the Councillors should have withdrawn as a matter of principle – they had each received and shared legal advice that they could participate.

And here in lies the problem. The Auditor General and Office of the Ombudsmen publish clear guidelines for Councillors and council staff but the reality is that the law is erroneously filled with holes that are exploited and there is precious little oversight of Local Government leading to the Auditor General loathing to bother and the Court’s uninterested.

Why this is concerning is that whilst central Government politicians are placed under the spotlight and sometimes prosecuted for their actions (think Taito Phillip Field by way of example) there appears to be virtually no scrutiny of politicians at a local level.

“A widespread and systemic lack of compliance for the law exists within Local Government” noted Council Watch back in 2009. ¬†¬† Read more »

For once I agree with Russel Norman

Don’t get upset, but Russel is right. ¬†But he doesn’t go far enough.

The Prime Minister John Key says he won’t reveal the name given to him as the identity of the hacker known as Rawshark, and won’t pass it on to police.

“In the end if the individual who told me wants to tell the police they are welcome to do that,” Mr Key said at a media conference today.

In a new chapter in John Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, devoted to this year’s election campaign, Mr Key is quoted as saying: “Someone phoned and told me who the hacker was, but other than having a look at this person, I thought, ‘Oh well … nothing will come of it. Life goes on’.”

Mr Key said today he had learned from the Teapot Tapes scandal in 2011.

“I could spend my life worrying about people who undertake activities to try to discredit the government but at the end of the day it doesn’t take you anywhere.” Read more »

Did you know we still have convicted homosexuals running free?

Before homosexual law reform came in during the ’80s (and boy, was that a debacle), police actually prosecuted gay men for doing things that heterosexual men could do legally. ¬†And some of them still carry such convictions on their police records.

People convicted of historical homosexual acts could have their criminal records wiped, with new Justice Minister Amy Adams saying she is open to resuming talks on the subject.

Until the Homosexual Law Reform Act was passed in 1986 – with the help of then-Wellington MP Fran Wilde – sex between men was a crime.

But although those who were convicted before 1986 do not need to declare their convictions because of the Clean Slate Act, activists say the stigma still hangs over them.

Earlier this year, former justice minister Judith Collins received advice from the Ministry of Justice about options for pardoning or expunging those convictions

But the ministry refused to provide the information to The Dominion Post, saying it needed to protect the confidentiality of advice given by officials.

It also said it did not hold information on the total number of convictions under the act, nor did it have any idea how many people might be eligible to be pardoned or have their convictions expunged.

The ministry said it could provide figures for people convicted on homosexuality-related offences between July 1, 1980, and August 8, 1986.

During that period, there were 879 convictions, including sodomy with another man aged over 16, committing an indecent act with another man, and “keeping place of resort for homosexual acts”.

Guess what? ¬†The Green Party was working with the National party to clear this up. ¬† Uhuh, ¬†odd eh? ¬†Wonder if Russel “knew”? ¬† Read more »

Forget tea breaks, it is smokers who take diabolical liberties

The NZ Herald editorial this morning is having a party political broadcast on behalf of the Labour party and their whinge fest over tea breaks.

It is a pity that almost the first legislative act of the Government’s new term is an act abolishing mandatory “tea breaks” for workers.

Certainly the previous law was dated, though it was enacted under Labour as recently as 2008. It was an echo of an era when most work was menial, repetitive, tedious, sometimes exhausting, and most people were employed on terms negotiated collectively. Today a minority of the workforce belongs to unions and those who do are mostly in state employment. They are in desk jobs or professions and hardly need rest and meal breaks specified in law.

In fact most might have been alarmed to be permitted just one paid 10-minute break in a period of two to four hours, or two 10-minute breaks and a 30-minute meal break in a six to eight-hour working day. The Government has replaced those provisions with a less precise requirement for rest and meal breaks to be agreed between employers and staff. It is a sensible change but was it necessary? The previous law operated as a statutory minimum, a safety net for anyone with an unreasonable employer, but it hardly intruded on normal workplaces.

For a start tea breaks are not abolished, they are made more flexible allowing workers to take breaks when peaks times are at an end.¬† Read more »

Four years old but so accurate for today, Thomas Sewell on Global Warming and other causes

Author Thomas Sowell argues that public demand for intellectuals is largely manufactured by intellectuals themselves. He says intellectuals make alarming predictions using causes like global warming to create a need for their services.

Which brings us to New Zealand. ¬†¬† Read more »