Bill Ralston

The Huddle


I was on the Huddle last night with Larry Williams and Bill Ralston.

Our topics were:

Law Commission/ Joint Liability report.

Some relief could be coming the way of local councils and their legal liabilities in matters such as leaky building syndrome.

The Law Commission is recommending modifications to joint liability laws that would effectively cap their liabilities in building negligence claims.

Under the proposals, caps would be set at 300 thousand dollars for a single dwelling, 150 thousand dollars per unit for residences in a multi-unit complex, and a three million dollar cap per multi-unit developments.

The recommendations will have to be considered by the Government.

Home Owners and Buyers Association president John Gray says that will leave consumers in the dark. He says leaky homes are still being built, and when the building industry comes under pressure to build more homes the same problems are likely to be repeated. He says there should be a mandatory insurance-backed warranty behind the auditing process of local authorities, so it never reaches court.

Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule says the proposals would still see councils facing a disproportionate share of the costs, and the risks. He says if the Government wants councils to make the building consent process faster and cheaper, it needs to reduce the risks that councils face.   Read more »

Bill Ralston says Labour’s Tax Policy is like genital herpes

Bill Ralston accurately sums up Labour’s financial plans.

There doesn’t seem to be much hope in the pronouncements from Labour on what it would do to restore my fortunes. It seems determined to reduce the amount of disposable cash in my pocket.

David Parker wants to give the Reserve Bank the power to pump up my KiwiSaver contributions, which he’ll make compulsory. Yes, I know that means I’m saving, but I can’t touch it till I’m retired and the amount of money I have to live on weekly in the meantime is reduced further.

Labour seems obsessed with getting the Kiwi dollar reduced dramatically in value, but it occurs to me that would mean I’d be paying more for imported goods and inflation would go up, leading to less money in the wallet.  Read more »

Bryce Edwards summary on Dotcom and his corruption of NZ politics

Bryce Edwards summarises just how bad it has become for kim Dotcom, the Green party, Russel Norman, Winston Peters and all the Labour MPs who have trotted out to sit on Kim Dotcom’s lap.

Political chickens are coming home to roost. Having Kim Dotcom on speed dial is now a political liability and career ending.

Allegations of ‘corruption’ and ‘dirty deals’ are being thrown around over the relationship between some of our political party leaders and wealthy internet businessman and wannabe politician Kim Dotcom. It all relates to the fact that various politicians have been courting Dotcom’s favour, while at the same time discussing whether they would intervene to help prevent Dotcom being extradited to the United States by fighting in government to overturn any judicial decision. According to some commentators there is, at the very least, an issue with the perception of inappropriate and opaque electoral deals being made.

The strongest condemnation of the potential links between party policy and support for Dotcom have come from rightwing blogger David Farrar, who claims that some politicians are ‘saying they will over-turn the courts in his favour at the same time as they meet him to discuss political strategy. That is pretty close to corruption’ – see: Would Labour and Greens over-rule the court for Kim Dotcom?

Farrar explains the problem, as he sees it: ‘Russel Norman has been out twice to meet Dotcom, and ask him to support the Greens instead of setting up his own political party. And in return he is offering that a Labour/Greens Government would basically corruptly over-turn the decision of the court in Dotcom’s favour. Cunliffe is not ruling out that he would also over-turn any court decision. We also learn Winston Peters has been out to meet DotCom multiple times’. Farrar warns that ‘We head towards corruption if people can buy themselves a different decision’.  Read more »

Bill Ralston is a sensible and wise man

Bill Ralston is a sensible and wise man.

He writes in the Listener:

I have met blogger Cameron Slater several times and I’m making no smart-arse remarks about him because I have no wish to attract his unwanted attention to the messy shambles of my own confused life. Besides, he’s very large and is heavily armed.

People with dodgy and murky pasts would do well to avoid my attention (Not that I am saying that about Bill, on the contrary I quite like Bill)…poking me with a stick is a guarantee for their lives to be unpacked in lurid detail, especially if they have left a trail of destruction behind them.

His comments about Len Brown’s survivability are probably predicated on his lack of knowledge about what else lurks out there for Len Brown. They are still funny though.

