Andrea Vance

Troughers are what Troughers Do

Andrea Vance  reports on some gold plated toughing.

Taxpayers are stumping up for Pacific Island Affairs boss Pauline Winter to travel between Wellington and Auckland most weekends.

Winter has a home in Westmere, but her $240,000-a-year job is based in the capital.

Her expense records show that over the last year she flew between the two cities almost every weekend. Between July 2013 and 2014, her expenditure totalled more than $30,000, most of which went on airfares, taxis and rental car hire in Wellington and Auckland.

However, State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie insists that Winter does not commute and that she has a residence in Wellington.

“I expect the chief executive to travel regularly between MPIA’s offices in Wellington and Auckland and to attend meetings and events with the Pacific Island community . . .

“I am assured by Ms Winter that all her travel expenses are for legitimate purposes related to the core business of the ministry and are in accordance with MPIA’s policies and processes.”

The ministry is also paying for private secretary Luc Shorter to commute between Auckland and Wellington, and is footing his accommodation bill.

His Twitter profile says he lives on Waiheke Island and insiders say he is billeted at serviced apartments on The Terrace, costing around $1800 a month.

Shorter, executive director Kevin Sua Thomsen and regional manager Paul Stowers were hired by Winter last year without the roles being advertised. ¬† Read more »

Ass Nasty Lolly Stealer has some ‘splaining’ to do

Bag of Hammers

Dumber than a bag of hammers

Perhaps the stupidest and nastiest MP in the current parliament has some explaining to do.

Her mad rantings to Andrea Vance just won’t cut it.

NZ First MP Asenati Lole-Taylor will come under scrutiny as part of a Department of Corrections investigation into the accessing of criminal records.

The list MP was employed as a rehabilitation and reintegration services adviser for the Pacific-Northern region until 2011.

It was revealed earlier this month that her husband Dennis Taylor, a Corrections manager, was under investigation amid allegations the record of former party official Marise Bishop was accessed. Investigators have examined electronic fingerprints, which record when, where and who accessed records.

It is understood they now want to speak to Lole-Taylor. ¬†¬† Read more »

Colin Craig as the ‘Crazy’ option hits the main stream

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Andrea Vance muses on the fallout of Key’s announcement yesterday

With opinion polls placing National well clear of 50 per cent, Key has judged he doesn’t need to risk having Craig. The chances of the Conservatives leader now reaching the 5 per cent threshold required to get into Parliament are weak.

Key has confidently gambled that voters are not as turned off by political deals as his opponents claim. By continuing electoral accommodations in Ohariu and Epsom, Key breathed life back into the moribund ACT and UnitedFuture parties. Barely registering 1 per cent support, David Seymour and Peter Dunne will be grateful enough not to cause him any trouble should he win a third term. Read more »

The trough pig tries explaining

Someone in National needs to tell trough pig Paul Foster-Bell to shut up. Explaining is losing, and will only lead to more questions.

Right now Claudette Hauiti has shown she is far smarter than Paul Foster-Bell.

Paul Foster-Bell has rebutted Andrea Vance’s article where she calls him out for being a bludging ratbag for using his parliamentary travel perk to travel to whangarei in his failed attempt to win the national party nomination up there.

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This issue is pretty easy to sort out.¬† Read more »

Translating what politicans say

Andrea Vance has a handy list of translations of what politicians say.

If some wag could make this into a bingo card we could have a great deal of fun come the election debates.

“I’m focused on the issues that really matter to New Zealanders.”

This has two possible interpretations: “These questions are getting a bit sticky, I’m going for the moral high-ground.” Or, if a political rival is in trouble: “There’s no way I’m going to get caught out criticising political donations.”

“This is a distraction from the real issues . . . ‚Äė’

More of the same. Except when it’s happening to an opponent. Then it’s holding them to account.

Labour and David Cunliffe are the worst offenders at this. Almost always they are focussing on beltway issues…which is the next on the list.

“This is a Beltway issue.”

I know everyone is talking about this, but I’m going to annoy journalists by suggesting they are out of touch with ordinary folk.

Most journalists, particularly gallery journalists are actually out of touch. They live in the rarified atmosphere of Parliament, they eat, drink, socialise and some even root the politicians.

“I’m relatively relaxed about this . . .”

