Jonathan Coleman

Jonathan Coleman happy with our Ebola preparedness as the world counts its 10,000th patient

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says a meeting of 20 government agencies to discuss New Zealand’s response to the threat of Ebola, reflected a “high level of preparedness” within the Government.

The Inter-Agency Pandemic Group includes police and the ministries of Defence, Civil Defence Emergency Management, Foreign Affairs and Trade and Primary Industries.

The group met in Wellington today – a yearly meeting, but with attention squarely focused on Ebola, Coleman said.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has already killed over 4500 people, mostly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, since it emerged 10 months ago. Experts have said the world could face 10,000 new cases a week in two months if authorities don’t take stronger steps to fight the deadly virus.

Cases have since been confirmed in the United States and parts of Europe.

Coleman said the risk of the infectious disease reaching New Zealand was remote, but New Zealand had to be prepared for the worst.

Actually, at this stage  I think the risk of Ebola reaching New Zealand is a certainty,  The disease is still spreading in an expansionary fashion.   Read more »

List MP Kevin Hague plays #dirtypolitics

You’ll know I’m no fan of List MPs, and while all of the Green Taliban fall into that camp, there’s a few that stand out as particularly sanctimonious scumbags.

Take yesterday’s Question #10 by Kevin Hague asking about conflicts of interest and whether the Food and Grocery Council’s CEO Katherine Rich should be a member of the Health Promotion Agency.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman batted him away saying ‘Katherine Rich is a person of the very highest integrity and that her conduct as a member of the HPA has been excellent’.

Looks like the Green Taliban are going to try and run attacks against the Nats using stolen emails and play more #dirtypolitcs. Good.

Next time Kevin Hague wants to have a crack and call for investigation, maybe the Government should ask what conflicts Kevin Hague has.

You see Kevin Hague has been a frequent target for health lobbyists, particularly those Fizz2030 activists troughers from Otago University. They even went as far as bestowing on him the title ’Hon’.

Maybe Government MPs could ask Hague about who is advising the Greens on their ‘obesity reduction’ policy. The one where he wants controls on price, availability and marketing on the likes of fizzy drinks, chocolate and even breakfast cereals.   Read more »

Public Health Activists Playing #Dirtypolitics [UPDATED]

Well, well, well, looks like all the crying from academic activists in the field of public health is just a big fat smokescreen.

They just don’t like anyone taking a look at what they’re really up to.

WOBH has highlighted over the years various troughers gouging the public just so they can travel the world to fancy conferences. It started with tobacco troughers, but has quickly spread to troughers looking at alcohol restrictions and obesity/fat taxes.

Now we see the real agenda of the public health activists. Global taxes on products they don’t like.

The Taxpayers Protection Alliance has an alarming blog UN Health Conference Bans Media Day After Kicking out Public and Then Passes Massive Global Tobacco Tax in Secret.

After booting the public from its meetings on Monday, the World Health Organization’s tobacco control convention ramped up its assault on transparency on Tuesday when the press was also banned from the Moscow conference.

Shortly after the media was removed from the convention, the United Nations’ health agency secretly passed the world’s first ever global tax – an outrageous scheme requiring nearly 180 countries to apply a minimum tax on tobacco products.

All indications were that the global tobacco tax would not pass until Thursday or Friday, if at all. Without the public and the media there to watch, delegates ratified the tax almost immediately.

When I, and a handful of other accredited journalists, showed up for a Tuesday morning press briefing, we were told that the briefing was cancelled and the press was no longer allowed to attend any convention events at all.

The rest of the convention, which cost world taxpayers nearly $20 million, will now take place in secret, behind closed doors. It’s a chilling and disturbing attack on the freedom of the press – especially given the impact decisions made at the convention will have on people throughout the world.

Read more »

Media just making stuff up about SAS

Yesterday the Herald ran an article suggesting that NZSAS troops could be deployed to Iraq to battle ISIS.

The problem with that article was that John Key actually said it was his least preferred option for dealing with ISIS.

Today they follow it up with an outright denial, not once but twice from Jonathan Coleman, but not content with that they run off to a journalist and an academic for them to suggest, that just maybe, possibly, the NZSAS might already be overseas or getting ready to deploy overseas.

You can’t make this up…the Minister says no and they think maybe it might be something else.

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman has dismissed suggestions the elite SAS force is ready and waiting for the green light to go into combat against Isis (Islamic State) militants in Iraq.   Read more »

Herald and tainted Journo continue to run lines for Kim Dotcom

The Herald and David “tainted” Fisher continue to shill lines on behalf of Kim Dotcom.

They have run a story today about some supposed new “evidence”.

Government minister Jonathan Coleman knew the FBI was interested in Kim Dotcom before his officials granted the tycoon residency – a revelation which has led to accusations he misled the public.

The accusation comes after Immigration NZ released a statement making it clear they told Dr Coleman about the FBI the day before the criticial residency decision was made.

Dr Coleman – now Defence Minister – is now facing calls to come clean on exactly what he was told the day before Dotcom was granted residency by Immigration NZ officials.

It emerged last week Dotcom was given residency in 2010 despite the SIS urging Immigration NZ to tell their minister the FBI was carrying out a criminal investigation into him and wanted the help of NZ Police.

Dr Coleman was briefed by Immigration NZ chief executive Nigel Bickle on October 28, the day before Dotcom was granted residency.

