Comment of the Day

Whaleoil reader Brian Dingwall wrote

I find it interesting that the media (even including Hosking this morning) try to turn the [National Party leadership] contest into a popularity contest.

None of them can be arsed actually enumerating the skills and personal qualities required to be a party leader, and Prime Minister, and then evaluating the candidates against those criteria.

Management skills, the ability to connect and relate, salesmanship, communications, ability to garner, review, and extract the key issues from a welter of facts and opinions, decision making and action taking, recognition of and dealing with enemies (internal and external). Read more »

Mental Health Break

Ignorance of and leniency towards Salafi ideology are two major problems in Western nations

I contacted Nicolas Pirsoul who is a doctoral candidate in politics and international relations at the University of Auckland recently because his research interests include issues around democracy and Middle Eastern politics. I told him about the story we had broken about Salafist Dr Sahib and asked him if he would consider writing an article for Whaleoil in reaction to the story since it had been picked up by the mainstream media both in New Zealand and in Britain. He politely declined because he said he was currently working on several articles and opinion pieces already.It appears that one of the pieces he was working on was for the New Zealand Herald.

Isis, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and other terrorist organisations are all inspired by a particular understanding of Islam: Salafism.

Salafism is an extremist, literalist, and intolerant form of Sunni Islam…

Salafism obtained the important political power it continues to hold today when Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab formed an alliance with the al-Saud family during the 18th century to give birth to the Saudi version of Salafism, Wahhabism, the state religion of the current kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

As Saudi Arabia developed as a major political force, due in large part to its oil production and its status as one of the West’s principal allies in the Middle East, Salafism further expanded its political and geographical influence. Saudi Arabia has continued to use its wealth to propagate Wahhabi ideas thorough the Islamic world and Muslim communities in the West.

Given these facts isn’t it strange that all those Sunni Imams from Egypt were sent to New Zealand this year to combat extremism? You know, the extremism that we don’t currently have in New Zealand according to FIANZ. Who exactly were these Imams targeting? Were they concerned about Salafists like Dr Sahib from Saudi Arabia who are propagating Wahhabi ideas?

Read more »

Map of the Day

Vigorously anointing Bill English produced the reverse Midas Touch

Fran O’Sullivan writes

National MPs should think twice before automatically anointing as prime minister a member of Key’s kitchen cabinet (Bill English) just because the PM hat-tipped a coronation.

They have the opportunity to make a more thrilling choice: Either opt for Judith Collins who has the charisma and chutzpah to be an effective, combative leader, or, take a different risk by running with Jonathan Coleman who, while less well-known, is certainly not devoid of either ambition or competence.

Key threw himself under the bus in what was a selfless (but also self-interested) decision.

Read more »

Simon Bridges to run for Deputy Prime Minister under non-commited Bill English

Transport Minister Simon Bridges has declared his bid for Deputy Prime Minister.

He has also endorsed Bill English for Prime Minister.

At a press conference this afternoon, Bridges said English would continue the stability of the John Key-led National Government.

He said that as Deputy Prime Minister, he would provide the “change and rejuvenation part of the equation”.

Bridges said he was confident English would win the leadership race and he had not yet considered being part of another ticket. Read more »

Moderation notice

MOD notice:

We seem to have gotten to that time of year where I check if it is a full moon, it isn’t, and I can’t figure out why collectively our commenters are suddenly pretending the rules they were happy to abide by are suddenly not relevant to them.

Moderators are now working to rule.  We’ve probably blocked about 10 people in the last two days for swearing, trying to get past auto-moderation by munging bad language, one liners, off-topic or low calorie comments, and the use of “joke” images or memes on serious articles.

Some people are going to enjoy a nice quiet holiday break from Whaleoil.  If you do not want to be among them, please tighten things back up.

Thanks

Pete and the mods
(60s cover band)

Will National play it safe or set a future direction?

