Helen Clark

Nicky Hager reveals that our spies spy…wow!

Nicky Hager’s drip feed of stolen documents via his pals in the NZ Herald continues today.

And todays revelations are that apparently our spies spy.

Our spies monitored email and internet traffic about international diplomats vying for the job of director-general of the World Trade Organisation – a job for which National Government Trade Minister Tim Groser was competing.

The spying operation was active in 2013 and called the “WTO Project” by New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), according to a top secret document obtained by the Herald and United States news site The Intercept.

The operation involved covert surveillance of candidates from Brazil, Costa Rica, Ghana, Jordan, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico and South Korea.

The GCSB tasking document which structured the search of internet traffic was designed to look for references to Mr Groser, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) role and his competitors, initially in any online communication but then narrowed to emails.

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Election bribes, why taxpayers lose while polticians win

Rodney Hide explains how election bribes work, and how when politicians win, invariably it is the taxpayers who lose.

To succeed politically, you must win votes. That’s what counts. If you don’t win votes, you won’t be a politician. It’s the one-and-only job requirement.

The need for votes drives politicians.

And with that insight economics explains and predicts political behaviour just as it explains and predicts all human behaviour.

Labour leader Helen Clark won the vote of students (and their parents) in 1999 promising to wipe interest payments on their loans. She won the vote of graduates in 2005 promising to wipe their interest payments, too.

Her purpose wasn’t to reduce the burden of debt on students. Her purpose was to win the votes she needed to win power. The promises were straight election bribes.

The policy takes from the working poor – the truck drivers, the self-employed, the factory workers – to give to the privileged – the future lawyers, accountants, professors and company executives.

To win, Ms Clark had to reach across to would-be National voters and secure their vote. She did so by reverse income redistribution: she took from the poor to give to the rich.

It’s not pretty politics but, for politicians, pretty is winning and losing is ugly.

I well remember door-knocking in blue ribbon Epsom to have students and their parents telling me they were voting Labour because “they would be mad not to.”

The 81,000 students who received Ms Clark’s full interest write-off benefited on average by $18 a week. That’s something they noticed – and voted for. The nation’s two million taxpayers lost just 74c a week. That’s a sum they didn’t notice and didn’t affect their vote.

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Rodney Hide on the eco-terrorists of Waitakere

Rodney Hide calmly explains the wrongs of the kauri eco-terrorists int he Herald on Sunday.

Quick, whack your old trees down. Otherwise you run the risk of having MP David Cunliffe living up it and being bossed about from New York by former Prime Minister Helen Clark. Supermodel Rachel Hunter will weigh in with obscenities on Facebook: that’s because you fail to appreciate the “life force” your tree holds.

That’s what has happened to architect John Lenihan and his family. They were going about the lawful enjoyment of their Titirangi property, including chopping down their old kauri. It was theirs. They bought it. But no matter. They had to be stopped.

They had protesters outside their property, a fellow living up the tree, a nationwide media furore and everyone from the UN down telling them they were greedy and evil. They received death threats.

No one said what the Lenihans were doing was illegal but plenty of people were screaming abuse and happy to break the law.

The dispute could have been resolved peacefully by the protesters digging deep and buying the property. Rachel Hunter could afford it. So, too, could Helen Clark. And David Cunliffe.

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Senior UN official meddles in local issues

A senior UN official has been caught meddling in domestic New Zealand issues.

She is as usual unrepentant and feels that she can ignore the usual protocols of UN officials refraining from entering local political debates on issues…especially on an issue that is actually a private property rights issue.

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark has weighed in on the battle to stop a 500-year-old kauri from being chopped down in Auckland.

Ms Clark – now the Administrator for the United Nations Development Programme – posted her views on a photo of supporters at a protest in Paturoa Rd, Titirangi, where the centuries’ old kauri is due to be brought down.

“Extraordinary in this day and age that a permit would be given to fell a 500 year old kauri tree,” she wrote.

The comment was made on a photo posted on Facebook by Waitakere Ranges Local Board member Greg Presland. He is pictured with fellow member Saffron Toms and board chairwoman Sandra Coney.

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Stephen Franks short but blunt message about our judicial system

I have refrained from entering into the Teina Pora debate until some sensible thoughts emerged.

Stephen Franks is short and blunt, but he is right.

Another embarrassment for our criminal justice system dealt with by  the Privy Council, the world’s best independent  top court.

There will be too much political resistance to admitting a stupid mistake in dumping that inexpensive heritage assurance of judicial objectivity. But the need remains.

We should promptly ask the High Court of Australia to accept our appeals where we need demonstrable assurance that the result will not be influenced by insider defensiveness or local groupthink.

The single worst thing that Helen Clark did, with it appears little actual thinking, was the removal of appeal tot eh Privy Council.   Read more »

John Key moves under urgency to cancel MP payrises

John Key has announced his intention to change MP pay rises.

Prime Minister John Key today announced an overhaul of the Remuneration Authority Act, tying MP salaries to those of the wider public sector, which will be passed under urgency.

Mr Key says the decision was made after the Remuneration Authority’s latest determination which saw the total remuneration received by MPs increased by about 3.5 per cent.

“That increase was neither necessary nor justified at a time when inflation is at 0.8 per cent,” says Mr Key.

“While the decision was made independently of MPs, they should not be receiving increases which are disproportionate to the wider public sector.”

Mr Key says the Remuneration Authority referred specifically to the criteria contained in the Remuneration Authority Act 1977 as the reason for the increases, therefore a law change was necessary. Read more »

Political Doppelgangers

Elizabeth McCombs 1933

Elizabeth McCombs 1933

Helen Clark

Helen Clark

Seriously folks I’m starting to think that time travel exists. It’s either that or she is a vampire.

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Trotter on Little sleight of the Greens

Chris Trotter writes at The Daily Blog:

In the current political climate, Little is acutely aware that Labour’s close association with the Greens is a big political loser. Too many people who would like to vote Labour are declining to do so because they fear the influence of the Greens within what all the polls tell them would be a coalition government of the centre-left. It is one of the reasons why so many Labour supporters split their votes. They are happy to give their electorate vote to the Labour candidate, so long as, by party-voting National, they can keep the Greens out of government.

Clearly, by so publicly mistreating the Greens, Little hopes to convince potential Labour voters that his party is no longer willing to be lumped-in with Green “extremism”. His message is clear: in any future coalition government the Greens will serve on Labour’s terms – or not at all.   Read more »

Some thoughts on Little shafting the Greens, Sign of things to come?

Andrew Little had a major cock up saying that Maori should be able to write their own laws, something which it appears the Greens agreed to because they reckon his first major cock up is something different  and something that no one cares about.

Norman said it was a “bad call” and is upset he learned of the decision through the media.

Now the Greens say Little has broken the law as well as convention.

The Intelligence and Security Committee Act 1996 states that the leader of the opposition must nominate representatives “following consultation with the leader of each party that is not in Government or in coalition with a Government party”.

A Green Party spokesman said this was Little’s first “big stuff up” and are calling on him to back down.    Read more »

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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