Key is squandering any remaining media goodwill

Fairfax journo Tracy Watkins is letting her wishful thinking get in the way today in a piece where she posits Key is “burning political capital” over the Hager/Fisher GCSB “revelations”.

Are the latest leaked documents important? Yes, of course.

Actually, they’re not.

They detail the vast and indiscriminate store of information gathered by the Government Communications Security Bureau, including plenty that must surely breach the spirit, if not the technicalities, of the 2013 GCSB Act.

Once the media get back to the “spirit” of news reporting instead of running the country, they might actually have a leg to stand on.

The Act spells out that it is illegal for the agency to intercept the private communications of New Zealand citizens and residents, except in specific circumstances or when it is “incidentally obtained” – which, as we now know, is likely to include while they are lying on a beach in Samoa.

There are bound to be diplomatic ripples, meanwhile, over the extent to which the GCSB reaches into the Pacific.

There are bound not to be.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock, are particularly unaware of how the real world works, or you have your own ‘outrage’ agenda, people 1) know their stuff is up for grabs, and 2) they truly don’t care.

We are told that the targets include friends and foe alike, though we are yet to see any direct evidence of  that claim – say, for instance, a transcript of a private phone call between the prime minister of Samoa and his mates.

Nonetheless, it is probably no coincidence that John Key will embark on a goodwill tour of the Pacific later this year, including a likely stop-off in Fiji.

Yeah, that’s right.  John Key wasn’t going on a Pacific trip until Hager and Fisher dusted off some Helen Clark era stolen documents to try and blow some life back into the same old issue.   And now Key needs to go around a tour to calm down his Pacific neighbours.   That has to be the reason.   Read more »

Team New Zealand AND Auckland Council? What could possibly go wrong?

Team New Zealand’s bid to host the America’s Cup qualifiers has hit a further snag, with crisis meetings held yesterday over problems with the proposed locations for the team bases.

An announcement confirming Auckland had secured the qualifying regatta in early 2017 was originally planned for yesterday but has been pushed back to next week as Team NZ try to put some distance between the fallout over Dean Barker’s axing.

In the meantime, Auckland Council bodies are struggling to agree on the waterfront locations to house the team bases after the preferred site at Westhaven Marina was found to be unsuitable within the short timeframe.

Plans to build a causeway between the end of Westhaven Drive and a seawall in two stages have encountered geotechnical and practical problems.

The first stage of building the causeway and starting repairs on the seawall is sufficient to accommodate two syndicate bases, but completing the second stage to accommodate three more syndicate bases is estimated to cost an unbudgeted $10 million to $15 million.

Team New Zealand manage to suck more money out of the tax (rate) payers after all.  On the good side, this is only for Auckland victims.  Until Steve Joyce figures out how to repackage his corporate welfare deal.   Read more »

Charter schools what do they offer?

Graphic showing how AMERICAN Charter schools intersect with public schools

Graphic showing how AMERICAN Charter schools intersect with public schools

 

Cards on the table, I have been invited to visit two Charter schools in Auckland. I suspect that I have been invited because of frustration at both Politicians and the MSM who discuss/ criticise  Charter schools but refuse to actually visit any.

I will be visiting them to find out for myself their points of difference. I have never before been to a Charter school and at present know no more about them than any average person on the street. I know that they offer an alternative to mainstream schooling and that they have more flexibility in how they deliver their education to their students. What that flexibility actually translates to is what I will be finding out.

I do not have an agenda to either make them look good or make them look bad. My task is to report back to our readership what exactly they do offer and how they are different to Mainstream. I am taking my home schooled 16 year old daughter with me to interview the primary school students. She will be asking them what she as a teenager wants to know about Charter schooling. What a teenager values in education may be different to what I as a parent, a home schooler and an ex mainstream High School teacher and tutor in Alternative education values.

Read more »

Bon Voyage Dave

I saw this the other day and only just getting to it.

My good friend Dave Chambers from Countdown has been promoted by Woolworths to head up over 900 supermarkets across Australia.

Regular readers will recall Dave copping a lot of flack on Whaleoil for heading up Countdown in New Zealand during a period that many Kiwi suppliers would say involved mafia-styled stand over tactics.

