David Farrar

Does middle NZ care about any of this Robbo?

On Grant Robertson’s website he claims this:

Demonstrating the values that were instilled in him from an early age, Grant has quickly made an impact as a progressive Labour MP. Among the measures that have earned him plaudits are a successful bill to “Mondayise” public holidays, the promotion of ethical investing by state-controlled funds, and his championing of the living wage. In his time in the Labour caucus he has held a number of portfolio responsibilities, including Economic Development, Employment, Skills and Training, and Associate Arts, Culture, Heritage. Grant was Labour’s deputy leader from December 2011 to September 2013.

So basically Grant has done nothing of any real note.

He has appealed to the liberal elite wankocracy by coming up with gay policies that no one in middle New Zealand cares about.

To cap that all off he used his sponsoring of a bill to filibuster in order to prevent, unsuccessfully, the progress of voluntary student unionism. As David Farrar said at the time:

A number of organisations in New Zealand have enabling legislation such as the Scout Association. Another example is the Royal Society of New Zealand – they needed their 1997 legislation updated to incorporate the humanities in their objects and make some governance changes.

Only an MP can introduce a bill into Parliament so a private body needs to find an MP to agree to promote their bill and steer it through the House. They will often ask the local MP, but it can be any MP. And if the MP agrees, they have basically a duty of care to that organisation to use their best efforts to get that law changed. This is normally very easy, as these changes are rarely controversial.

The Royal Society of New Zealand Amendment Bill was introduced in September 2010. It should have passed into law in early 2011. but instead it remains stuck on committee stage and now can not pass before the election.   Read more »

Another Fabian socialist using his paper to try to silence free speech

According to Rod Oram I am responsible for the ending of society and what it could have been because I call crusading scientists to account.

This Fabian socialist ignores the fact ( while he crusades on Nicky Hager’s behalf ) that a journalist was hacked and crimes were committed by the very people he is now crying a river of tears for.

He claims that I am trying to suppress debate.

Is free and rigorous debate increasingly suppressed in New Zealand?

No, says, John Roughan, John Key’s biographer and a New Zealand Herald editorial writer, in his article available at http://bit.ly/Roughan

Yes, says, Nicky Hager, investigative journalist. He laid out chapter and verse in a recent article in the UK’s Guardian (http://bit.ly/Hager), as he did in his book Dirty Politics. His piece triggered Roughan’s blistering response.

I say yes.  Suppression of evidence, ideas and debate, in ways subtle and now increasingly brutal, is my experience as a business journalist in New Zealand. It is no consolation we are just a micro example of an accelerating trend worldwide.

Far from suppressing debate I am actually encouraging it. I am actually providing the other side of the debate. In order to have a debate one must have two sides, but all too often the Orams of this world and the so-called researchers he is defending don’t want a debate. They want their story only told…and when you push back against them they cry out that you are trying to suppress them.

The whole premise behind ‘Dirty Politics’, as stated by the hacker and his mouthpiece Nicky Hager was to “shut down” the network of people who were challenging their pals. Yes they used the words “shut down”. In other words it is they who have decided that the debate must be suppressed, that illegal means, foul means, criminal means must be used to justify the ends.

Let me give you two examples from my work last week. At the Population Health Congress very good experts from many science and other professional disciplines were wrestling with the escalating issue of childhood obesity, alcoholism, and many other extremely complex societal issues.

But many of them know they are taking great professional and personal risks to do this critical work. They are painfully aware of the ruthless way Cameron Slater, Carrick Graham and others have tried to destroy Prof Doug Sellman, director of the University of Otago’s National Addiction Centre.

The facts of their despicable acts were laid bare in Dirty Politics. It was just one of many such campaigns they continue to run.

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Why is it Kiwiblog has the best posts when Farrar is away?

Lifestyle, arts and travel blogger David Farrar is away again.

Kiwiblog has again reverted to a blog of David’s mid-life crisis and travels.

Not content with his own travel blogging, he also now has guest travel blog posts.

However he does have a guest post from Kiwi in America that is very good. Why is it Kiwiblog’s best posts are while he is away?

