Politics

Michael Cullen’s only legacy crumbles to dust

Cullen was generally regarded as a steady steward of the nation’s funds, although many who said so conveniently ignored the fact he did so during an economic boom time when he had no idea what to do with all the money coming out of the tax payer fountain.

Upon his departure, the purchase of KiwiRail at the blunt end of $2B was as cynical as it was an act of sabotage.

But all through this period, and until recently, people still thought kindly of him when talking about KiwiSaver.

That myth just fell apart too.

KiwiSaver tax credits cost more than $800 million a year but careful analysis by Treasury economists of the best data we have on household finances can find no evidence it has boosted the accumulation of wealth, a key objective of the scheme.

Research by David Law and Grant Scobie published by the Treasury examined data from Statistics New Zealand’s longitudinal Survey of Family, Income and Employment (SoFIE).

Their first look at SoFIE found that between 2008 (the first “wave” of data after KiwiSaver was introduced in 2007) and 2010 (the last before it was discontinued) both members and non-members of KiwiSaver increased their savings, defined as net wealth or assets minus liabilities.

But non-members fared better than members, averaging an increase of $32,000 or twice that recorded by KiwiSaver members.

In English – people who avoided KiwiSaver and made their own arrangements are better off than the state-run semi-compulsory scheme that was supposed to save us (heh) from ourselves. Read more »

The Huddle at 1740

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It’s Monday and I’m on ZB with Larry Williams to do The Huddle with pinko attack blogger David Farrar

Our topics will be:

  • First up we’ve got the winners and losers in the Labour line up.
  • Then  moving on and the hand wringing goes on over Roger Sutton’s resignation.   Read more »

Patrick Gower on Andrew Little and today’s announcement

Not surprisingly, the Labour fanboi is excited as the new Labour leader has managed to make it through 3 pressers and 2 interviews.  Yes, that’s all it takes to call a winner.

Little has barely put a foot wrong in his short time as leader, and the conservative reshuffle announced is another example.

I’ve now watched Little get through three press conferences, two major interviews and a reshuffle with no black marks.

With the reshuffle, Little has shown considerable political skill as he goes about building the complex latticework of loyalty required to run the Labour caucus.

The reshuffle is what John Key would call an elegant solution.

I think it has the right mix of a good deputy, Grant Robertson and David Cunliffe in the right spots and an effective front and mid-bench.

If it wasn’t Monday, you would be forgiven for thinking it was Throwback Thursday, given he has chosen Annette King as his deputy.

King was of course on Team Grant and hardly screams next generation.

But I actually think King as deputy is a good call. Aunty Annie is a cross between Labour’s Mother Hen and a Courtney Place bouncer. She is highly effective in Parliament, incredibly loyal to Labour Inc, doesn’t want to roll him and will be a good mentor to Little now he has plonked her in his inner circle.

Due to the time of year, I think Little will get the benefit of a few months of performing under very low pressure.  This will lead to a false impression and sense of competence.  One thing that Paddy forgets is that it isn’t just a case of being a steady leader – his talent below him will continue to be the gifts that keep on giving.  Let’s see how he survives a few scandals.   Read more »

Random Impertinent Thoughts on Little Andy’s line up

 

 

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The Finance man has no private sector experience, or business experience for that matter.

The Justice spokeswomen doesn’t even have a law degree.

The small business spokeswomen has only ever run a bath, and never a business small or otherwise.

The spokeswomen for children doesn’t even have kids.

The last time the landlady was deputy leader there was a cone of silence about an incident in her house…will she front up over that this time around.

The sports spokesman has an uncanny habit of poo-fingering events he attends, and his cycling partners end up injured in smashes.

The Veterans Affairs spokesman’s last interaction with Veterans was chucking red paint at them and spitting in their faces. I doubt there is an RSA int eh country that wants him turning up.

The Maori Development spokeswoman did nothing for 18 years, is this the plan for Maori development?

… good luck Andrew.

Ding Dong, El Presidente’s gone

BREAKING

This morning the Building Services Contractors New Zealand (BSC for short) sent out an email to members announcing that El Presidente Patrick Lee-Lo has stepped down as National President.

You may recall that for some time WOBH has poured sunlight into the BSC. Many, including Rodney Hide, called it a cartel-like organisation for being party to an Principles Agreement that excluded businesses from government contracts.

National’s former Minister of Labour Simon Bridges did the right thing and axed this agreement, much to the horror of El Presidente who claimed it was part of some conspiracy to undermine workers’ rights.

According to the announcement sent to members (and forwarded to WOBH by a member of the fish-gang), CEO Lillian Small says Patrick Lee-Lo was a ‘vibrant President’. I’d agree with that.

Here’s the email.   Read more »

Another registered teacher in trouble

Labour and the teacher unions oppose charter schools because they say the lack of a requirement for teachers to be registered puts kids at risk.

Today yet another teacher is under investigation for untoward behaviour with students.

A female physical education teacher at an Auckland high school is on sick leave after she was accused of favouritism towards at least one teenage boy.