The bloggers and Len’s opponents thought he would promptly resign with embarrassment but Len proved tougher and, I believe, less embarrassed than they imagined. They forgot that a part of Len believes he really is a bad-ass black rapper. You may recall the cringe-making “Da mayor is in da house!” blathering he is prone to indulge in. It finally paid off for him and he fronted up to Whale Oil’s attempted drive-by assassination attempt by letting fire with both barrels of an impressive public relations damage control strategy.   Read more »

Brian Edwards on ‘media training’ and why Russell Brown is wrong

There are two top teams when it comes to media training. Both teams are brilliant at what they do. One is Bill Ralston his missus Janet Wilson, the other team is Brian Edwards and his missus Judy Callingham. I rate both teams as equals, both are are very successful. The reason for their success is the ability to remove the politics from a situation or issue and to look at the issue or challenge dispassionately and almost mathematically or scientifically.

It is why I respect both Brian and Billy.

So when Brian Edwards says that John Campbell got schooled by John Key it pays to listen. Only a silly person would scoff and laugh it all off as a lucky break and a result of media training. I mean think about that for a moment…Russell Brown, amongst others has suggested that a quick once over lightly media training session allowed John Key to destroy someone who has had constant media training day in day out on his own show…that that same media training allowed John Key to foot it with John campbell on and equal footing and then miraculously land a couple of killer punches against the general thrust of the fight?

It’s bullshit.  A crude term I know, and certainly my good friend Brian Edwards wouldn’t be pleased with such coarse language, but bullshit is what that excuse is and bullshit is what it must be called. Brian Edwards agrees…except he uses much finer words to explain.

But first an explanation as to what a TV interview can deliver in the hands of skilled operator.

In the political arena, television provides incontrovertible evidence of the truth of the old saw that a picture is worth a thousand words. Its ultimate power lies in the close-up. In this respect I like to quote the doyen of British television interviewers, the late-lamented Sir Robin Day:

“When a TV interviewer questions a politician, this is one of the rare occasions, perhaps the only occasion outside Parliament, when a politician’s performance cannot be completely manipulated or packaged or artificially hyped.

“The image-maker can advise on how to sit, or what hairstyle to have, or on voice quality. But once the interview has started, the politician is on his or her own….

“Unlike a politician’s platform speech, or a politician’s article, or a politician’s TV address, an interview on television is one public act which is not in the hands of the advertising men, the pollsters and propagandists, the image-makers, the public relations experts or the marketing men….

“In a TV interview, provided there is time for probing cross-examination, the politician cannot be wholly shielded against the unexpected. The politician’s own brain is seen to operate. His or her real personality tends to burst out. Truth is liable to raise its lovely head.”  Read more »

Hunter becomes Hunted, Plunket challenges Campbell

John Campbell is usually all over twitter spouting forth with his pearls of wisdom…today it is total silence.

Sean Plunket tried this morning to get his comments on Radio Live…I blogged about that earlier.

Then he called him…   Read more »

Who’s not fronting now?

Read more »

Clare Curran Insights

Clare Curran appears to have hurriedly penned a press release on Mediaworks in a  bid to look smart on the issue. The statement is totally bizarre coming from Labour who originally wanted the government to close down Mediaworks and described the licensing ‘loan’ as cronyism at work.

Instead she gets panned by Russell Brown no less.

Read more »

Brian Edwards on the GCSB saga and John Key

My good friend Brian Edwards, fresh from saying he wouldn’t be blogging, has…well…blogged. He has written about the media beat-up about the GCSB and John Key. First he talks about accessibility:

Most of the politicians I’ve worked with have found it difficult to call a halt to a stand-up session. They didn’t want to appear rude or look as though they were running away. But, just like the suspect in the police interview room, the more questions you answer, the more you explain, the more likely you are to get into trouble. This is John Key’s problem. He’s become far too accessible.

So Key’s options are to take a leaf out of Judith Collins’ book and part the journalistic waters without stopping or  limit his exchanges with journalists to formal press-conferences or pre-arranged set-piece interviews.

I’m for Option Two because I don’t think he can carry off Option One. Stopping and chatting is part of his genetic make-up and has held him in good stead for four years.  Read more »

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I guess nature abhors a vacuum.