Gerry Brownlee

Compare and contrast

via RNZ

via RNZ

Guilty of breaking the law, but even then he’s just kidding around.

Mr Brownlee has been stung $2000 for breaking security rules at Christchurch airport while trying to make a flight in July.

He says he accepts the findings and has learned his lesson. Read more »

Greens busted playing dirty politics

The Greens have been busted stealing people’s email addresses and using them to astroturf support in submission to ECan.

What was that citizens initiated referendum for again? That’s right it was a database exercise done by taxpayer funded staff to further subvert democracy, it’s the Greens so the ends justify the means as they do it for a higher cause…the planet.

The Green Party has been accused of “subverting the democratic process” by lobbying Environment Canterbury (ECan) on behalf of individuals without their knowledge.

Four people were surprised to receive emails from ECan thanking them for their submission on the region’s proposed bus changes when they had not submitted.

A further 20 submissions, of the 165 submissions sent in by the Greens, were found to have incorrect email addresses.

ECan received 2357 submissions for its proposed bus changes.

All submissions from the Greens were a standard response asking for more investment in public transport and more services for elderly.

Emails given to The Press by ECan, with personal information removed, showed people were unimpressed.

“I nevet [sic] sent this email! How did this happen?” one said.

“I actually didn’t give permission for the Green Party to send that submission on my behalf,” another said.

Another questioned the ethics of the practice.

“It does not accurately represent my thoughts . . . I’m not sure I agree ethically with this practice.”

Read more »

The topsy turvy world of “Tainted” Fisher

Kim Dotcom’s tainted and embedded journalist David “tainted” Fisher is still revelling in stolen and hacked data.

His latest “outrage” is that people comment on my blog…and some of them are staffers in Parliament.

The press secretary of Cabinet minister Gerry Brownlee has admitted posting anonymously to the Whale Oil blog as the impact of Dirty Politics continues to hit the election campaign.

Nick Bryant was named in Dirty Politics as the person who had used the pseudonym “Former Hack” to post anonymous comments encouraging blogger Cameron Slater’s campaign against a public servant which resulted in death threats.

The Herald was able to confirm the use of Mr Bryant’s ministerial computer through details obtained from an individual other than the hacker who also accessed information from Whale Oil during the Denial of Service attack.

Under “Former Hack”, Mr Bryant told Slater “well done” on a post which attacked Simon Pleasants. He told others he agreed calls should be placed to ask why Mr Pleasants was still employed and told Slater “you might have one for the harpoon gallery there” – the so-called Whale Oil roll call of sacked officials.

Read more »

Hooton on Labour’s skulduggery in Te Tai Tokerau

Matthew Hooton uses his NBR column to explain about David Cunliffe’s skullduggery in Te Tai Tokerau.

Less widely reported was Mr Key’s reference to the Maori Party. Like National voters in Epsom and Ohariu, the prime minister told those in the Maori electorates to back his support parties’ candidates.

This is a bit cheeky: National doesn’t run candidates in the Maori electorates because, theoretically, its policy is to abolish them (although it’s extremely doubtful Mr Key personally agrees, given his commitment to national reconciliation).

That’s why Mr Key’s nod to the Maori Party is so important. Under MMP, this election remains too close to call. For National to have a chance of a third term, Mr Key may well need Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell to retain Waiariki. Even more important is the result in Hone Harawira’s Te Tai Tokerau electorate, which spans Cape Reinga to West Auckland.

Most commentators assume Mr Harawira is completely safe, especially now he has scored Kim Dotcom’s dosh. But that reveals they haven’t looked at the data very carefully.

Three years ago, Mr Harawira only sneaked back into parliament, beating Labour’s Kelvin Davis by a mere 1165 votes, 6% of those cast. Labour won the party vote easily, by 10%. For his part, Mr Harawira’s majority was well less than National’s party vote and also NZ First’s (see table below). Obviously, many National and NZ First voters backed the Maori Party’s candidate, while Green voters backed Mr Harawira.

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This time, the Maori Party has Te Hira Paenga as its candidate. He would make an excellent MP. A father of five, he has post-graduate qualifications and is assistant principal at Hato Petera College. Whatever: he should fall on his taiaha.  Read more »

David Cunliffe and his travel troughing

David-Cunliffe-piggy

Yesterday Andrea Vance rightfully gave Paul Foster-Bell a swift kick in the goolies for his troughing.

There was another MP though that significantly increased his travel expenses during a selection battle…David Cunliffe.

