Maurice Williamson

A lesson on monotonic functions for the Labour party

Maurice Williamson gives Labour a free lesson in monotonic functions:

That matches the chart I have been publishing for about two weeks.   Read more »

Is this a precursor to the Mayoral battle next year?

Both Phil Goff and Maurice Williamson have had a crack at Simon Bridges in the Transport Select Committee in what could be the precursor to next year’s mayoral battle.

And from the headlines you’d have to say Williamson won…because he is the headlines and Goff is a few lines further down the articles.

Transport Minster Simon Bridges has faced a grilling over Auckland’s transport woes – and has been forced to defend the Government’s performance on a major project to one of the Government’s own MPs.

During Parliament’s Transport Select Committee meeting, Pakuranga MP Maurice Williamson heavily criticised Government handling of the Auckland Manukau Transport Initiative (Ameti), after Auckland Transport announced it was axing a major part of the project without NZTA’s knowledge.

“Earlier this year, a body called Auckland Transport… made an announcement, a public announcement, which was like a nuclear explosion in my electorate in the east,” Williamson said.

“That a massive project called Ameti, which had a massive thing called the Reeves Rd flyover, was now being canned and the voters in my electorate went up like a Roman candle.”

In February, Auckland Transport announced it would defer the $170 million flyover to next decade, to fund other public transport improvements.

The flyover was to reduce traffic on Pakuranga Rd by about 40 per cent during peak travel hours.

Williamson said that since then, he and other MPs had held meetings with Auckland Transport chair Lester Levy, in which they were told they were not initially briefed on the announcement because Levy “couldn’t brief every man and his dog on decisions they were taking”.

“What I also found was this dysfunctional dislocation between Auckland Transport and NZTA, and given (NZTA Chief Executive Geoff Dangerfield) is on the board of Auckland Transport, how the hell [is it that] one body didn’t know the other was making such an announcement where Ameti and the Reeves Rd Flyover were part of the National Party’s second priority for the last election…”

Read more »

Total and utter horseshit from ACT

So yesterday Audrey Young breathlessly reported something that actually wasn’t true and set off a media frenzy that was sparked by an outright lie in the ACT email newsletter.

Former Act leader Don Brash made an approach to Act president John Thompson recently to ask whether National’s Pakuranga MP Maurice Williamson could join the party, Act leader David Seymour has revealed.

Mr Seymour said the board had unanimously rejected any such notion.

Mr Seymour also said he believed the approach by Dr Brash would have been authorized by Mr Williamson.

Mr Williamson was forced to resign as minister in May last year when Herald Investigations editor Jared Savage revealed Mr Williamson had contacted a high ranking police officer about domestic charges against a wealthy businessman with close ties to him.

Mr Seymour said taking someone into the party because they were having problems with their own party was the worst possible reason for getting a new MP.

Read more »

Stoush on inside Nat caucus

Richard Harman at Politik reports of a stoush going on inside the National caucus.

I had heard details of this, but not at the level Harman has. He’s been around a long time and his network of contacts is impressive. If he says there is a stoush on, then there is.

A political row within the National Party could ignite this week if a Select Committee does not make major modifications to a one of the Government’s most complex pieces of legislation which will impact every business, workplace and farm and even sports events  in the country.

The Health and Safety in Employment Reform Bill is proposing a substantial overhaul of the way businesses, workplaces and farms manage health and safety issues.

It is expected to be reported back from the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee on Thursday.

The Bill has the potential to anger  National’s small business and farming heartland and already its worrying some MPs.

There are reports that one  backbencher, Maurice Williamson, has already signalled his opposition to the Bill at a National Caucus meeting.

One source even suggested he could cross the floor and vote against the Bill if it was not changed.

However though one senior Minister discounted that claim he told “POLITIK” that “a number of us” agree with him on his concerns about what is in the Bill.

Read more »

Looks like the Irish have welcomed marriage equality with open arms

Final results are not expected until later in the day in a vote that would make Ireland the first country to adopt same-sex marriage via a popular vote, just two decades after the country decriminalised homosexuality.

State broadcaster RTE said the victory appeared to be overwhelming and government minister Kevin Humphreys predicted the margin would be two-to-one.

“I think it’s won,” Equality Minister Aodhan O’Riordain told Reuters at the main count centre in Dublin. “The numbers of people who turned out to vote is unprecedented. This has really touched a nerve in Ireland today.”

Gay marriage is backed by all political parties, championed by big employers and endorsed by celebrities, all hoping it will mark a transformation in a country that was long regarded as one of the most socially conservative in Western Europe. Read more »

Which MP will be the next to shake down John Key?

The Northland by-election has caused something of a permanent problem for John Key, not just a short-term headache.

If Winston doesn’t win there is nothing to stop him having a go in another by-election, and he has shown that just about any seat, no matter how big a national majority, is in play.

This means Key is in a very difficult position.