Because my chief of staff is working like billy-o to find an official we can pin the blame on.

Read more »

Dumber than a sack of hammers

David Cunliffe must be dumber than a sack of hammers.

Yesterday in parliament he tried to smear the Nats for his own ineptitude, faulty memory and tricky behaviour in an effort to shore up his failing support.

All that happened is he got mauled by the Bill and Gerry show.

For a start he asked a question of the Prime Minister when he isn’t even in the house.

Read more »

Andrea Vance on conspiracy theories

Andrea Vance has a helpful explanation about the various conspiracy theories out there.

The cybersphere has been full of conspiracy theories since Internet Mana announced a “strategic alliance” last month. But do the theories stack up?

1. There is fear, desperation and total panic in the eyes of the Right because finally a political party on the Left has financial clout.

Internet party founder Kim Dotcom stumped up a $3m war chest to fight the election campaign. Pow! The US, Barack Obama, Hollywood and John Key didn’t see that coming.

Sure, $3m is a lot of campaign coin. But National spent $2.3 million in 2011, and looking at donations registered this year Key won’t be rummaging down the back of the sofa.

The last round of polling put National above 50 per cent. Both Mana and the Internet Party are on about half a per cent each. Polling day is three months away. So, no, that’s not fear in campaign supremo Steven Joyce’s eyes. They’re just red from all the time he spends trolling on Twitter.

Read more »

Greens raise the shield of sanctimony again

After weeks of banging on about transparency in politics the Green party has once again deployed their shield of sanctimony along with the helmet of hypocrisy.

Andrea Vance reports:

The Green Party is demanding transparency of political donations – but will hold a closed door auction to raise funds later this month.

Last month co-leader Russel Norman called for more details about¬†National’s Cabinet Clubs – where ministers mix with donors over lunch or breakfast. The money raised from ticket sales goes into National party coffers.

It sparked a ”cash for access” row with Norman saying the Government has put democracy up for sale, and calling for a ministerial disclosure regime.

However, the Greens are coy about their own¬†fundraising¬†methods. An agenda for next weekend’s annual day meeting shows the media are barred from a pre-lunch ”party¬†fundraising¬†session” on the last day of the three-day conference. ¬† Read more »

The letter was a mistake, what about her double dipping troughing?

Tracey Martin has apologised for her ill-conceived idea of heavying a Police district commander on NZ First letterhead over an operational matter.

I wonder perhaps if Winston peters would like to apologise for his tirade now that Tracey Martin has acknowledged that what she did was wrong, something the arrogant sod couldn’t admit himself.

Laura McQuillan reports:

Days after Judith Collins accused her of interfering in the police, a New Zealand First MP has admitted she made a mistake.

Tracey Martin wrote to police in March, with concerns about a Warkworth cop being transferred to other duties, saying it would leave a gap in community initiatives.

She wrote it as the chair of a school board of trustees, where the officer is also a member, but it was printed on her MP letterhead.

Ms Martin admits she got that wrong.

“That was a mistake on my part to be perfectly frank, and that was me doing something on a Sunday and just working at a fast pace.

“I mixed my roles and I should not have mixed my roles.”

In other news featuring Tracey Martin, i see she has been caught double dipping. ¬† Read more »

National’s strategic stupidity, Ctd

Yesterday I blogged about how MMP hands defeat to John Key, yesterday Andrea Vance also wrote about the exact same issue.

Chin up, Labour. So far most of the polls suggest you are doing a rubbish job at winning this election. But there are five reasons why David Cunliffe can cling to hope that he could still be prime minister this year.

1. The electoral system.

Well, duh. Obviously. Under MMP, post- elections negotiations are a bit like a nail- biting penalty shoot-out. Until now, Winston Peters has hammed up the role of kingmaker to dramatic effect. Now we’ve got a whole new crowd of mavericks on the field: who knows which way Colin Craig, Kim Dotcom and his mystery MP will swing. National can’t even rely on its old pals. The Maori Party is a shadow of itself, likely to take a huge hit in September. ACT’s Jamie Whyte is failing to live up to expectations – with no significant lift in polling since he took over as leader. Last week’s Roy Morgan poll is the first of the year where the left-bloc have regained a lead over National.¬† Read more »