David Shearer

Politicians promote Free speech – within limits (H/T to Len Brown)

What the hell is going on with the National Party?  Seriously, I’m starting to wonder if I’ve woken up in a parallel universe, because I actually agree with Labour here

Labour says it’s outrageous for the Government to tell its MPs not to attend Falun Gong celebrations next week.

Foreign affairs spokesman David Shearer says the email from Foreign Minister Murray McCully’s office warns ministers and MPs of the Chinese embassy’s “sensitivities”.

“Not only that, it also states the embassy will be monitoring the events and is likely to make an official protest if any politicians or `other officials’ attend,” Mr Shearer said.

“It’s outrageous to warn MPs off attending events. New Zealand has a proud history of free speech, freedom of religion and an independent foreign policy.”

What on earth is Muzza McCully smoking to be telling his colleagues not to attend functions?   May I remind him of the National Party’s values?   Read more »

The benefits of foreign investment

There were campaigns trying to prevent Shanghai Pengxin from acquiring the Crafar farms. Politiciand from David Shearer and Phil Goff to Winston Peters interfered as well. Then there were the legal battles from people trying to prevent the sale of the decrepit Crafar farms to Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin.

Winston Peters also famously slurred their name in one presumably drunken rant in parliament.

But all the naysayers are being proved wrong as Shanghai Pengxin has literally plowed millions of dollars in to the farms to turn them from dogs to diamonds.

ONE OF the biggest achievements of the Shanghai Pengxin renovation of a former Crafar dairy farm near Hamilton is peace with the neighbours and community.

A while back, Jason Colebourn who manages the Collins Rd property for Pengxin’s sharemilker Landcorp, says he wondered if the local customary wave was a one-fingered salute, so often did he get one when working on the farm whose environmental calamities helped spur the collapse of the 16-farm Crafar dairying empire six years ago.

Colebourn moved onto the farm one year into the receivership of the Crafar farm estate and for two more years until the sale to the Chinese company was finalised, the Collins Rd property would remain an eyesore.

Pengxin has bankrolled the Collins Rd farm resurrection for $1.72 million and counting.

Colebourn and his five staff have supplied the brains and brawn to turn what was by all accounts a train wreck into an operation which this season will produce 365,000kg milk solids and is  turning a profit for its owner.

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Sour grapes

The Fox and the Grapes

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei complained that she was overlooked by Angry Andrew for a position on the Intelligence and Security committee because of her sex. She had no proof of this claim apart from the fact that he gave the job to someone else.

He said that he didn’t choose her because he wanted someone with … ‘skills, understanding and experience’  which in her mind implied that she did not have these qualities. Certainly no one would raise an eye brow at his decision to appoint David Shearer given his background in international relations and aid. After all he did spend nearly 20 years working for the UN, managing the provision of aid to countries including Somalia, Rwanda, Liberia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Iraq.No one could say that Andrew Little gave the position to some one less able and experienced than her. In fact the opposite is true as she has no international experience at all. Nothing, nada, nil, zero, nought.

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Why didn’t Shearer do this when he was leader?

I like David Shearer, he is a thinker…and sometimes he really says some very good things.

Why on earth he didn’t do these sort of thing when he was leader.

The impression that the Labour caucus and union movement had David Shearer’s balls in a rat trap when he was leader grows stronger by the day.

He is showing a streak of independence now.

There’s no doubt that New Zealand has a poverty problem and many of our children go to school without breakfast. That hinders their learning.

At the moment, charities and corporate sponsors are stepping up to deliver free food to poorer schools for those children.

Is this the best way to address the problem? I used to think it was.

But last year I visited Yendarra School. It serves a decile 1A community in Otara, making it one of the poorest primary schools in the country – yet they have said ‘no’ to government food hand outs.

Why? Because Yendarra has worked hard, in partnership with their families, to develop a school culture that values good nutrition. And, they’ve achieved healthy lunches for 100% of their children: fruit, vegetables, sandwiches and milk.