Regular readers of Kiwiblog will recall my lengthy essay posted on Easter Friday about the recent history of Labour; some of it based on my time as an activist there until the mid 90’s attempting to explain Labour’s present day conundrum.

In a nutshell it said that an attempt by the left of the party to seize permanent control of Labour after the massive post Rogernomics ructions under the leadership of Helen Clark, led to a gradual purging of activists from the centrist and right wings of the party. Clark, and her followers in the Head Office and regional hierarchies, ensured the selection of candidates in winnable electorate seats (and after the introduction of MMP, also the party list) that not only ensured she could topple then leader Mike Moore after the 1993 election but also cemented her power base inside Labour guaranteeing her an unchallenged 15 year reign as Labour’s leader. This handed power in the party to an increasingly narrow base of sector and interest groups such as academics, trade unions, progressive feminists and the rainbow coalition gradually driving out activists who were more likely to be white, male, socially conservative, small business owners and church going people of faith. After Labour’s 2008 election defeat, former members of the harder left New Labour Party, homeless after the dissolution of the Alliance, the demise of Anderton’s Progressives and the rise of the Greens, began to come back to Labour assisting in the movement of the party more to the left.

This trend culminated in the amendment to Labour’s Constitution at its 2012 Annual Conference giving 40% of the vote for Party Leader to the party membership and 20% to the affiliated unions leaving only 40% in the hands of the Parliamentary caucus. This new formula enabled David Cunliffe to win the first full leadership primary in 2013 despite having only minority support in caucus – the first time this had ever happened in Labour’s history. The result of his elevation to the leadership was Labour’s third successive and even more disastrous defeat.

When you drive out of the party its more centrist activists, you leave a vacuum that has been filled by harder left activists. When these same activists, alongside the more traditionally left wing trade union leadership, have control of the party’s candidate selections, its policy formation and now the election of its leader, over time you end up with a party, candidates and policies that no longer appeal to middle NZ and a party that is no longer the broad church it used to be. The party may be truer to its left wing principles but it now produces candidates, policies and campaigning rhetoric out of step with the aspirations of floating middle NZ voters that decide elections. National’s moderate centrist direction under John Key has become the natural repository for various key demographic groups that once used to strongly vote Labour and accordingly, Labour has ended up falling further behind National in each subsequent election post its 2008 defeat culminating in its second lowest vote this election since its formation in 1916!

Labour is now undertaking yet another review of why it was defeated and another likely more bruising leadership primary.

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Sheik Mohammed comments on ISIS

 

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the current ruler of Dubai and he has penned an opinion piece on ISIS.

That alone makes me want to read it. A Middle East leader of a vibrant modern nation commenting on ISIS…its worth a read in full.

The global financial crisis taught the world how profoundly interdependent our economies have become. In today’s crisis of extremism, we must recognize that we are just as interdependent for our security, as is clear in the current struggle to defeat ISIS.

If we are to prevent ISIS from teaching us this lesson the hard way, we must acknowledge that we cannot extinguish the fires of fanaticism by force alone. The world must unite behind a holistic drive to discredit the ideology that gives extremists their power, and to restore hope and dignity to those whom they would recruit.

ISIS certainly can – and will – be defeated militarily by the international coalition that is now assembling and which the UAE is actively supporting. But military containment is only a partial solution. Lasting peace requires three other ingredients: winning the battle of ideas; upgrading weak governance; and supporting grassroots human development.

Such a solution must begin with concerted international political will. Not a single politician in North America, Europe, Africa, or Asia can afford to ignore events in the Middle East. A globalized threat requires a globalized response. Everyone will feel the heat, because such flames know no borders; indeed, ISIS has recruited members of at least 80 nationalities.

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Would people who have no knowledge of military matters stop making silly suggestions

SAS-Baddass

NZSAS after operation in Kabul to sort out some Taliban ratbags

David Farrar opines about Vernon Small’s article that New Zealand sends military transport and not our highly skilled SAS to Syria and Iraq.

But first lets address Small’s report.

Prime Minister John Key says New Zealand could offer the airforce’s “airlift capacity” as part of a contribution to the international military action against Islamic State (IS) militants.