As a result of the allegations, the high school is remarking a year of internal NCEA grades for the teacher’s Year 13 class, prompting concern among parents and students some grades will go down.

The teacher, who the Herald has chosen not to name, has been on extended sick leave since the allegations surfaced last month.     Read more »

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Key finally takes a position on the Sutton debacle

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Iain Rennie – is he past his use-by date?

As I predicted on Friday, after a whole week of relative silence, John Key finally has an opinion after Curia’s been scouring the population to tell him what to think.

Mr Key told Radio New Zealand today the press conference was a “miscalculation”.

“There’s no way that he should have conducted a joint press conference with Mr Sutton.”

It give the impression that he was siding with Mr Sutton and it gave an unfair platform for Mr Sutton when the complainant was not given that same platform, Mr Key said. Read more »

Whinging Poms seem to want to stop Israel defending itself

Me with the Iron Dome Photo/ Cam Slater, Whaleoil Media

Pommy whingers and haters of Israel seem to want to stop Israel from defending itself by opposing the shipping of vital components for their defence forces.

Britain approved the sale of arms to Israel worth ÂŁ7m in the six months before its offensive on Gaza this summer, including components for drones, combat aircraft and helicopters along with spare parts for sniper rifles, according to figures seen byThe Independent.

The government data will raise fresh concerns that British-made equipment was used by the Israeli military during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in July and August, which led to more than 2,000 Palestinian deaths and 73 Israeli fatalities, 66 of them soldiers.

The Independent can reveal that ministers in the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) have also ordered a fresh review of military export licences to Israel granted prior to the outbreak of the conflict after officials found 12 instances where arms containing British components may have been used in Gaza by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).

The refusal of the Government to suspend these licences caused a split in the Coalition and led to the resignation of Foreign Office minister Baroness Warsi, who described Britain’s stance during the Israeli land and air assault as “morally indefensible”.

Official figures declared to the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) show that Britain granted 68 export licences for ÂŁ6.96 of military-use items to be sent to Israel between January and the end of June this year.

The licences covered a broad range of weaponry, including parts for drones and combat jets as well as military radar components and £600,000 of “high-power RF weapon systems”, in effect energy ray weapons which can be used for purposes from air defence to disabling cars.

The licences also included armour plating, anti-armour ammunition, electronic warfare components, sniper rifle parts and technology for weapons sights. One licence for an unspecified amount of small arms ammunition was refused on grounds of “risk of diversion or re-export to undesirable end-users”.  Read more »

National pressured into early release of draft Terror Bill after leaks to media

National is entering a new phase with it no longer able to set the timetable when it comes to when information is released.  Reacting to a second leak in less than a week, National’s released its draft policy over the weekend.   And none of the framing they would normally be able to do in the run-up of such a release has been able to be used, so everyone’s looking at it kinda raw

The changes were a response to the growing risk of radicalised fighters returning to New Zealand to carry out domestic attacks.

Mr Key said in a statement: “As I said earlier this month, New Zealand’s risk and threat profile is changing and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has been successful in recruiting New Zealanders to its cause.”

New Zealand’s domestic threat level was raised from very low to low last month, meaning a terrorist attack was possible but not likely.

Government has drawn up a watchlist of between 30 and 40 people “of concern in the foreign fighter context”.

The legislation’s key changes were:

• Extending the period the Minister of Internal Affairs can cancel a passport to up to three years from the existing law’s 12 months.

• Giving the Minister of Internal Affairs the power to temporarily suspend passports for up to 10 working days in urgent cases.

• Allowing the NZ Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) to carry out video surveillance on private properties for the purpose of observing activities of security concern, modelled on the Police’s powers in the Search and Surveillance Act

• Allowing the NZSIS to conduct emergency surveillance for up to 48 hours prior to the issue of a warrant, with the approval of its Director and subject to the oversight of the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security. Read more »

Andrew Little extends the 90 Day bill to 365 days for his ‘team’

According to 3News Andrew Little is going to put his MPs on trial periods of performance.

I wrote about that in passing yesterday but have had some more thoughts about Andrew Little’s conversion to performance based contracts.

New Labour leader Andrew Little is not revealing which roles Labour Party members will take, but says there no guarantee they will keep them.

Mr Little says he’s been “having very good conversations with every caucus member” to determine who takes on which role.

However, they may not be the people who take the party into the 2017 election, he told The Nation today.

The party was trying to achieve and fresh look and harness the talent it had.

“I may play the role of the coach and say hey listen lets try some people in new slots. Lets try some combinations, but listen we may well come to review those.

“The party had new members and wanted to try others in senior roles, Mr Little said.

Lets try them out while we’ve got a bit of an opportunity to do that, but by the end of next year, two years out from the election, lets crystalise who the team will be that will take us charging into 2017.

So Andrew Little is giving MP’s 12 month contracts…based on performance…well knock me down with a feather, but this is refreshing.

  1. Casualisation of workforce
  2. Extends 90 day bill to 365 days
  3. Individual contracts
  4. No collective bargaining by MPs
  5. MPs given no opportunity to have a support person when losing their current role
  6. MPs bullied out of their roles

Read more »