You can see the wellness in the children’s faces. Obesity levels are down, and the ability of the children to concentrate on their work in class is up.

If they can achieve those results in one of the poorest neighbourhoods in New Zealand, I believe any school should be able to do it.

That’s why I’m looking for all political parties to support my Food In Schools Bill that will come before Parliament in the next few weeks. Through many conversations with parents, doctors, teachers, school principals and schoolchildren themselves, I have become convinced that free food solves nothing.

I now believe that each school community should be resourced to find and deliver its own long-term food solutions.

We should be supporting schools to teach children the lifelong skills of self-sufficiency, nutrition and gardening that our parents and grandparents knew well. Somehow those skills seem to have skipped a generation, but our children deserve to have a chance at self-reliance.

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Shearer says Iraq needs non-military assistance…like this?

David Shearer says that Iraq doesn’t need military assistance in fighting ISIS, instead it needs non-military assistance.

Iraq’s government is lukewarm on military assistance from New Zealand and “smashing” Islamic State won’t solve the war-torn country’s problems, Labour’s David Shearer says.

Foreign minister Ibrahim al-Jafaari was in Auckland last week for talks on what the Government can contribute to the battle against Islamic State extremists.

On offer are 40-100 troops to train Iraq’s military forces in a non-combat role. However, a sticking point is whether the Kiwis will be able to provide security, after Jafaari suggested protection would come from Iraqi troops.

Labour leader Andrew Little and foreign affairs spokesman David Shearer met with Jafaari, after his talks with foreign minister Murray McCully. Labour are opposed to the plan to send military trainers – but Shearer appears open to other forms of assistance.

He says Jafaari was more enthusiastic about the non-military support that New Zealand could provide.

Outside of airstrikes and intelligence gathering – which New Zealand can’t help with – the strife-torn country needs capacity building support, Shearer said. Jafaari was especially interested in agricultural know-how.

“That [help] doesn’t have to be military. What they would like to see is more countries in there supporting them. [Jafaari] started [the meeting] off by saying 90 per cent of Iraq’s foreign income is through oil. Oil has just gone down dramatically in price, so they are suffering really badly as a result, they don’t have that economic base there anymore.

“They never had other industries, they effectively had state-owned enterprises which were these huge corrupt industries at one end and barber shops and corner shops at the other end. There was no middle-sized businesses that employ people.”

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Three good reasons from a lefty as to why we should take the fight to ISIS

Paul Buchanan is a lefty…he is an expert on international relations and also on conflicts and military issues.

It is not often I agree with him, we are on opposite sides of the political coin.

However he provides three good reason for New Zealand helping to take the fight to ISIS.

There are three specific reasons why NZ has to join the fight, two practical and one principled.

The practical reasons are simple: First, NZ’s major security allies, the US, UK and Australia, are all involved as are France, Germany and others. After the signing of the Wellington and Washington security agreements, NZ became a first tier security partner of the US, and as is known, it is an integral member of the 5 Eyes signals intelligence network. It therefore cannot renege on its security alliance commitments without a serious loss of credibility and trust from the countries upon which it is most dependent for its own security.

Secondly, most of New Zealand’s primary diplomatic and trading partners, including those in the Middle East, are involved in the anti-IS coalition. Having just secured a UN Security Council temporary seat at a time when the UN has repeatedly issued condemnations of IS, and having campaigned in part on breaking the logjam in the UNSC caused by repeated use of the veto by the 5 permanent members on issues on which they disagree (such as the civil war in Syria), NZ must back up its rhetoric and reinforce its diplomatic and trade relations by committing to the multinational effort to defeat IS. Refusing to do so in the face of requests from these partners jeopardises the non-military relationships with them.

