John Key

Explaining is losing, Paula

The Government’s social housing policy is lurching from one PR disaster to the next.

While I get what the aim of the policy is, it just seems to be sloppy.

Government says its proposal to lease some state houses instead of selling them does not mean one of its biggest policies has failed.

Social Housing Paula Bennett said today that leasing some of the state houses was always a part of Government’s plan, and it was not a response to a lack of interest from community housing providers.

“We’re looking at everything at the moment,” she told reporters. “This is part of a discovery process as we look at community housing providers – what works best for the tenants and how we can increase their involvement in social housing.  Read more »

When Key wants something personally, he suddenly stops being a poll driven fruit loop

The National party does everything usually because their focus groups and polls tell them what to do.

The only thing right now that they aren’t winning in their polls and their focus groups is John Key’s legacy project…changing the flag.

When John Key really wants something personally, he suddenly stops being a poll driven fruit cake and rams things through his way.

The Select Committee considering the process for the referendum on the flag has rejected calls for voters to be asked if they want to change the flag up front rather than waiting until a second referendum.

The committee has reported back on the bill with few amendments.

Many submitters had asked for the first of the two referendums, due to be held later this year, to ask whether voters wanted a new flag rather than wait until the second referendum when the new flag will go up against the most popular alternative.

However, the majority on the committee chose to stick with the current order, saying it agreed with the advice of officials that to change the order would bias it in favour of the current flag because voters would not know what the alternative was.   Read more »

Who is getting rich off our milk?

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The cost of milk just keeps rising; prices have gone up 8 percent in two years.

We’re paying more for it than Australians and the British, but New Zealand farmers are not reaping the rewards. …

Consumer affairs spokesman David Shearer [told] Paul Henry … Read more »

Is National’s Harmful Digital Communications Bill its own Electoral Finance Act?

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National is a party that supposedly believes in Individual freedom, choice and personal responsibility.

They played heavily on this in defeating Helen Clark’s more authoritarian and nanny state style of government.

Clark ridiculously focused on controlling what light bulbs we should use, changing shower heads in houses to conserve water, which rather abundantly falls from the sky, and their worst law which National shamelessly barely altered upon gaining the treasury benches, the Electoral Finance Act.

The Electoral Finance Act bizarrely had its genesis in Nicky Hager’s book the Hollowmen, which ‘exposed’ dealings National had with the Exclusive Brethren. Labour put up a law that sought to restrict donations to political parties, except their own donations of course.

Somehow it was wrong for New Zealand citizens to donate to political parties, but perfectly OK for large amounts of cash to slosh into Labour coffers from a narcissistic ex-pat Kiwi who made his fortune in managing logistics for tobacco companies.

It was an astonishing attack on freedom of speech, freedom of association and the very things that National stood for, individual freedom, choice and personal responsibility.

National made hay while the sun shone and the Electoral Finance Act became a catalyst for large protests that erupted around the country.

Bernard Darnton, David and I formed the Free Speech Coalition to oppose this law and raised money to put large billboards around that attacked those parties supporting the bill. It worked, and even spooked Peter Dunne from previously supporting the bill to opposing it at the final reading. David Farrar and I were having lunch in Auckland when we received an angry phone call from Rob Eaddy in Peter Dunne’s office abusing us for putting Dunne on one of our billboards. He was politely told to GFY.   a634bc2dd4ea7dcedc21 Read more »

Key doubling down on McCully Saudi sheep bet?

How desperate is John Key to secure a free trade agreement with Saudi Arabia?

Pretty desperate I’d say, given the news that Key is suggesting we double down on Murray McCully’s Saudi sheep bet.

More taxpayer money could be spent on a controversial demonstration farm in Saudi Arabia but nothing is planned at present, Prime Minister John Key says.

Over $11 million on the private farm deal, partly to resolve a dispute and clear the way for a regional free trade deal.

The latest controversy surrounding the deal came after revelations that lambs born to ewes that were air-freighted from New Zealand to Hmood Al Khalaf’s farm suffered an extremely high death-rate.

After Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said a sand storm could be to blame for the deaths, it was confirmed that heavy rain and illnesses were the cause. Read more »

However John Key thinks that National benefits from the Conservatives collapse

We know Richard Harman thinks that NZ First benefits from the collapse of the Conservative party.

I also know that Winston Peters is personally furious with Colin Craig for his shameless stealing of policy at the last election.

However John Key thinks that National benefits from the collapse.

The strife enveloping the Conservative Party could benefit National, Prime Minister John Key says.

Board members who are opposing the return of founder Colin Craig as leader have said they believe the party can rebound under a new leader.

There have been discussions about potential new leaders since before Christmas, board member John Stringer says, and there are interested candidates.

Mr Craig has signalled he will fight for the leadership, and this morning Mr Key said it was not clear how strongly the party would emerge from its current difficulties.

