Can Andrew Little win next year’s election? No, says Brian Edwards

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My good friend Brian Edwards has come out of retirement from blogging again.

This time he is giving his considered opinion of Andrew Little’s electability in the 2017 election.

See, I think this Andrew Little is a pretty good guy. Here’s what I said about him just after I’d come to that conclusion: “Whether being good and looking good, whether being yourself and acting yourself are entirely compatible is not something I want to canvass here. But I do know that if you don’t ‘come across’ on television and radio your chances of political success are greatly and quite possibly fatally reduced.  Read more »

Corporate tax dodger NZ Herald finally pays what it owes

The NZ Herald recently ran a campaign, fronted by Matt Nippert, against corporate tax dodgers.

They accused all sorts of companies of various nefarious tax activities but never once called into question their owners and their proven tax evasion. Now they’ve finally given in and settled with IRD for more than $36 million they owed for their corporate tax dodging.

Australian publisher APN News & Media, which includes the NZ Herald in its stable, has reached a binding heads of agreement with the Inland Revenue Department to settle its alleged tax avoidance case and other disputed tax issues for $36.3 million – around half the amount that was in dispute.

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Really? Get some brains

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This came in on the tipline last night:

“How can you be supporting the lefty corey hebberd, He’s the chairman of Marlborough Labour!”

I don’t see how I am supporting Corey Hebberd (whether he is Labour or not) by publishing a late night email from a bullying Mayor.

I’ve never met Corey Hebberd, but by all accounts he is a pretty capable fellow even if he is in the Labour party.

Personally, I couldn’t care less what party he is in. My target is the bullying late night emailing mayor who is bullying people into silence with his legal threats.   Read more »

Traditional political models predict Trump will absolutely tank

As an analyst of US politics, Nate Silver has been uncannily accurate and able to embarrass the pros.

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Fatty prison guards forced to pass fitness test

The fatties in the Corrections Union have lost their bid to remain fat bastards and not do fitness assessments.

The prison union has lost its battle about the introduction of fitness tests for guards after arguing they should be paid for their troubles.

Last year the Department of Corrections announced it would introduce a Physical Readiness Assessment (PRA) for its staff to ensure they were able to respond to emergencies.

The six-step test would grade each employee either green, amber or red.

Amber employees would be able to repeat the test in a fortnight and if still graded amber would be provided with support and re-tested in a year.

Red employees would have to submit to further medical and safety assessments to determine if they could remain in their roles or have their duties changed.

It could also result in an employee having to take either paid or unpaid sick leave until they improved their fitness levels.

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Could the new port be on the Firth of Thames?

Richard Harman from Politik seems to think so.

The study on the future of Auckland Port to be released on Friday is likely to recommend a “super port” near Waimangu Point in the Firth of Thames to be built within the next 35 years.

And the port is likely to replace  both Auckland and Tauranga.

POLITIK understands the study will reject the Manukau Harbour proposal because it would pose huge technical and resource consent challenges.

Northland has also been rejected because of the difficulty transporting cargo backwoods and forwards across Auckland city. POLITIK has spoken to two sources close to the Study Group and has been briefed on the details of the report.

One source  says  offers several advantages:

  • There is 15m of water depth almost right to the shore
  • It is closer to South Auckland
  • And it is closer to the Waikato

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Chief of Defence Force to visit Fiji

The NZDF has issued a press release about the visit to Fiji of the Chief of Defence:

The Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General (LTGEN) Tim Keating, is in Fiji today and tomorrow holding a counterpart visit with the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.

“The visit is an opportunity for me to hear first hand what Fiji’s defence priorities are and to discuss defence and security co-operation opportunities,” says LTGEN Keating.

“I will also be interested to hear how Fiji’s recovery and rebuild is progressing following the devastating Tropical Cyclone Winston.”

The New Zealand Defence Force was heavily involved in the response to the cyclone earlier this year, sending our biggest peacetime deployment to the Pacific, involving ships, aircraft and over 500 defence personnel to aid with the response effort.   Read more »

Bullying Mayor sends threatening late night email

The ongoing scandal over the mismanagement of the theatre in Marlborough seems to be boiling over, with the Mayor staying up late at night sending threatening emails to a constituent.

Word on the street is that Mayor Sowman, as he signs his threatening late night emails, is feeling the pressure after being called upon to resign over the massive spending blow out on the “World-class Theatre”. This is the theatre that has projected revenue of $28,000 per week from a district with about 45,000 people, as we highlighted earlier today.

Here is the email thread.

From: Corey Hebberd
Sent: Wednesday, 29 June 2016 8:18 p.m.
To: Mayor Sowman-7100; Jenny Andrews; Jamie Arbuckle; votejessica@[]co.nz; Graeme Barsanti; Cynthia Brooks; Brian Dawson; B Dawson – 2nd email address; Geoff Evans; Trevor Hook; Peter Jerram; John Leggett; David Oddie; Laressa Shenfield; Terry Sloan
Subject: ASB Theatre Funding
Importance: High

Dear Councillors

ASB Theatre Funding

Tomorrow, you face an incredibly hard decision on the ASB Theatre project.