Dr Coleman distanced himself from the decision, saying it was made by officials. He said: “Ministers had absolutely no knowledge of any pending FBI-NZ Police investigation.”   Read more »

Roughan on Dotcom’s conspiracy theory

John Roughan damns David “tainted” Fisher with faint praise, this morning, for his big reveal that wasn’t.

Conspiracy theories may be mad but they are fun. When my colleague David Fisher unearthed documents this week showing how the Security Intelligence Service had cleared Kim Dotcom’s application for residency in New Zealand, only Dotcom could imagine that it did him much good.

The SIS had described him as a “bad but wealthy man” who was under investigation by the FBI, but let the application go through after a call from the head of Immigration New Zealand asking why they had it on hold. “Apparently there is some political pressure to process this case,” one SIS officer told another.

The director of the SIS was briefed at that point and it was decided Dotcom could not be blocked on security grounds. But they advised Immigration to talk to the police about the FBI investigation. The agency repeated that advice a few days later and went so far as to have one of its staff brief Immigration’s intelligence man before a meeting with his minister at the time, Jonathan Coleman. After that meeting, the immigration official could only remind his SIS contact that the residence category for “high rollers” was a Government priority.

So it would seem fairly clear how Dotcom got in. Immigration admits it did not talk to the police. Coleman is a nice man, a doctor, who would give anyone the benefit of a doubt. Dotcom’s wealth explains the “political pressure”.

If this week’s disclosure reflected badly on Dotcom, his own take on the events was even worse. His theory is that the SIS dropped its opposition to his entry at the request of the FBI who believed that once he was in New Zealand he would be within their clutches.   Read more »

Oh look, there was no “political pressure” now, Herald over eggs story

It looks like the NZ Herald and David Fisher have over egged their story about Kim Dotcom, with immigration officials denying any political involvement.

That isn’t stopping Grant Robertson making hay while his leader is hiding from press in Queenstown.

NewstalkZB reports:

The government’s denying it put “political pressure” on Immigration officials to grant Kim Dotcom’s residency.

It follows the release of SIS emails, showing agents wanted to hold off on the residency application because Dotcom faced investigation by the FBI.

But they quickly gave it the green light, after being told Immigration New Zealand faced “political pressure” to get it approved.

A senior Immigration official said the then-minister, Jonathan Coleman, was an “interested party” in the application, because the government wanted more “high rollers”, like the internet mogul, gaining residency

Dr Coleman’s not commenting on the revelations, except to say the decision to grant residency was made by the department, and not by him.

Immigration New Zealand now says there was “unequivocally” no political pressure on the case.

John Key’s repeatedly denied knowing anything about Dotcom until just before his arrest in 2012.

Read more »

Dodgy Indian businessman uses Bollywood star to rip off countrymen and Fairfax blames John Key & Judith Collins

Michael Field has an appalling hit job published by Fairfax.

I’m surprised the editors let it through.

Bollywood legend Shahrukh Khan had Prime Minister John Key to dinner and a clutch of National Party MPs got free tickets to his Auckland show last year, but now some of the city’s Indian businesses are demanding to know where the money has gone.

Khan, who is personally worth US$600 million ($705 million) and co-owns the Kolkata Knight Riders IPL cricket team, gave a lavish show at Auckland’s Vector on October 4, called Temptation Reloaded, with ticket prices ranging from $199 to $650.

Around 7500 people attended.

He was paid before he performed, but New Zealand Indians who put up money have been left out of pocket and gone to the High Court to wind up the company behind it all, Areddy Private Ltd.

So why is it relevant that John Key attended a dinner and some MPs got free tickets? Are they promoting the show? Are they responsible? Not at all, and yet they are all in the article…and there is more. Read more »

Here’s a contest David Cunliffe can enter…

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman has launched ‘What did you do in the war, Grandy?’ a competition for New Zealand school students sponsored by the New Zealand Society of Genealogists.

“This competition represents a great opportunity for families to continue the momentum generated by Anzac Day,” says Dr Coleman.

“With so many younger people taking part in Anzac Day services and learning about those who served their country, parents and grandparents can help teach their children about their own ancestors and encourage them to submit their stories.”

Students can submit either a poster or a written piece outlining their ancestor’s contribution at home or overseas, in any branch of the forces, in any country.

I helped David get started with some of his family’s proud war history, so he should now have a good foundation to continue from.

 

Government boost Defence budget

The government has boosted the defence budget, not enough in my opinion but a boost nonetheless.

The NZ Herald reports:

The government plans to invest more than $500 million in the Defence Force over the next four years, Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman says.

The investment followed several years of budget cuts which were outlined in a Defence white paper in 2010.

In the Budget next month, government would commit to $100.9m in operation funding for 2014/15 and a total of $535.5m over the next four years.

Dr Coleman said: “It is vital that the NZDF can continue to meet the Government’s requirements, whether it is carrying out humanitarian assistance and disaster relief work at home or in the Pacific, or contributing to wider global security efforts.”

He said the National-led Government had inherited a long-term funding gap from the previous government.

Asked whether government was now re-investing money to cover large Defence Force cuts since 2010, Dr Coleman said: “No, absolutely not.

“There’s been a savings programme as well that’s saved $204 million. Over time it will save up to $350 million.

Read more »