This led to a year’s investigation by the Commerce Commission into 90 odd complaints about Countdown’s buying behaviour.

Steve Donohue has been appointed acting Managing Director. Steve was Countdown’s General Manager Merchandise. His profile says:   Read more »

Tagged:

Yawn. The only people who care are Fisher, Nippert and Snowden

You’re still wrong!

That’s the message from Prime Minister John Key after a former director of the GCSB said the spy agency did carry out “mass collection” of communications from the Pacific.

Sir Bruce Ferguson – who ran the GCSB from 2006 to 2010 – told National Radio today: “It’s the whole method of surveillance these days – it’s mass collection. To actually individualise that is mission impossible.”

He said New Zealanders information would be included in that but “you throw out the stuff you don’t want … and you keep the stuff you do want”.

He said the bureau acted within the law.

And that’s it really.   Governments spy.  We do it within the law.  Where’s the fire?   Read more »

Crim hugging halfwit QC defends dud judge

The other day I wrote about a dud judge buying the sob story of a vicious little thug.

Yesterday a crim-hugging halfwit QC rushed to defend the dud judge…and he thinks judges should never be criticised.

A Queen’s Counsel has defended a judge after claims she gave a “pathetic sentence” to a teenager who brutally beat a man and left him for dead in central Havelock North.

Russell Fairbrother QC said in a letter to Hawke’s Bay Today yesterday that comments by Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar about Judge Bridget Mackintosh were “wrong”.

Mr McVicar said the sentence imposed on Jacob Broderick was a “slap in the face” for the victim and that Judge Mackintosh had “given some of the most pathetic sentences this country has seen”.

Broderick, 18, was sentenced to four months’ community detention, 200 hours’ community work and nine months’ supervision in the Hastings District Court on Wednesday for his part in an unprovoked assault on a 33-year-old man in the early hours of August 3 last year.

Described as a “thug” by the victim’s sister, Broderick did not face the same fate as his co-attacker, Falcon Kaine Walsh, who was jailed for two years and six months by Judge Tony Adeane.

Hard evidence uncovered that Dotcom and witnesses lied at trial

I know they lied.  Others know they lied.  But for some odd reason the judge in the John Banks “Dotcom donation” case found the testimony of Mr and Mrs Banks dodgy.  He went as far as to say Mona Doctom was especially credible.

You have to wonder what he was on.

And now, it turns out, additional documentation to back up a serious problem with legal protocol that is behind the call for the retrial to be thrown out.

A retrial was set for July but Mr Banks’ lawyer, David Jones, QC, is now seeking to have the charge dismissed after receiving a document which he said “contradicts all the evidence given at trial” by the Dotcom witnesses and makes the Crown case “untenable”.

Last week, he received fresh material from the Crown about the contentious lunch at the Dotcom mansion which has been released to the Weekend Herald by the High Court.

The memorandum was written by lawyer Rowan Butler who was instructed by crown prosecutor Paul Dacre, QC, to interview Kim Dotcom about the affidavits filed by the two American businessmen before the Court of Appeal hearing.

The pair said they arrived in New Zealand on June 5, 2010 and were taken to Dotcom’s Coatesville mansion, where they had lunch with Mr and Mrs Banks and Dotcom and his wife Mona. Nothing about electoral donations was discussed, according to their affidavits.

The court was in possession of this at the time of the trial.   It is consistent with the Banks’ testimony, and it is consistent with what we’ve learned from the appeal that quashed the conviction and order a retrial.   Read more »

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Face of the day

 Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is greeted by members of Congress as he arrives to speak during a joint meeting of the United States Congress in the House chamber at the U.S. Capitol March 3, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is greeted by members of Congress as he arrives to speak during a joint meeting of the United States Congress in the House chamber at the U.S. Capitol March 3, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו said it well:

“Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world. They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire. In this deadly game of thrones, there’s no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don’t share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone…The difference is that ISIS is armed with butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube, whereas Iran could soon be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs.”

Mr. President, wake up to the very real threat of Islam.

-Franklin Graham (facebook)

 

Read more »

Word of the day

The word for today is…

uxorial (adj) – Of, relating to, or characteristic of a wife

Source : Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Etymology : Early 19th century: from Latin uxor ‘wife’ + -ial.