The Herald, no less, seems to think it important enough to report the concerns people have with Government access to private data
New powers for the Ministry of Social Development which would allow officials to secretly approach beneficiaries’ banks or workplaces if they suspected them of committing welfare fraud have been questioned by women’s groups.
As part of reforms to recoup $20 million in relationship fraud each year, ministry staff would not have to inform a beneficiary if they were investigating whether they were wrongly claiming welfare.
Of course we need some decent rules, guidelines and penalties for breaches of privacy.
But we also need to let the Government do its job, especially in identifying those that are stealing from the tax payer. Read more »
Minister of Courts Chester Borrows will be receiving an award from Timaru man Charles Simmons.
After waiting for eight years for his son Jeremy to get court-ordered reparation of $140 after his car was stolen in 2004, he began his own battle against bureaucracy to get answers.
The court has slowly been collecting the money and has $79.16, but is waiting for the sum to be fully recovered before it pays out to the son who now lives in Australia.
Last Wednesday, Mr Simmons received an identically worded letter from the minister to one he received on August 29, telling him staff were looking into the reparation owed to his son.
This week he decided to send back a strongly worded letter of his own and an award.
“All we ever get from your department is that your staff are looking into the matter. I ask you again minister, how long does it take one clerk to enter the file number on a computer, receive the details and advise the victim? Even if this government has laid off half the staff in the public service, surely you could find one clerk for 10 minutes to give you this information.
“All sorts of excuses have been made for the incompetence of your department and so I felt you minister deserve the attached award.
“It is the round-tuit award and is only awarded to a person or persons who have shown they are determined to some day get around to it, whatever it is they are supposed to have done.”
Paula Bennett got hitched, I don’t think Westies get married, at Piha on the weekend…in white.
I thought immediately that surely the dress was a snow leopard print…alas no.
Cabinet minister Paula Bennett may be partial to leopard-skin and shocking pink shoes but she toned it down for her wedding on Saturday at Piha beach.
She wore a white dress – just above the ankle – and white shoes, with a mauve chiffon shawl, but kicked off her shoes afterwards for photos.
“Yesterday in Piha, Alan and I got hitched. Spectacular day, Piha at its best,” she said on her Facebook page yesterday. “I’m so happy, my wedding was amazing.”
She and her staff are being coy about confirming the name of the groom but he is thought to be an old flame. She is friends with Alan Philps on Facebook.
Caucus colleague and Associate Justice Minister Chester Borrows was the celebrant. Her daughter, granddaughter and stepdaughter were the attendants, wearing purple frocks and canvas sneakers.
A picture of the big event appeared online at Piha Village Voice yesterday. A spokeswoman from the site said about 70 to 80 people attended the ceremony which was on the beach with a “lovely rainbow” in the background.
The rest of the party was at a private property on Piha and went on past midnight.
Yes but was it a double rainbow and was there a pig on a spit?
In an otherwise good article explaining why Nick Smith won more Politician of the Week awards than anyone else based on his principles and willingness to have a dust up with anyone over ideology, Matthew Hooton has a shocker when describing potential replacements.
The tragedy of his departure is that, like too many of the appointments after the 2011 election, he is likely to be replaced with a below-average-intelligence, grey, provincial yes-man, unwilling to challenge the status quo and valued simply as a safe pair of hands.
Hooton seems to think that the provinces are inhabited with troglodytes who haven’t succeeded in the real world based on intellectual rigor and their own hard work.
In Tauranga Simon Bridges is Oxford Educated, which not many westies are, and he is far to refined to have leopard skin on his car. In Rotorua Todd McClay build a substantial lobbying business in Brussels, which is arguably not the real world but it was bloody successful, created links with many New Zealand businesses and did a lot of diplomatic work for Pacific nations. And succeeding in lobbying at one of the biggest parliaments in the world may not be my idea of success but it is better than being a successful unionist in a backwater like the New Zealand union movement.
Louise Upston’s mastery of policy details and background in leadership training means she is a safe pair of hands and has the potential to lead, not to just to administer.
From Hawkes Bay Chris Tremain turned a moderately successful family business in to a highly successful one, at the same time as making huge contributions to sports in HB. He is not in parliament “safe pair of hands”, going on record to upset the small minded in Napier, challenging the status quo on amalgamation. Craig Foss may have a gay ute but he was as successful in banking on an international scale as John Key before entering parliament.
Chester Borrows is a bit too wet on law and order, when he could man up and back the prevailing wisdom which is working world wide. His willingness to take a stand that is unpopular in National show he is not “unwilling to challenge the status quo”.
In the Wairarapa highly intelligent former diplomat John Hayes has well over 40 years of standing up for what he believes in, and not being afraid of a turn up for a good cause. At Lincoln he tried to remove the students association from the New Zealand students association, allegedly because they were a pack of communists, radicals, pooftas and other misfits. John can rest easy at night knowing he fights the good fight and is not one of Hooton’s “below average intelligence”.
Further South Amy Adams has shown herself to be willing to take on difficult issues, and no one has ever accused her of being a “yes-man”. Jo Goodhew is hugely popular in her electorate, and it is a travesty for Hooton to describe her as grey.