He cannot high handedly give Cabinet ministers the arse like he did to Kate Wilkinson or Phil Heatley, or sack them like he did with Maurice Williamson and Judith Collins, or demote them like he did with Chester Borrows and Craig Foss.   Read more »

Lenny No Mates

Len Brown has no mates, despite his protestations.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has lost the backing of key members of his campaign team, who are turning their attention to other left-leaning candidates at next year’s local body elections.

The Herald has learned of a meeting last month where key campaign and mayoral advisers delivered the “blunt message” to Mr Brown that he has no chance of winning and should step down.

Mr Brown was told he would receive no financial backing, political support or volunteers to erect billboards and deliver pamphlets for a campaign where his sex life would be centre stage.    Read more »

Another Herald journo judged by his peers to have lied

On November 7 last year David Fisher ran a shabby hit piece against Customs and also Maurice Williamson about OIA processes inside the department.

Despite complaints to the NZ Herald they refused to withdraw the article even though factual errors had been pointed out to them. Shayne Currie the editor fought the complaints vociferously.

Customs persisted and complained to the Press Council.

The Press Council has found that David Fisher essentially made stuff up, in effect he lied in his article.

Wide concerns among the media and the public have led the Ombudsman to launch an investigation into Official Information Act practices in the public sector.
The Herald may have been entitled to form the view that departmental rules and guidelines, including requirements for consultation, do open the way to political influence and interference in information releases.
But the documents provided to the Herald, and referred to in the article, do not grant the minister the freedom to change whatever is released.
Therefore the part-sentence included in the article is factually incorrect and the Council upholds the complaint on that basis.

Press Council members considering the complaint were Sir John Hansen, Chris Darlow, Tim Beaglehole, Liz Brown, Jenny Farrell, Sandy Gill, Marie Shroff, Vernon Small, Mark Stevens and Stephen Stewart.
John Roughan took no part in the consideration of this complaint.

Read more »

Oh bugger… so many lies

At the weekend it was revealed Mr Key and Botany MP Jami-Lee Ross had dined at the home of controversial Chinese businessman Donghua Liu in August 2013, which led to a $25,000 donation to Mr Ross’ election campaign.

1

Mr Key’s office last year said there was “no record” of who attended fundraising dinners with the Prime Minister, and that he “recalls seeing Mr Liu at various functions, including a dinner as part of a National Party fundraiser” – but the fact it was at Liu’s home wasn’t disclosed.

2

Liu later became an embarrassment for the Government, the property developer’s dealings with minister Maurice Williamson leading to his resignation, and has since been in court facing domestic violence charges.

The dinner was one of the National Party’s controversial ‘Cabinet Club’ fundraising events, in which donors get access to high-ranking MPs and ministers. Mr Key says the party is “under no obligation” to make the details of those meetings public.

“We’re not going to get into a situation where we say where we went to dinner, and whether I had the chicken or the fish. We’re just not going to be doing that – no other political party does, no one’s required to do that,” he says. Read more »

National reprises Father Ted: “It was just resting in the account”

National and in particular Jami-Lee Ross and John Key have been busted in a donation saga.

And the best they can come up with is a version of the Father Ted defence…”the money was just resting in my account”.

As Father Dougal MacQuire says…”a good long rest”.

Electoral returns out next week will confirm that a National Party MP received $25,000 from a controversial businessman after Prime Minister John Key had a private dinner with him – at the man’s home.

The PM has always maintained that he met Donghua Liu at a National Party fundraiser but would never say where. Today, the Weekend Herald can reveal that the fundraiser was actually a private dinner at Mr Liu’s $4.75 million home in Remuera, where a smiling Mr Key and Jami-Lee Ross, the MP for Botany, were photographed alongside Mr Liu and his young family.

Afterwards, Mr Liu donated $25,000 that same month to Mr Ross’ election campaign. But the following year, Mr Liu became a political embarrassment for the Government after a Herald investigation revealed the impact of the property developer’s links to the National Party.

Maurice Williamson was forced to resign as a minister when the Herald revealed he had called police after Mr Liu was arrested on domestic violence charges and told them Mr Liu was a big investor in New Zealand.

Mr Key said then that Mr Williamson had “crossed the line”.

Shortly after the election, Mr Ross refunded the large donation from Mr Liu’s company – 15 months after it was given. Mr Ross has since disclosed the donation in candidate returns for the 2014 election due to be released by the Electoral Commission next week.

Mr Liu is upset that Mr Ross refunded the $25,000 cheque, which he regarded as a “slap in the face”.

The 53-year-old pleaded guilty to the domestic violence charges in April last year, but was in the Auckland District Court this week seeking to withdraw those admissions. He was successful and the case is likely to now head to trial.

Outside court, he told the Herald he gave $25,000 to Mr Ross through the “Botany Cabinet Club” and “subsequently this amount was refunded”.

“It was very strange. The refund was sent to my lawyer, I wasn’t told about it in person.”

Read more »