The Cunliffe had a large spike in his air travel expenses during the Labour’s got talent contest and shortly after then his air travel spending appears to have returned to normal.

Jan 1 – Mar 31 2013 – $7,208

April 1 – June 30 2013 – $8,538

July 1 – 30 Sept 2013 – $14,071

Oct 1 to Dec 31 2013 – $20,909

Jan 1 – Mar 31 2014 – $8,493

All this makes Grant Robertson’s attack on National yesterday somewhat an own goal.   Read more »

Here piggy, piggy, piggy

You would think Louise Upston would know better, but this is often the way with MPs after a few terms, they simply get out of touch and the entitlement mentality sinks in.

Often it is the smuggest of MPs that make the stupidest of mistakes. This week it was Gerry Brownlee who must not be liking MPs throwing his own words about how easy it is for top MPs to damage themselves back at him.

And now it is Louise Upston, National’s chief whip, who is thoroughly disliked in the caucus, creating the wrong sort of headlines.

Would you struggle to find a hotel room in Auckland or Christchurch for under $210 a night? Spare a thought for MPs who believe a $30 boost to their taxpayer-funded accommodation just won’t cover it.

The hard-done-by politicians are also asking for 30 free flights a year for their spouses, partners or children – on top of their at-least $150,000-a-year salaries.

A review of expenses by the Remuneration Authority, which sets MPs’ pay, is proposing the amount they are allowed to claim for hotel rooms while in Auckland and Christchurch on business be increased from $180 to $210. Outside of those cities it would rise from $160 to $190 a night.   Read more »

Labour plans to let local bodies tax you even more

Now this has to be an election winning strategy….for National.

Labour is going to let local councils tax ratepayers even more than they do now under their local body proposals.

Labour plans to reinstate the power for local bodies to raise revenue through extra levies such as a ‘pillow tax’ on visitors and regional petrol taxes.

Labour’s Local Government policy will also require a referendum to be held before any local council amalgamations can go ahead.

Local communities would also have to be consulted before council services were contracted out or privatised.

Local Government spokesman Sua William Sio said Labour was not opposed to amalgamations, but did not believe they were appropriate in all cases.

He said the Auckland supercity model was opposed by many Aucklanders “and designed to take control away from the hands of the many and vest governance in the hands of the few.”

Read more »

Duncan Garner on Brownlee’s airport stunt

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via ODT

It’s pretty clear this is a prima facie case of Brownlee breaking the law, or at least using his position to do so. Gerry will be hating this and he will be kicking himself. The Brownlee I have got to know pretty well over the past 18 years has been down to earth and is not one to ask for special favours. This blows all that out of the water.   Read more »

John Key brain fart or is the arrogance starting to come out?

With Gerry Brownlee and his two staff walking straight through airport security is an appalling show of arrogance.  Especially if you are the Minister of Transport to boot.  Granted, he did offer to resign as Transport Minister straight away.

But then Key stuffed up.   Big time.

Tracy Watkins:

Is Prime Minister John Key’s refusal to accept Gerry Brownlee’s resignation a sign that National thinks it is bulletproof?

Brownlee’s blunder in brushing past airport security to board a plane was far more serious than the “silly mistake” that Prime Minister John Key excused him for.

It has exposed serious flaws in our aviation security system in that it allowed three unauthorised passengers to board a plane with no security checks whatsoever.

It has also put the Civil Aviation Authority in the invidious position of having to investigate its own minister

That’s actually the real problem.  He showed up his own people by embarrassing them in public.  He showed how crap regional airport security can be.  And for that alone, he no longer deserves to be their minister.   Read more »

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Winston wrong again

It won’t come as much of a surprise that another of Winston’s conspiracy theories has been proved wrong…again.

KiwiRail has rejected a suggestion from NZ First leader Winston Peters that troubled Interislander ferry Aratere has blown an engine while en route to Australia following its two dry dockings at the Keppel Shipyard in Singapore.

Peters called on Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee to immediately explain what had happened to the ferry on its return journey to Wellington, via a scheduled fuel stop in the Australian port of Gladstone  after its 14 weeks of refurbishment in Singapore.

“We call on the Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee to immediately explain what is happening with the ferry and to explain why this problem has followed a supposed repair job in Singapore.

“He should clarify the reports immediately. Mr Brownlee has presided over this shambles for far too long,” Peters said in a statement.

Commenting on Peters’ statement Interislander general manager Thomas Davis said one engine was out of action due to mechanical issues unrelated to the Singapore dry docking.    Read more »