The extremist Islamic group, also known as Isil, and Isis, has rapidly moved to control and destabilise Iraq, sweeping in from Syria in the north. The group has beheaded aid workers, journalists and carried out crucifixions and mass executions.

Key is also signalling that Cabinet will tomorrow take the first step towards cracking down on New Zealanders who go to fight alongside IS, by extending the time passports can be cancelled and by making fighting with IS an explicit criminal act.

Speaking on TV One’s Q+A programme, Key said a range of options were being considered for New Zealand involvement in the IS conflict but more work was needed before a final decision.

Any action should be “useful, practical and work”, he said. That could range from humanitarian action, which was already under way, and include military options such as training, “to ultimately people who would be there right on the front line”.

“The last bit is some sort of military support, but not necessarily people on the ground, so it could be airlift capability.”

Let’s look at the stupidity of that suggestion, from Key and reported by Vernon Small.   Read more »

Dear Danyl…

Before you read on have a look at this tweet and who re-tweeted it.

danyl-retweet

Now, yesterday I received an email from Danyl McLauchlan:

Hi Cameron –

DPF might have mentioned this to you: Victoria University Press has asked me to write a book about Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics book, and one of the aims of the book is to get comments from the people written about in Hager’s book who didn’t get a right of reply there. And, so, gallingly, I have to interview you, or at least ask you for an interview.

If you consent to this – And you DON”T have to! – I’m trying to arrange a time to come up to Auckland, but if you find yourself in Wellington in the near future and have an hour to chat then that’d be great. Also, if you have any questions you want me to put to Hager, or anyone else, then let me know.

Cheers,

Danyl

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Waitangi National Trust busted in a lie

The Waitangi National Trust has found themselves in a spot of bother.

They decided to start charging Kiwis again for access to the Treat Grounds at Waitangi and have mounted a PR campaign to justify it.

Lazy media have bought their cry of poverty…like the Herald.

Visitors to the splendid Treaty grounds at Waitangi probably assume the taxpayers of New Zealand happily pay for the facilities there. What could be a more worthy or natural public expense than the preservation of that place? In fact, it is run by a private trust with income from the estate of a former Governor-General, Lord Bledisloe, supplemented by a charge to visitors.

Fortunately the grounds are not completely fenced and it is possible to reach the historic site for no charge, but the convenient entrance has always carried a fee. The entrance has been made attractive and informational, taking visitors through a building containing displays. The $12 door charge caused no audible outrage from the public, but in 2008 Helen Clark’s Government argued, quite rightly, that New Zealanders should not have to pay. The Waitangi National Trust agreed and made entry free for everyone except overseas tourists who would be charged $25 to cover the lost income.

In recent years the trust has struggled to cover its costs, blaming a decline in tourism following the Global Financial Crisis.

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Four terms or Five?

David Farrar didn’t believe that National could entertain winning four terms, but the scale of the defeat of the left has forced him to re-evaluate this thinking.

I had even mentally drafted a blog post intended for the day after the election, in case of a National victory, in which somewhat somberly I would have stated that while it is great National got a third term, MPs should realise that this is probably their last term in Government. The post would have been about how they need to secure the policy gains of the last six years, so as many of them as possible can’t be reversed, and also how if they can go into opposition with a relatively solid vote, then maybe there will be just two terms in opposition.

The nature of the election result has changed that. A fourth, or even a fifth term, is now a very credible possibility. I’m not saying a probability, but definitely a credible possibility. Here’s why:

  1. National’s 48% is the sort of result you get in your first term, not your last term
  2. The left vote totalled just 36%, and they need to grow this by 12% if they want to be able to govern, without being dependent on what Winston may decide
  3. The Conservatives could well make 5% in 2017, giving National an extra buffer
  4. John Key is now very likely to contest the 2017 election. Previously I would have said it was 60/40 at best.
  5. Labour’s leadership battle is turning off the public, and may leave the party divided and wrecked

I thought like Farrar.