National Party politics – and, by extension, New Zealand politics – have suddenly become very uncertain. The nod to stability which outgoing Prime Minister John Key signalled on Monday with his endorsement of loyal deputy Bill English as his successor was shaken twice yesterday.

The first knock was delivered by Jonathan Coleman with his decision to make it a contest. A few hours later, Judith Collins entered the race, saying the party needed to broaden its appeal.

The three candidates represent quite different political strands. English, an MP since 1990, appeals to a sense of continuity and steadiness. He does not stand for the generational change which Coleman is promoting, but he has runs on the board as the author of eight budgets and an approach to political management which is competent and composed.

If he has a weak spot, it is that he has been judged previously by the electorate and was leader in 2002 when National suffered a crushing defeat.

English learned from that humiliation, and is today a mature and skilful politician who would make a seamless transition from the Key era.

At 54, English has a career to reflect on, and enough time ahead of him to make his own mark. With judicious appointments to his team, especially in the role of deputy, an English-led administration could realistically hope to secure a fourth term for National, even without the undoubted selling ability that the Government will lose with the departure of Key.

It is clear that Bill English is “business as usual”.  But that also means National coasting to a stop. Read more »

Photo of the Day

The women of the Magdalene Laundries spent their lives scrubbing, bleaching and ironing.

The women of the Magdalene Laundries spent their lives scrubbing, bleaching and ironing.

Magdalene Laundry Survivors

You could even be sent to one of these institutions for petty crimes such as not paying your train ticket and condemned to a life of slave labour

Worked to the bone, beaten and abused, the experiences of women held in the ‘care’ of the nuns in Ireland’s notorious Magdalene Laundries, is the stuff of nightmares. Also known as Magdalene asylums, Magdalene Laundries were cruel and medieval institutions in which women were imprisoned, stripped of their human rights, and abused sexually and otherwise.
The Magdalene Laundry was a place where women and children passed through as slave labourers to orders of the nuns in mid twentieth century Ireland, and the complicity of the church and society that tried to keep their stories hidden.

The laundries were set up in 1922 when the newly independent Irish state delegated welfare duties to the religious orders.
Named after the Bible’s redeemed prostitute, Mary Magdalene, the workhouses were used to reform ‘fallen women’ but they soon expanded to take in girls who were considered ‘promiscuous’, unmarried mothers, the criminal, mentally unwell and girls who seen as a burden on their families.
They were the forgotten women of Ireland, kept under lock and key, forced to clean and sew, and to wash away the sins of their previous life while never being paid a penny. Some stayed months, others years. Some never left. They were the inmates of Ireland’s notorious 20th century workhouses, the Magdalene Laundries.

Read more »

The House Today #nzqt

Credit: Woolf Photography via parliament.nz

Credit: Woolf Photography via parliament.nz

Parliament is sitting today.

You can follow proceedings starting at 2 pm on TV ( Freeview 31, Igloo 50, Sky 86, Vodafone 86 ), streaming audio via Radio New Zealand and streaming Parliament TV via the internet. After the sitting day, on-demand replays can be found at In The House.

Questions to Ministers

  1. ANDREW LITTLE to the Minister of Finance: Does he stand by his statement, “there is no room for significant loosening of the purse strings”, and does this apply to funding for health, police, and education?
  2. TODD BARCLAY to the Minister of Finance: What reports has he received showing the New Zealand economy is on track for continuing moderate growth?
  3. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS to the Prime Minister: Does he have confidence in all his Ministers; if so, why?
  4. Hon ANNETTE KING to the Minister of Health: Does he stand by his statement, “I think we’ve got to be very careful before we look at tax cuts. We’ve got to make sure we are properly funding health and education”; if so, has health been funded properly over the last two Budgets to allow him to do everything he has wanted as health Minister?
  5. MAUREEN PUGH to the Minister for ACC: What changes to ACC levies come into effect from 1 April next year? Read more »