The third reason is a matter of principle and it is surprising that the government has not made more of it as a justification for involvement. After the Rwandan genocide an international doctrine known as the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) was agreed by UN convention to prevent future horrors of that sort. It basically states that if a defenceless population is being subject to the depredations of its own government, or if the home government cannot defend the population from the depredations of others, then the international community is compelled to use whatever means, including armed force, to prevent ongoing atrocities from occurring. There can be no doubt that is the situation in parts of Iraq and Syria at the moment. Neither the Assad regime or the Iraqi government can defend minority communities such as Kurds or Yazidis, or even non-compliant Sunnis, from the wrath of IS.

That, more than any other reason, is why NZ must join the fight. As an international good citizen that has signed up to the R2P, NZ is committed in principle to the defense of vulnerable others.

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Hosking gets it right on Little

Mike Hosking may be a bit of a preening rooster with a funny haircut but he does get politics.

He gives Andrew Little a good kick in the arse for his dumb Iwi making their own laws policy.

I think Andrew Little might have made his first major mistake as Labour leader.

It’s generally accepted he’s made an excellent start. Polls show him to be a real contender and a worthy opponent of the Prime Minister. But then he wandered into the self-governance debate at Waitangi and instead of doing the sensible and dare I suggest obvious thing and reject it, he started suggesting we should look at it and talk about it.

Separatism and its debate is political dynamite.

Yes it is dynamite, because it tells middle New Zealand that they don’t need to listen to anything else from Little.   Read more »

Who is Andrew Little? How did Little go at Ratana?


Who me? No it’s Andrew Little not Stuart Little

If you look at media reports Andrew Little didn’t do so well at Ratana.

And those media reports are subtle but brutal showing that the as yet un-filled PR position in his team is going to have a hard job getting two positive stories about a dopey looking, dour, grumpy leader into the media.

The photo the Herald used on Saturday was dreadful.

The comments by Claire Trevett worse.

Andrew Little has survived his first address to Maori at Ratana but was well and truly upstaged by NZ First leader Winston Peters when it came to wooing the nannies.

Beforehand, Mr Little admitted to having butterflies in his stomach given the historic relationship between Labour and the Church followers.

He was also the third Labour leader in as many years and the Church speakers had issued a warning that Labour had to up its game after the faith Maori placed in it in last year’s election.

It may have helped that none of his predecessors – David Cunliffe, David Shearer and Phil Goff – attended this year. But the pressure went up when he discovered he’d also have to give his address in front of National MPs.

Usually the Government parties and Opposition are welcomed on to Ratana separately, but this year delays prompted the organisers to opt for a joint powhiri.

Mr Little managed to get through his speech without looking at his notes. He even managed to get in a few jokes, saying of the prophet Ratana that he was “80 years ahead of Gareth Morgan. And he didn’t have a book to sell”.

However, he didn’t get many laughs, possibly because Dr Morgan was on the paepae alongside the Ratana elders, having been welcomed on yesterday.

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Who is Andrew Little? How long does Little have to increase Labour’s polls?


Labour have gone through four leaders in the past seven years, and are now on to their fifth.

This suggests that Andrew Little needs to be watching his back, or keeping it against the wall if Grant Robertson is around.

Robertson engineered the dumping of David Shearer with some beautiful low bastardry that impressed the VRWC.

This was all without Robbo copping the flack for doing the back stabbing. Shearer’s mid 30s poll ratings a year out from the election gave Robbo the chance to move his forces to stare down Shearer and force a leadership election.     Read more »

Who is Andrew Little? Ctd – Can Andrew Little win the Media Battle?

This is what Andrew Little looks like

Labour and the liberal elite have great hopes for Andrew Little.

They seem to think that he will have a broader appeal to middle New Zealand than Phil Goff, David Shearer or David Cunliffe ever did.

The problem with this the camera is unkind to Andrew Little.

Brian Edwards, the left’s master media trainer, called Little “Grim Faced”.

The word is that Edwards reckons that the dour, grim faced little is not going to be able to be media trained.    Read more »