Michael Woodhouse may not be favored by the voters in Dunedin but he came to parliament with a track record of success in a difficult industry, where challenging the the status quo is an important part of success. Anyone that knows Michael knows he has a fine intellect, and is definitely not “below-average-intelligence”.
Nick Smith left two important portfolios. Environment and Local Government. Also Climate Change.
Local Government is not that difficult as just about everyone hates councils, and Nick was going to rinse them in a highly popular move that stopped them wasting money on dumb stuff and reigned in their borrowing. The problem is not many in cabinet are interested in Local Government as it is the minor leagues.
Nathan Guy has a background in Local Government, but there is concerns he is an administrator not a leader, and a combination of patch protecting local body representatives and Sir Humphrey’s might slow down reform under Nathan’s watch.
Gerry Brownlee currently has the portfolio on a temporary basis but is known for dodging work as much as salads, so can be expected to pass it on to someone else asap, Unless someone can make Local Government look like a nice meat pie then he will pounce on it with vigour.
From outside of cabinet Chris Tremain comes with a good reputation for getting things done and taking people with him at the same time. Has a good strategic brain and is willing to front foot issues, as well as being in the thick of amalgamation in Hawkes Bay, where small minded halfwits on councils don’t want to lose their income stream. Could sell the policy well.
This is a much more nuanced portfolio that requires someone with detailed knowledge built up over many years, as well as the relationships with lots of angry greenies who have given up hugging trees to bash politicians. The nuance factor also causes problems, as a number of ministers, especially those from the South Island, wouldn’t know a nuance until it snuck up behind them and whacked them with a baseball bat.
Disrupting the current cabinet would not be ideal, so those outside cabinet might be a better bet.
Chris Finlayson is currently the placeholder minister, and will likely be adept in most areas except stakeholder management. Known for his understandable dislike of morons, in an area heavily populated by stakeholder morons Chris might be better taking on another portfolio.
Chris Tremain doesn’t have a background in the Environment but is known to be concerned about water quality and is exceptionally good with stakeholders so is worth a look.
Chester Borrows doesn’t really fit this portfolio, nor does Maurice Williamson. Williamson has an abiding belief that greenies are judder bars in the road toward progress.
Those not currently ministers who have green credentials include Nikki Kaye, Louise Upston and Nicky Wagner. Nikki Kaye is probably too much of a light weight to take on a portfolio where attention to detail and mastery of information is important or you will get stitched up by your department. There is of course the slight stench of Boag around Nikki Kaye.
Louise would have no trouble dealing with the detail and work load, and has been adept in negotiating difficult environmental issues in her electorate. May not have the depth of stakeholder relationships required, but would build them quickly.
Nicky Wagner has the relationships with the tree huggers, NGOs and other groups and the years of detailed learning required to be able to talk to them. Not in favour with the McCully clique which is ten points in her favour in my eyes, but this may count against perhaps the best placed MP to deal with the portfolio.
I have well known views on manbearpig and thinks it is a portfolio that should be abolished, or if not abolished given to a man with a gay ute.
Courts Minister and former detective Chester Borrows has been brushing off his old skills, performing a “citizen’s arrest” and turning in a hitch-hiker who allegedly stole his cellphone.
Mr Borrows said he had given a lift to the young man on Monday.
“You do someone a good turn … It was no real big deal. I picked up this hitch-hiker it was pouring with rain, so I thought, pick him up, give him a lift,” said Mr Borrows, a former detective sergeant.
“And then when he jumped out of the car I noticed my cellphone had gone for a walk. As you can imagine it’s full of highly confidential addresses and stuff. So I hooked him back to give him a bit of a speaking to.
“He denied having it and he did a bit of a bag search and didn’t find it. Then he mysteriously needed to go around the back of the building to relieve himself. I then went around there and found that he had dropped the thing under some iron behind the building so I grabbed the cellphone and grabbed him and marched him around the corner to the cop shop.”
By coincidence it was the police station in Patea where Mr Borrows had served a stint.
As ACT seems to be giving itself an upper cut, New Zealand First is starting to consider running again. There are two options, con 5% of the population into voting for them, or winning a seat. The seat most likely to be won is Whanganui, by the highly popular mayor of Wanganui, Michael Laws. Laws was re-elected with 53% of the vote in 2007 and is not standing as mayor again.
Despite being a terrible rooter Laws could well win. He could take votes off the Labour candidate and the terribly wet liberal Chester Borrows, meaning he would need about 12000 votes to win, as Peter Dunne has done in Ohariu. Or Labour could not run a candidate, going for the party vote only, putting Laws head to head against Borrows. If Goff got the Greens to do the same, Laws has a pretty awesome chance of winning, then dragging a few others back into parliament with him.
Obviously the sensible thing for National to do is make Laws an offer he can’t refuse. Something like roving ambassador in South America where he is to do a comparative analysis of the qualities of the women in each of the twelve countries, with sponsorship from Durex and Pfizer. He’d jump at that for sure, and may get Nashy trying to jump in as deputy ambassador.
Once that is safely negotiated then john Key can comfortably call an election and wipe out the ill-prepared NZ First and ACT in one go, thereby soaking up their support and easily getting over 50%.