Mayor Sowman has proposed:

· Paying the Trust some $5.1m to repay its debt to ASB Bank and Rata Foundation
· Increasing the Trust’s $200k annual operating subsidy by $190k to $390k, being funded from reserves

This bailout package is significant:

· $5.1m equates to an amount equivalently equal to an 8% rates increase
· The increased operations subsidy is equivalently equal to a 0.33% rates increase
· Reserves are already severely depleted – every dollar you drain from reserves and MDCHL/MAL/PMNZ is another dollar that can’t be spent on community infrastructure, like roads, water, the environment etc.

MCTT have failed to ensure that the investment Council has applied to this project is spent wisely. Instead, the project faces insolvency and collapse, as a result of a lack of transparency and adequate reporting. You cannot seriously consider yourself to be acting in the best interests of Marlborough residents and ratepayers if you allow this lack of transparency and reporting to continue. It is what has gotten us (you, and Marlborough ratepayers) into this predicament.

For the record, I support MDC moving to acquire the Trust’s “world class asset”, and vest it in public ownership. This project must be finished – it’s too late to turn back, however, the fiscal and governance disciplines you apply tomorrow will determine whether this project can continue to drift rudderless into the future, or if it can be governed through to a “safe harbour” by Council.

Any recommendation “asking” the Trust to report on financials or allowing the CFO to attend is ludicrous – this is beyond a point where Council should have to “ask” the Trust – it is time to hold them to account and demand accountability – not simply ask nicely for it.

The Blenheim Residents and Ratepayers Association petition has exceeded 200 signatures, faring well against the number of submissions made to MDC’s AP process.

In closing, I leave you with some comments made recently from the last few days online by Marlborough residents/ratepayers, who simply want you to act responsibly tomorrow:

· The Mayor has previously apologized for not keeping Councilors informed! There is no doubt that the buck stops there.
· Perhaps it is time to bring in the Auditor General, and bring some accountability to those who have left ratepayers in this position?
· Clearly there has been an absence of governance, and the ratepayers have been misled, quite possibly with malice of forethought, by those involved.
· “We have a world-class asset.”……and a world class pile of debt…
· These [four] councillors [Bagge, Arbuckle, Shenfield, Evans] are simply doing what we have all been thinking. Well done Councillor Bagge, you have real integrity. We will miss you. Enough is enough. It is time Sowman cleaned out his locker.
· Sowman’s ego won’t quit!
· Enough is enough!!
· Never has so much ratepayer money been so unwisely spent by so few with so little accountability!

Here are the results of an online poll, asking “Do you support MDC’s proposed $5m bailout of the Marlborough Civic Theatre project, and MDC’s proposal to increase the annual subsidy to $390k?”


Vote wisely tomorrow – for many of you, it will be a defining moment.

Yours sincerely

Corey Hebberd
+64 27 819 []


Followed by this hostile Andrew Williamseque email from the Mayor.  Read more »

The Press editorial on politicising tragedy

In the wake of the sentencing of scumbags Tania Shailer and David Haerewa for killing “Moko”, the Press editorial takes issue with the politicising of tragedy.

The “justice for Moko” movement was an expression of populism at its most raw and sincere. People came together for peaceful protests outside courthouses from Whangarei to Invercargill on Monday. The crowds were typically small, numbering between 100 and 200. A group of 30 assembled on Stewart Island, which does not even have a courthouse. The largest reported crowd of 500 was in Rotorua, where Tania Shailer and David Haerewa were sentenced to 17 years imprisonment for the manslaughter of three-year-old Moko Rangitoheriri.

It hardly needed to be demonstrated, but the protests showed that disgust at the horrific, sustained violence inflicted on a toddler by people who were supposed to care for him is a national issue. More than that, it showed that Moko had, like Nia Glassie eight years earlier, transcended the specifics of his own story to become a symbol of both the terrible potential for individual violence and a failure of systems that are supposed to protect children.    Read more »

Comrade Vernon Small isn’t that pleased with Lying Little either

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Vernon Small is a man of the left; he goes through life looking thorough red tinted glasses.

He isn’t that impressed with Lying Little either.

Ok, it is no surprise that many of our elected representatives can be “economical with the truth”. Thus it was in the beginning ….

But you would think there was enough evidence from around the world of how tired voters are getting with politics as usual and with the insider games and rhetoric – of fudging, dissembling and “politics as usual”.

We had our own version in the MMP vote. Dumping first-past-the-post was not just about replacing an unrepresentative electoral system, but also about disciplining politicians from both sides of the aisle – over the head of their objections – for promising one thing and delivering another.

Insider-allergy was a key element in the rise of Donald Trump and the success of Bernie Sanders in the United States (though as evidence of the dangers of being economical with the truth? Maybe less compelling.)     Read more »