If National won it was likely to be a narrow victory, with few partners and  the left on the rise I though John Key would jack it in and go out as a winning PM rather than risk being turfed out. Now I am certain that the next election is a certain victory for National, perhaps with some support partners. John Key will now look to best Keith Holyoake’s record and win a fourth term and cement his place in history. Holyoake served just under 12 years as PM therefore the winning of a fourth term means that John Key would easily pass that record. Key is now fast approaching the records of Helen Clark (8 years, 350 days ),Edward Stafford (8 years, 326 days), Robert Muldoon (8 years, 227 days ), Sid Holland (7 years, 281 days), Joseph Ward (7 years, 38 days), and Jim Bolger (7 years, 36 days), which will all fall this term.  Read more »

The Huddle

newstalkzb

I was on The Huddle last night.

There was a slight change this week after Josie Pagani showed her right wing credentials they have decided to get a real left winger on the show and so David Farrar made an appearance

Our topics were:

  • Labour – where did it all go so wrong and will their inquiry get to the bottom of the problem. Looking at their terms of reference in relation to this it’s like they are basically looking at EVERYTHING to do with the party in relation to the situation. But I would say that the party’s only as good as the people running it – and they might be in for a  shock when the results of the review come back. They clearly need a good clean out to rejuvenate party in the public’s eye – but they also need behind the scenes people who can come up with effective and strong policy to move them towards the middle ground and become a real opposition party again. They do actually risk becoming irrelevant and leaving the door open for either the Greens or NZ First to be the “opposition”.
  • Then we’ve got the two friends for National in parliament. They feel like faux deals as there doesn’t appear to be much in it for either Peter Dunne or David Seymour – I guess it gives National more of a buffer in the house, but what on earth is an under -secretary? Interesting though that both Dunne and Seymour are happy to roll with their votes going to National for very little relevance in the wider scheme of things.

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Guest Post – Thoughts on Labour

A reader and new commenter emails:

Dear Team,

I posted my first comment recently after a long time reading and enjoying the blog (as ‘Reasoned and Rational’). Slowly getting drawn into the vortex ;-)

Some time ago I seem to recall an article which indicated that submissions from readers might be considered if of a suitable standard. I wonder if you’d read through my thoughts below and consider if it meets that standard? If so, please feel free to use it at some time when you have space. If you choose not to, no worries, it’s been fun getting it down in writing.

Best regards,

Reasoned and Rational


I grew up in home with a photo of Michael Joseph Savage on the mantel above the fireplace. My Dad was a working man, and the party ‘we’ supported looked after the interests of the workers, ensured a fair deal from ‘the bosses’, was interested monitoring the terms and conditions of employment, and made sure that there was a safety net in the form of social welfare if something went wrong. Social welfare was to catch you if you fell, and support you until you were back on your feet again. You took personal responsibility for finding work and getting back into it as quickly as possible if circumstances changed.

In the house I grew up in there was a pride in working. My Dad was very unhappy when once I mentioned University as an idea. “That’s just for those that can’t work, boffins and the sons of the bosses” I recall him saying. That certainly didn’t mean that education wasn’t valued, and teachers were respected as providing the route to a better job for me than he’d managed.

Times were different. Unemployment was low. Rob Muldoon once half joked he knew all 70 odd registered unemployed by name. Yes, there were only 70! When I got my first job upon leaving school I was employed not because I was the best man for the job, but for the simple reason I was the only one to reply to the ad.

It was easy to change jobs. Give the boss the two fingered salute on a Friday night, read the ‘Sits Vac’ in Saturday’s Herald and there was a good chance by Tuesday or Wednesday you were starting a new gig. Management trainee jobs were good to get all round experience and were plentiful at the time and amongst many other things I got experience at the Otahuhu freezing works with Hellabys and a timber yard with Henderson and Pollard.

My first five elections were all votes cast for Labour, as much out of habit and conditioning as anything else. I was more interested in what was happening on Saturday night than the long term future of the country.

By the end of that fifth election though, I was out the other end of an apprenticeship, married and watching the sense of disbelief and betrayal that the Lange/Douglas Labour government wrought on my father. He never cast another vote for Labour as long as he lived. He could never vote National so he became one of Winston’s supporters.     Read more »