The Conservatives achieved 3.97 per cent of the vote in last year’s election – more than 95,000 votes, but short of the 5 per cent needed to enter Parliament.

“You just dont know how all this stuff is going to play out. He has been the big funder of the party. We are two and a bit years from the election. It’s a long way to go,” Mr Key Mr Key told the Paul Henry show.

“Those Conservative voters…if they [the party] were not so strong a voice – they have well come back to us.”

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Hooton continues his Saudi sheep crusade

Matthew Hooton continues his Saudi sheep crusade in the NBR:

To protect his own reputation, the prime minister needs someone somewhere to be sacked for the Saudi farm fiasco.

More than two weeks ago, forced to defend Murray McCully’s unsubstantiated and self-evidently absurd suggestion that the government was at risk of being sued for $30 million by Hmood Al-Khalaf, John Key decided to turn the tables on Labour leader Andrew Little.

The cocky prime minister told Parliament that Mr Little was being “set up” by Phil Goff and Annette King. According to Mr Key, the breakdown in good relations with Saudi Arabia was not the fault of his own staff and former agriculture minister David Carter but, as Mr McCully had earlier claimed, it was the previous Labour government that had “poisoned” relations in 2007. The prime minister hinted that secret cabinet papers would prove it.

This was always preposterous given negotiations on a free-trade agreement with Saudi Arabia began that very year and were successfully completed in 2009.

Mr Key’s ministers then spent more than two weeks trying to block the release of the very cabinet papers the prime minister said would prove him right. Frustrated, Labour’s former attorney-general David Parker issued them himself, albeit with redactions ordered by Mr Key’s cabinet office.

The papers reveal – how does one put this gently enough to keep NBR’s lawyers and the Speaker’s Office happy? – an insurmountable epistemological problem in reconciling what the prime minister told Parliament with the known facts.

Even now, Mr Key continues to argue the redacted bits would prove him right. But, alas, the prime minister told NewstalkZB’s Barry Soper: “The redactions are made by the officials and I can’t override them.”

Read more »

David Cohen on Metro’s most influential list

David Cohen at NBR takes apart Metro’s pathetic attempt at defining the most influential Aucklanders list.

Do media consumers need another extended best-of list?

No, we most certainly do not. You get to the end of these damn things feeling none the wiser about anything in particular, realising as you do that that’s 30 or so minutes of your life that you’ll never get back.

But hey, they’re harmless fun, as much so for the readers as compilers of exercises such as this month’s cover story in Metro of the “most influential” Aucklanders.

Talk about quick and easy. An editor and his senior writers sit around in an office. Presently they are joined by some senior contributors. The secretary serves coffee. Together they trawl their files and memories. Soon enough, hey presto, a new ranking is born.

Does any of this actually matter? Well, yes and no.

Reputations are important. People constantly make judgments on the basis of available information – some of it accurate, some not – and what they decide has consequences.

Yet measuring influence is a messy affair.

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Steve and John. Hair straightener and Hair puller

sdfsfdfAt times you have to wonder about our media.  The Herald published the following, but then pulled it.  It must even have been able to trip the Herald editor’s sense of minimum quality.  Take a bow John Weekes for writing this sterling piece.

Frizz-afflicted women can expect free hair straighteners at plenty of gyms and bars even though bureaucrats were chided for providing the device at a ministry head office.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) was derided for spending $400 on a hair straightener during a building refit, following news it splashed out on a $140,000 screen and an expensive fridge, sun deck and stone sign.

Human Resources Institute chief executive Chris Till said bosses could probably come up with multiple justifications for installing hair straighteners. But he said a counter-argument, mostly about inappropriate spending “of someone’s dollars”, could also be valid.

Justifications for installing the devices could include “employee well-being” and helping staff prepare for work social functions, Mr Till said.

“Imagine a member of staff who has biked to work, got wet hair and needs to shower and then make themselves presentable and also feel good, all day, about their personal appearance and brand,” he said.

“That is the zone where you might seek to justify this ‘enablement’.”

Mr Till said the issue the MBIE hair straightener raised reminded him of some British “blue-chip financial institutions” which used to supply shoe-shine services, visiting hairdressers and sandwich vendors, and complimentary concierges and dry cleaners or even tailors.

Gyms including Les Mills in central Auckland and Exodus in Wellington offered clients free use of straighteners. In wet and windy Wellington, Dockside Restaurant also offered the service to customers. Read more »

Auckland Council v Kaukapakapa

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A reader writes

Kaukapakapa has been pushing Auckland Council & Transit hard for roads to be sealed & repaired to no avail.

This is the actually State Highway 16 but within the main township of Kaukapakapa.

Locals are enjoying a laugh at two Auckland Council employees stuck firmly in a large deep pot-hole.

Perhaps Winston could stand for Helensville next and sort it?

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